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House approves bill protecting off-duty police officers

(AP Photo/Jared Wickerham)

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona House has passed legislation that would specify aggravated assault against off-duty police officers is a crime equal to assaulting on-duty officers.

The proposal by sponsor Republican Sen. Steve Smith would mandate calling the act the Blue Lives Matter Law. Smith says the measure is necessary because directly assaulting officers shouldn’t be tolerated on any level.

Senate Bill 1366 notes aggravated assault against police officers includes those that are not “on duty or engaged in the execution of any official duties.”

Democratic Rep. Reginald Bolding called the measure’s title disrespectful and said the bill is an affront to issues concerning the Black Lives Matter movement.

The House’s 34-25 vote Wednesday sends the legislation back to the Senate for final approval before it heads to Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk.

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