By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily StarArizona Republicans are continuing to advance a measure related to the controversial issue of sanctuary cities despite the decision by the governor last week to give up amending the state constitution.
Scrapping the proposed constitutional amendment does not cover HB 2598, House GOP spokesman Andrew Wilder said late Thursday in an announcement. That measure seeks to impose new financial liability on any community whose policies keep law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials.
HB 2598 was approved Thursday by the House Government Committee, paving the way for what could be a high-profile and divisive fight on the House floor.
Rep. Bret Roberts, R-Maricopa, the sponsor of the legislation, said the issues are the same as the ones behind the now-scrapped constitutional ban on sanctuary cities: the fear that some communities might decide to adopt sanctuary policies. He said HB 2598 would provide a financial disincentive.
In essence, the bill says victims can sue cities and counties if the person who committed the crime had been released from custody without local officials contacting federal agencies to inquire whether the person was here legally. Lawsuits also would be allowed if local jurisdictions ignored a request by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be notified about someone’s pending release.