Gov. Doug Ducey and GOP leadership in the House and Senate have killed a controversial ballot referral that would have asked voters to amend the state Constitution to ban sanctuary jurisdictions after the legislation sparked sharp criticism and mounting protest.
House GOP Spokesman Andrew Wilder confirmed Thursday evening that Republican leadership in both legislative chambers and the office of Gov. Doug Ducey jointly decided to pull the referral from tomorrow’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, and pledged not to consider the twin bills sponsored by Rep. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, and Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake.
“We can confirm that legislation related to a constitutional ban on sanctuary cities will not receive additional consideration this session — a decision made jointly by legislative leadership and the Governor,” Wilder said over text. “Sanctuary cities are illegal in Arizona. It will remain that way, and our members will remain vigilant to keep these bad policies out of Arizona.”
The proposal was one of many of Ducey’s legislative priorities.
“The Governor stands firmly with the people of Arizona in opposition to sanctuary cities — a California-style policy rejected overwhelmingly by voters in Tucson last fall,” Ptak said. “The Governor is appreciative of Representative Shope’s leadership on this issue, and while these proposals will not be moving forward, the state of Arizona will continue to oppose any effort to create sanctuary cities.”
The referral would ask voters to determine whether the Arizona Constitution should prevent local jurisdictions from limiting their collaboration with federal immigration officials — effectively elevating a portion of the state’s 2010 immigration bill, SB1070, to the Constitution.
Allen said she was not informed that her bill would be killed this session and said she would place a call with the governor’s office. Shope did not immediately return request for comment.
It’s unclear what resulted in the bills dying, though one Republican, Rep. Tony Rivero of Peoria, told the Legislative Report Thursday he would likely not vote for the referral, putting it on life support. With the House’s split of 31 Republicans and 29 Democrats, any single Republican can effectively stop the majority from moving its priorities forward.
Rep. John Allen, R-Scottsdale, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, could not be reached for comment.
“This is great news,” said Rep. Diego Rodriguez, D-Phoenix, a key Democrat on the committee.