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Phoenix-Area Legislator Proposes State Law To Expel County Officials

An Arizona lawmaker says he'll introduce legislation that would allow some elected county officials to be permanently removed from office.

State law allows only a temporary suspension for neglect of duty by a county assessor or treasurer.

The obscure law has come under scrutiny as Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen faces charges related to his adoption business that authorities allege was a human smuggling scheme involving pregnant women from the Marshall Islands.

Republican Rep. Anthony Kern says taxpayers deserve to be represented by officials who can perform their duties. His bill would allow a treasurer or assessor to be removed with a two-thirds vote of the county board of supervisors.

Petersen's lawyer has said removing an elected official from office before a conviction may be unconstitutional.

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