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Private border barrier bill hits wall in Arizona House

In this Jan. 10, 2020, photo, people work at a portion of border wall which is under construction in Yuma, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elliot Spagat)

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona lawmakers on Thursday rejected a measure that would have made it easier for property owners on the U.S.-Mexico border to build a wall.

The measure, sponsored by Republican Rep. Warren Petersen of Gilbert, would have allowed people to sidestep state and local permitting requirements to build a border wall. GOP lawmakers say it would prevent political interference from local officials philosophically opposed to a border wall.

Democrats say a border wall is ineffective at stopping drug trafficking, and the state shouldn’t remove local control for permitting decisions. They also point to potential safety and environmental hazards that permitting requirements are prevent.

Republican Rep. Tony Rivero joined all 29 Democrats in opposition, leaving it one vote shy of the 31 needed to pass. He did not explain his vote.

Lawmakers could revive the bill later in the legislative session.

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