Praising Arizona: State House Hails Anti-Immigration Law

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State lawmakers have ignored warnings that they could damage tourism in Tennessee and rammed through the House this evening a resolution commending Arizona for its new law against illegal immigration. The vote was 67-27. (See the roll call after the jump.)

House Democratic leader Gary Odom said Nashville tourism officials are worried that the resolution could curtail convention business in the city as we struggle to recover from the flood.

“This law is creating chaos” in Arizona, where millions of dollars worth of convention business has canceled, Odom said.

“It’s the wrong message to send to attract people to our state. We don’t need to put our great state in the middle of this controversy. We don’t need to lose one convention. We can’t afford to lose one convention because we send the wrong message out embracing such a controversial state law.”

“This is all about political posturing,” Rep. Ulysses Jones, D-Memphis, said.

Said Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis:

“I can’t believe in a time of budget crisis and a disaster of unheard-of proportions where we’ve got citizens who are homeless and hungry, and we’ve had people killed, and yet we’re about to get in the middle of somebody else’s mess.”

But the resolution’s sponsor, Rep. Joe Carr of Murfreesboro, said if Arizona is beset by controversy, “that is all the more reason we need to stand with Arizona.” He said his resolution tells that state “you’re doing the right thing by protecting your citizens.”

The debate went on for close to an hour, even though Speaker Kent Williams called it “kind of ridiculous.” House GOP caucus chairman Glen Casada said, “Number one, I’ve never heard so much belly aching in all my life. I have never in my life heard such foolishness.” He said Arizona was merely trying to protect its citizens from illegal immigrants.

Update: Here's the roll call. Democrats voting yes included Butch Borchert, Ty Cobb (the guy Democrats love to tout as the party's future), Charlie Curtiss, Henry Fincher, Dennis Ferguson, Craig Fitzhugh, George Fraley, John Litz, Mike McDonald, Ben West and Eddie Yokley. With Democrats like these Profiles in Courage, who needs Republicans? It's votes like this one that make Tennessee elections irrelevant. Why should voters care which party controls the legislature?

Update II: Carr wastes no time beating his chest in a press release. “For the past decade, this country has seen a sharp increase in illegal immigration. The federal government has failed to take any decisive action to curb this illegal activity, thus forcing the states to act. Arizona is to be commended for taking bold steps to address this problem,” Carr says.

Update III: Aunt B weighs in. "Barker, Bass, Borchert, Ty Cobb, Curtiss, Ferguson, Fincher, Fitzhugh, Fraley, Litz, McDonald, Shepard, Tidwell, West, Winningham, and Yokley all have decided that their need to stand up for glorious Arizona is more important than passing a budget."

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