The flag in the background is all the proof of citizenship Mark Parkinson needs.
Update 4/30/2010 2:24 p.m.: In a phone interview, Parkinson told Daily RFT that when he introduced HB 2449 on April 1 he was unaware of the issues in Arizona. After the state's Governor signed the controversial bill into law and the debate went national he drafted a committee substitute for his own bill that is "identical" to Arizona's law.
"Obviously in this session it's way, way too late to get it passed," Parkinson says. "Upfront this issue would be lucky to make it to the house floor this year, let alone get to the senate. There have been some court cases with the Arizona law too. I want to read what those [judicial] opinions are based on, what they say and make some alterations to the bill and I'll maybe file it again next year."
We'll have a transcript of the entire interview Monday on Daily RFT. Original post follows....
Arizona's strict new immigration law gives police the authority to check a person's documentation when "reasonable suspicion" exists that the suspect is in the country illegally. As public outrage against the measure grows, prompting protests, and legal challenges on the grounds that it is thinly veiled racial profiling, Republican leaders in some states are considering similar measures.
So which legislature is most likely follow-through and make their state as ignominious as Arizona? Even though we're roughly 800 miles away from the Mexican border, it might be Missouri.
Rep. Mark Parkison, a Republican from St. Charles, is the sponsor of HB 2449. Introduced earlier this month, the bill "creates various crimes for trafficking, concealing, harboring, sheltering, or transporting illegal aliens."
It would make anyone convicted of "harboring" illegal aliens guilty of a class B felony.
Here's the key passage:
It shall be unlawful for any person to conceal, harbor, or shelter from detection any illegal alien in any place within the state of Missouri including any building or means of transportation, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that the illegal alien has come to, entered, or remained in the United States in violation of law. It shall be unlawful for any illegal alien to transport himself or herself within the state of Missouri.
As in Arizona, simply being an undocumented immigrant (at least one with a car) would be a violation of state law.
The measure had a public hearing yesterday. According to the St. Joseph News-Press, "no witnesses spoke in favor of the bill, but at least 15 were present to speak against it, including immigration attorneys and social welfare groups."
There are two weeks remaining in the 2010 legislative session, making it unlikely that the bill will pass. Parkinson, though, told the Springfield News-Leader that he "absolutely" supports Arizona's law and is "going to try" to introduce similar legislation in Missouri in 2011.
If not the Show-Me State, it looks like Alabama is the favorite to follow in Arizona's footsteps. Check out the jingoistic campaign ad from gubernatorial candidate Tim James: