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Church State Issues

Bill on Colorado City police dies in House

Apr 26, 2012

Arizona Republic

This sounds like a special law designed to attack members of the FLDS faith.

It is wrong for the government to pass laws that single out people that have certain religious beliefs!!!

Bill on Colorado City police dies in House

by Mary Jo Pitzl - Apr. 25, 2012 08:36 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

The House of Representatives on Wednesday killed a bill that would have replaced Colorado City's local police force with Mohave County sheriff's deputies.

The prolonged debate cut across partisan, ideological and religious divides and resulted in a 25-28 defeat for Senate Bill 1433.

Attorney General Tom Horne lobbied for the bill, which he said was necessary to ensure local police follow the law and not the dictates of Warren Jeffs, former president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Jeffs is now in a Texas prison, serving a life sentence for sexual assault on underage girls.

But the two lawmakers who represent the area, representatives Doris Goodale, R-Kingman, and Nancy McLain, R-Bullhead City, successfully led opposition to the bill, which was sponsored by their Senate seatmate, Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City.

McLain said the bill seeks to punish current law-enforcement officers for offenses committed by previous officers.

The bill says if a town has had at least half of its police officers' certifications revoked by the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board in the past eight years, the town no longer can authorize its police force. That's been the case for Colorado City.

But McLain argued that the town has a new set of officers, who are called marshals in the isolated community along the Arizona-Utah border.

Four of the community's six marshals have been certified by the training board, she said, and the other two are new hires.

"Things have been changing in Colorado City," McLain said.

Horne made a last-minute attempt to salvage the bill, sending lawmakers a letter from the court-appointed receiver who controls most of Colorado City's assets.

In that letter, receiver Bruce Wisan said without the change in police authority, "the FLDS Church will continue to control and direct the officers of the Colorado City Marshal's Office."

Wisan needs law-enforcement cooperation to carry out his duties, which have included dissolving some of the assets held by the United Effort Plan Trust. The trust holds most of the town's property and other assets.