PHOENIX — Lawmakers are walking away from a proposal to spend state money on a memorial to mark the 2011 shooting that targeted then-Rep. Gabby Giffords and killed six people.
The proposal to spend $2.5 million over five years was approved by the House in February and had been sitting in two Senate committees, KOLD-TV reported.
The legislative session has not yet ended, but bills are no longer being heard in committee.
“This particular bill is dead for this legislative session,” Republican Sen. Debbie Lesko said in an email.
The memorial honoring the victims and survivors of the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting is planned for a park in downtown Tucson.
Crystal Kasnoff, executive director of the January 8th Memorial Foundation, said in March that the group would rely on private donations if it could not secure state funding. The foundation has not yet come up with the funds to complete construction of the memorial, which is estimated to be about $5 million.
Kasnoff said she is hopeful that pending legislation at the federal level will give the project naming rights as a national memorial and a listing with the National Park Service.
Rep. Todd Clodfelter, who sponsored the state legislation, was “disappointed” the bill did not make it out of committee. The proposal had faced opposition from people who thought the public money would be better spent elsewhere, he said.
“From the local perspective, there are conservative voters — my constituents — who are not thrilled with the concept,” Clodfelter said.
There were contingencies in the legislation to assure that private funding for the project would be generated in its complete amount, Clodfelter said. The bill also required that funding for the project be returned to the state if the memorial was not deemed a national monument by 2023.
Jared Lee Loughner killed six people and injured Giffords and 12 others in the attack at a public event in Tucson. He was sentenced to life in prison.
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