State Representatives Hope To Collaborate With Governor Ducey On Border Wall

State Representatives Hope To Collaborate With Governor Ducey On Border Wall

By B. Hamilton |

On Friday, a group of Arizona legislators reached out to Governor Doug Ducey with an offer to work with him to address the “omnipresent border crisis.” In a letter to the governor, the legislators also inquire as to the level of funding provided to the Border Strike Force.

Led by Rep. Shawnna Bolick, the lawmakers advised the governor that they hope to work with him to “come up with a concrete plan to further allocate resources to complete portions of the Border wall and ensure Border Strike Force is fully funded.”

The lawmakers accuse the Biden Administration of not making “the public safety or health of Arizonans” a top priority, noting that it “took until today for Vice President Kamala Harris to see the invasion for herself in El Paso.”

“We applaud other governors answering your call for assistance to send some of their law enforcement as back up as the ongoing invasion continues along the southern Border,” write the lawmakers. “The problem is real. We wish you didn’t have to rely on other states to bail us out because the federal government has failed us, but illegal immigration affects every state.”

The lawmakers cite as a source of concern an incident that occurred earlier this year which was “highlighted in the local newspaper that the Department of Public Safety release two confessed human smuggler with just a traffic citation after stopping him along a valley freeway in April with a van full of illegal immigrants.”

“It was rather alarming to read that the illegal immigrants in the van were released into the Phoenix area even though it is a direct violation of state law to be in our state unlawfully. It is noted that the federal agents would not pick up this van full of illegal immigrants if they weren’t violent felons. If the Border Strike Force isn’t identifying traffickers along the southern Border and they are making their way into the Valley, is the Border Strike Force understaffed and underfunded?”

The lawmakers expressed a desire to “work together to further investigate why this human trafficker was let go.”

“We support trade relations with Mexico, but we do not want transnational crime rings bringing further ruin into our state. It is past time to plug the gaping holes on state land that buttress Mexico allowing traffickers to invade our state.”

The lawmakers argue that border security is a states’ rights issue.

Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that Texas would build its border wall. Abbotts aid that the state will be soliciting donations from across the country to help fund the wall.

“When I do make the announcement later on this week, I will also be providing a link that you can click on and go to for everybody in the United States — really everybody in the entire world — who wants to help Texas build the border wall, there will be a place on there where they can contribute,” Abbott said on a podcast show called “Ruthless.”

As AZ Free News reported earlier this month, Ducey and Abbott urgently requested all U.S. governors to send available law enforcement resources to their states along the U.S.-Mexico border as illegal border crossings, apprehensions, and unaccompanied migrant children in federal custody increase.

The Customs and Border Protection apprehension numbers for May showed more than 180,000 illegal aliens were apprehended crossing the border over the course of the month, a 674% increase from the 23,237 illegal aliens apprehended at the border in May 2020.

In a joint letter from Ducey and Abbott, fellow governors were told: “In response to the ongoing surge of illegal border crossings, with the accompanying threats to private property and to the safety of our citizens, Governor Abbott has declared a disaster and Governor Ducey has declared an emergency.”

Bolick was joined in the letter by Reps. Becky Nutt, Tim Dunn, Walt Blackman, Brenda Barton, John Kavanaugh, Mark Finchem, Joseph Chaplik, Beverly Pingerelli, Leo Biasiucci, Judy Burgess, Frank Carroll, Quang Nguyen, John Fillmore, Jacqueline Parker, and Steve Kaiser.

Arizona Democrats Vote Against Bill Allowing Community Service In Lieu of Traffic Fines For Low-Income Individuals

Arizona Democrats Vote Against Bill Allowing Community Service In Lieu of Traffic Fines For Low-Income Individuals

By Corinne Murdock |

Arizona Democrats opposed a bill allowing judges the option to order community service in lieu of court fines for low-income individuals. Their contention was that the legislation took money away from the Arizona Clean Elections Commission. The commission derives its money from speeding tickets.

Under the bill, the community service would be credited per hour at minimum wage rates to make up for the fine, and rounded up to the nearest dollar. This would extend to any monetary obligations sentenced by the court, including civil penalties, surcharges, or any assessments or fees. Time payment fees would be exempted from this bill.

