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Lawmakers to Use Tax Dollars to Fight SB 1070 E-mail Subpoenas

Capitol Media Services file photo by Howard Fischer

Republican legislative leaders are moving to use tax dollars to fight subpoenas of e-mails of current and former lawmakers. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

The fight involves SB 1070, the 2010 law designed to give police more power to detain and question those they suspect are not in the country legally. While some provisions have been declared unconstitutional by federal courts, one key element survives. It requires police to question the immigration status of those they have stopped if there is reason to believe they’re undocumented. Several groups have mounted a new effort to have it voided on the grounds it was racially motivated. And, Victor Viramontes of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said the personal e-mails of those involved, like now-former state Sen. Russell Pearce, will help prove their case.

“What we saw with legislator Pearce, for example, is that he was using his personal e-mails to make comments about Latinos in reference to SB 1070, and in reference to Latinos generally,” Viramontes said.

But, Senate Majority Whip Adam Driggs said lawmakers should not simply surrender the e-mails.

“They’re not basing their request on any knowledge that this person has anything,” Driggs said. “They’re just out there on a fishing expedition, trying to create something, trying to discover something.”

The plan is to set aside $100,000 to fight the subpoenas.

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