Spokane City Council meeting gets heated over immigration law - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane City Council meeting gets heated over immigration law

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A Spokane City Council meeting got heated on Monday after a discussion about an immigration law. A Spokane City Council meeting got heated on Monday after a discussion about an immigration law.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

A Spokane City Council meeting got heated on Monday after a discussion about an immigration law.

City Council President Ben Stuckart actually ended the meeting early and left the room after he says he warned three times about keeping order.

"It turned into a de facto immigration debate," says Stuckart.

Last year council members voted to change the municipal code to make a police policy prohibiting officers from asking about immigration status, law. The law however has some residents concerned about how this will affect Spokane.

"All the bad things that people are saying are going to happen would have happened ten years ago," says Stuckart, "because that's been the policy of the police department for ten years."

The discussion at last night's city council meeting was to determine whether the citizen initiative to repeal the change to the municipal code would be made law, put on the ballot without signatures, or if it would require signatures to make it to the ballot.

City Council members voted four to two requiring signatures. Council members Mike Fagan and Mike Allen voting against the signature requirement.

Fagan says he wasn't surprised the council voted as they did but said there was a "robust discussion" about the topic and "rather full council chambers".

"A lot of people testifying, a lot of folks gave us their heartfelt opinions about how they felt about this issue," says Fagan. "The vast majority of them did not support the idea."

Fagan also not in favor of the law, saying that according to research he's done about the issue, Washington State residents pay $2.7 billion for illegal immigrants a year.

Stuckart and other council members believe the law strengthens public safety and allows those undocumented immigrants to be able to report crimes without fear of deportation.

The initiative now goes to the city hearing examiner for review. It will require sponsors to get 2477 valid signatures of city residents by July 6th in order to get it on the November 2015 ballot.

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