Border warning bill dead---killed by request of border leaders
Reporter: Craig Smith
PHOENIX (KGUN9-TV) - A proposed law to set up formal state warning of border dangers had border towns declaring the real danger was how it would scare off more business. Now they don't have to worry about that bill anymore. The bill's own sponsor has agreed to kill it.
Willcox State Representative Peggy Judd says the first time she saw a newspaper story about her bill she didn't even recognize the law she proposed.
"I saw the headline and I was like, I didn't even read it. I was like I am so gonna find out who wrote that bill and I'm gonna fix it monday morning. Or I'm gonna kill it Monday morning."
She says the bill was never meant to set up a border red zone. She says the legislature's lawyers added the boundaries. And it was never supposed to declare the area dangerous and issue general warnings, just set up e-mail warnings you'd have to subscribe to.
But border town mayors and business representatives said the system would scare away business and tourists when crime stats show border towns are actually quite safe.
Representative Judd promised to kill the bill if a majority in the meeting asked. The show of hands was not even close.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Mogales Mayor Arturo Garino: " Your goal was to kill the bill and she was already leaning that may it seems." Garino said, "It looks like that was the case. But one of the things was there was no way that any amendment on the bill would have changed it because the intent is there. The message is there.
Smith asked Douglas Mayor Dr. Michael Gomez: "It looks like the bill itself was not this broad general warning, that it was a little more finely crafted for people who wanted to sign on. Would that have been less damaging?" Mayor Gomez says:" You know I don't know it would have been less damaging. The fact it came out and made so much public news is damaging already."
Representative Judd now concedes a border warning bill is inappropriate for well policed border towns. But she still thinks it might be a good idea for outlying areas. Even so she says there is no chance she's going to pass a law like that anytime soon because she is not standing for reelection. But members of that delegation that came to the State Capitol from Southern Arizona say they still have to be on the watch for other lawmakers passing laws that hurt the interests of border towns.