Politics & Government

March 24, 2011

Immigration bill fails to advance

TOPEKA — The House soundly defeated a motion Wednesday to pull Secretary of State Kris Kobach's Arizona-style immigration bill out of committee and bring it to the floor.

TOPEKA — The House soundly defeated a motion Wednesday to pull Secretary of State Kris Kobach's Arizona-style immigration bill out of committee and bring it to the floor.

The motion by Rep. Greg Smith, R-Overland Park, would have breathed new life into House Bill 2372, which is stalled in the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill would require local and state police to detain and check the immigration status of people they come in contact with if there is reason to believe that the person is in the country illegally.

It also would have required employers to use a federal database to confirm the legal residency of new employees and make it a state crime to harbor undocumented immigrants or encourage them to come to or reside in the state.

The rare motion to take the bill out of committee was voted down 84-40. It needed 70 votes to pass.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, voted to move the bill out of his committee.

After the vote, he said further opportunities to debate the measure will be "extremely limited."

He said the lopsided vote indicates the House doesn't want to address the measure this year.

The motion was offered by Smith late Tuesday, but the vote was delayed until Wednesday by House rules.

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