Michelle Ugenti's Anti-Colorado City Bill Gets No Love from State Senate

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Michelle Ugenti, giving the lawyer for the Colorado City cops heck...

If more than two-thirds of the state House votes in favor of a bill that would rein in corruption in local police forces, you would anticipate that the proposed legislation at least would receive a hearing in the state Senate, wouldn't you?

See also:
-Eddie Farnsworth Blocked Hearing for Anti-Child-Sex-Trafficking Bill
-Andy Biggs, the $10 Million Chairman, and His Tuesday Night Massacre

Not in the case of House Bill 2648, which would create a complex mechanism by which an out-of-control law enforcement agency could be decertified by the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board, and taken over by a law enforcement administrator appointed by a county board of supervisors.

Sponsored by Republican Representative Michelle Ugenti, the bill was meant to address problems with the Hildale-Colorado City Marshal's Office, which patrols both Colorado City and Hildale on the Arizona-Utah border, a twin city notorious for its association with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The tiny police force of six men has been accused of protecting polygamists, preventing "plural wives" from leaving their husbands, and being an instrument of intimidation close to the FLDS cult.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune's "polygamy blog," six officers in the marshal's office, including a chief, have been decertified by POST over the years for everything from bigamy and marrying underage girls to writing to FLDS leader and convicted child rapist Warren Jeffs in prison.

A provision of the bill requiring POST to investigate a police agency of ten persons or less when 50 percent of the force has been decertified, could apply to the Colorado City force.

But the bill is not retroactive and would only be triggered if 50 percent of that force were decertified over the next five years.

The bill is far from perfect, though improved from a similar bill run last year, which some deemed "special legislation" and thus prohibited by the Arizona Constitution. The bill failed in the House by three votes.

With most of last-year's concerns addressed, the bill was overwhelmingly approved earlier this month by the House, drawing support from both Democrats and Republicans to pass with a vote of 52 to 7.

One of those voting nay on the floor was none other than Representative Eddie Farnsworth, the guy who blocked a child-sex trafficking bill by refusing it a hearing in the Judiciary Committee he chairs.


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4 comments
glenn.gimbut
glenn.gimbut

Colorado City is not alone with respect to small town departments run amok.  Quartzsite is another example.  Some bill along these lines is called for. 

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

This is ridiculous. Time for the fibbies to step in. If they can dog our illustrious AG, they can take some positive action in Colorado City/Hildale.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

Ugenti usually seems to be just as big a whackjob as the rest of the Republican controlled legislature so its odd that she had this singular moment of clarity to sponsor and promote this bill.

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