On Thursday, the Arizona House passed the bill 32-27. Only one Democrat voted in favor of the bill: State Representative Alma Hernandez (D-Tucson). No Republicans voted against it. It took over 10 minutes to complete the vote, and no discussions took place.

Likewise, all Democrats except for one voted against the bill in the Senate. Assistant Minority Leader Lupe Contreras (D-Avondale) voted for the bill.

The bill was introduced by Majority Whip Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu City). He explained during the House Transportation Committee that the idea for the legislation was borne out of his difficulties with a traffic citation. He learned that individuals must fork over more to set up a payment plan in the first place.

That’s not to mention any other fees, like those required for an appeal.

Biasiucci said that people shouldn’t be punished for not being able to afford a ticket. He described it as a “win-win” for the community and for individuals facing the fines.

State Representative Richard Andrade (D-Glendale) asked why the bill didn’t include Prop 105 language to exempt the clean elections commission.

Biasiucci responded that there are just under twenty other government agencies that also derive their money from speeding tickets. He also reminded Andrade that those who would qualify to do community service rather than pay the fine under this bill would be low-income individuals – not all individuals.

“[T]his is going to be such a small window of people – I mean, you’re talking about people who can’t afford it. And the judge has to approve it,” said Biasiucci. “This is not something that’s just going to impact other areas so much, and I firmly believe you shouldn’t be picking an agency over trying to help the people who can’t afford this. That’s why I decided I’m not going to pick one to exempt.”

According to Biasiucci, the clean elections commission has around $30 million in their account. They only spent $4 million last year. He noted that the idea that this commission would be hurt by this, when they’re rolling over nearly $27 million every year, doesn’t make sense.

“Bottom line is: this is good for the people that are needing it the most,” said Biasiucci. “I don’t care what agency’s being impacted – I support the border protection, I support a lot of things speeding tickets go to. I don’t like the fact that you have organizations that are being funded solely from tickets – I mean, that to me is ridiculous that we’re banking on speeding tickets to fund these groups, whether it’s approved by the voters or not.”

Currently, the commission gets 10 percent of each ticket.

The bill is timely. The legislature recently passed a bill that will increase speeding ticket fines for certain infractions.

For failing to yield right-of-way to emergency vehicles or slow down before stationary vehicles, the current maximum fines sit at $250. The newly-proposed fines come at three levels: $275 for the first violation, $500 the second, and $1,000 for all subsequent violations.

The bill allowing community service in lieu of speeding tickets was transmitted to the governor on Thursday.

Corinne Murdock is a contributing reporter for AZ Free News. In her free time, she works on her books and podcasts. Follow her on Twitter, @CorinneMurdock or email tips to corinnejournalist@gmail.com.

Ducey Signs Bill Protecting State Gun Owners From Federal Legislation

Ducey Signs Bill Protecting State Gun Owners From Federal Legislation

This week, Governor Doug Ducey signed a gun rights law, sponsored by Rep. Leo Biasiucci, that designates Arizona as a 2nd Amendment sanctuary state. Biasiucci says he modeled the law on a California sanctuary state law crafted by Governor Jerry Brown’s administration in 2017.

Biasiucci’s bill, HB211, preemptively protects gun owners in the state from any federal gun control laws that are passed by the U.S. Congress.

HB2111

“The state of Arizona and its political subdivisions are prohibited from utilizing any financial resources or state personnel to administer, cooperate with or enforce any law, act, order, rule, treaty or regulation of the federal government that is inconsistent with any law of this state regarding the regulation of firearms.”

Biasiucci believes the bill will hold up in “any court challenge like Brown’s sanctuary city bill has.”

The 2nd Amendment Freedom Act was signed a mere 48 hours before President Biden announced several executive actions, including asking the Justice Department to propose a rule to stop “ghost guns,” which are “kits” people can buy legally, then assemble to create a functioning firearm without a serial number.

Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, and Wyoming have passed similar measures.

In a recent radio interview, Ducey said, “The law is to protect the 2nd amendment, it’s a an enumerated right in our United States Constitution and it’s one that re-enforces that second amendment and your right to carry a weapon.