The (Arizona) Senate Appropriations Committee, during a hearing that went long past midnight, passed a bill that would require hospitals to check the legal status of patients. It also passed a bill that would require schools to collect data on students who are in the country illegally as well as those who are legally present but not citizens.

The committee’s Democrats, as well as Sen. Rich Crandall, R-Mesa, were the five votes against the bills. The other Republicans on the committee were the eight votes in support of the bills.

Several people spoke against the hospital bill. No one spoke in favor of it. Individuals who had signed up to speak against the school bill had gone home by the time it was their turn to speak

Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, sponsored both bills. He said the goal of both is to save taxpayer money.

“I keep hearing about what a reporting burden this will be, what an unfunded mandate,” Smith said. “But why is nobody talking about the unfunded mandate to the citizens of this state? Why does nobody care that we are paying for these people? The cost is too high.”

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, called the school bill “inappropriate.”

“These children have a right to public education in Arizona,” Sinema said.

She said the hospital bill is likely unconstitutional.

“It is requiring hospitals to become immigration agents,” Sinema said. “We are asking them to take on a duty that belongs rightfully with law enforcement and federal immigration officers.”


Another timely submission by MarieG.


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