Arizona House speaker blocks repeal of law that allows lawmakers to avoid arrests

By Dustin Gardiner | Arizona Republic

Arizona lawmakers who want to keep their get-out-of-jail-free cards might not have to worry after all.

House Speaker Rusty Bowers has blocked a measure that seeks to repeal a law, commonly known as legislative immunity, which prevents police from arresting lawmakers while the Legislature is in session.

Bowers, R-Mesa, said the protection was put in Arizona’s Constitution for a reason: It was intended to prevent lawmakers from being detained during votes.

“It is a separation of powers issue,” he told The Arizona Republic. “That’s what it is, on purpose.”

Speeding scandal caused outcry

Gov. Doug Ducey and some lawmakers have said the privilege should be repealed in the wake of a public outcry after former Rep. Paul Mosley’s speeding scandal last year.

Mosley, a Republican from Lake Havasu City, was pulled over in March for reportedly driving up to 97 mph in a 55 mph zone. During the traffic stop, Mosley bragged he was driving earlier at 120 mph and sometimes drives up to 140 mph, an interaction captured on police body-camera video.

He evoked the privilege to avoid a speeding ticket, but was charged with excessive speeding months later, after the video was publicly released.


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February 2019