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Proposal seeks ID to get business license

  Government nannies want to require a government issued photo id to get a business license?????

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Proposal seeks ID to get business license
Matthew Benson
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 30, 2007 12:00 AM

The Arizona Legislature has been debating how to keep businesses from hiring undocumented workers. Thursday, it turned its attention to the legal status of the employers themselves.

House Bill 2467, given preliminary approval by House lawmakers, would require anyone seeking to renew or obtain a new business license to show proof of citizenship.

Democrats argued against the proposal, calling it an unfunded mandate on cities and towns that will be tasked with verifying the legality of license applicants.

But Rep. Russell Pearce, a Mesa Republican who sponsored the measure, noted that communities already charge license fees.

He added that the burden to prove citizenship would be on license applicants, not local governments.

Another Pearce-backed bill receiving preliminary approval Thursday, HB 2460, would bar local governments from accepting consular cards as legal identification.

Foreign nationals in the United States often use consular IDs, issued by their home country's consulate, as identification.

Some local governments, the city of Phoenix included, accept those IDs from residents applying for services.

But Pearce argued that consular IDs are notoriously unreliable, "unverifiable" and are often used by criminals seeking to conceal their true identity.

"For $29, anyone can have one," he said. "This is a tremendous, tremendous threat to public safety. The absolute only constituency for these cards is illegal aliens."

But for bill opponents such as Rep. Steve Gallardo, a Phoenix Democrat, the issue comes down to this: A consular ID is better than no ID at all, especially when it's the only identification available to law enforcement.

The city of Phoenix hasn't yet taken a position on the meas-ure.

Both measures face final votes in the House as early as next week before heading to the Senate for consideration.