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Advocacy group files ethics complaint against Arizona lawmaker

Eddie Farnsworth, middle (AP Photo/Bob Christie)

PHOENIX — An immigration advocacy group has filed an ethics complaint against an Arizona lawmaker after a speaker was cut off and others were ordered removed during a state Senate hearing on Thursday.

Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) filed the complaint Tuesday against Republican committee Chairman Sen. Eddie Farnsworth.

It alleges that Farnsworth “committed a gross violation of ethics” after he cut off LUCHA spokesman Hugo Polanco and then ordered Polanco and other activists to leave the hearing.

Polanco was speaking about SCR 1007 and called the controversial sanctuary cities proposal “a return to the racism, divisiveness and hate of SB1070.”

“What happened last week was a gross overreach and shutdown of the Democratic process,” Alejandra Gomez, LUCHA executive director, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday. “We want to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”

The complaint calls for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate and reprimand Farnsworth for his behavior.

Following Polanco’s initial comments abut the proposal, Farnsworth interrupted him.

“There’s nothing racist about anybody up here,” Farnsworth said. “So I’m going to caution you – testify, but you don’t need to be vitriolic.”

Polanco pressed on, noting the current ban on sanctuary policies and urging the panel to “reject this racist, divisive and hateful legislation.”

Farnsworth cut him off and was forced to suspend the hearing when activists began shouting: “This is a racist law and you’re not allowing the people to speak.”

After a lengthy recess where security removed the activists, the committee approved the measure on a 4-3 party-line vote.

Farnsworth did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We feel that it’s important that our legislators that are elected by the people listen to the community,” Gomez said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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