AZ Republicans want to bring back racial profiling

From Senator Priya Sundareshan

It has been a busy May. No sooner than we repealed the 1864 AZ abortion ban (which is currently stayed, and hopefully the stay extends until the repeal goes into effect 90 days after this legislative session ends) than the Republicans decided they needed revenge. 

Racial Profiling
They are now pushing through a ballot measure, HCR2060, that we view as a license for state law enforcement to racially profile people of color to enforce what would be a new state crime of crossing into the U.S. illegally. 

This week the AZ Senate voted HCR2060 through on a party-line vote. Previously, Sen. Ken Bennett (R) had stated hesitancy over this bill unless Dreamers (DACA recipients) were protected and that businesses faced fewer impacts. Republicans made enough changes to satisfy him and get his vote, but in our view this is still a bad proposal akin to SB1070 which brought AZ considerable notoriety and business losses

I’m proud that it was my questioning earlier this month that highlighted for everyone that DACA recipients were at risk with the language Republicans had added in. I pointed out that there is broad bipartisan consensus to protect Dreamers from being deported from the only country they’ve ever known. See the video in the tweet below. 

Today AZ Senate Republicans amended #HCR2060 and made it even more cruel. They added language saying that DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers, can’t rely on that as an affirmative defense to the new crime they’re proposing, if the DACA program ever goes away.— AZ Sen. Priya Sundareshan (@priya4az) May 10, 2024

HCR2060 will now be considered by the AZ House on June 4, and we understand there will be no other changes made to address our concerns about the racial profiling this will unleash. 

At the same time, AZ Senate Republicans have also forced forward a package of changes to water law that has moved very rapidly, with closed door negotiations that did not involve public input or the input of crucial partners like tribes. Currently, although there is promise to achieve groundwater savings from converting irrigated lands within Active Management Areas to development, the details matter – and I am not yet confident that this bill as drafted will lead to savings or, instead, lock in more groundwater pumping. See the tweet below for my vote explanation. 

“We need to have the proper analysis and the proper data so that we are confident that we are not making a mistake that cannot be undone in future sessions.”

ICYMI: Senator @priya4az underscores why it is so critical that HB2201 and all water policy have proper stakeholder…— Arizona Senate Democrats (@AZSenateDems) May 26, 2024

The Arizona Daily Star’s water reporter Tony Davis also covered this in depth in the Sunday paper, and I shared my perspective. This package will likely also come before the AZ House on June 4th. Will we have more analysis about its impacts by then? 

It’s also important to note that the Governor’s Water Policy Council made a number of recommendations last year on regulating rural groundwater and on how to strengthen the Assured Water Supply program in our urban areas. Notably, the majority of these ideas are not included in this package. Instead, this package helps developers keep building homes based on groundwater in the outskirts of our urban areas, but without the guarantee of conservation. 

AAPI Heritage Month:
May is also Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! I’ve been getting featured for my work representing the AAPI community: 

Sen. Mark Kelly recently joined us to support flipping the AZ Legislature!

We would not be advancing bills that racially profile or to undermine our groundwater protections if Democrats had the majority. We are only 1 seat down in both House and Senate!

I’m leading the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee to flip battleground districts – please help me in this effort so I can chair committees and lead the Senate in making progress for Arizona!  
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