The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday narrowly passed a revised version of Senate Bill 1083, which would create and fund an Arizona Special Missions Unit.
If the bill passed, the unit would help secure the border and help local law enforcement pursue, detain and arrest those involved in “cross-border criminal activity,” according to the bill’s language.
The unit also would respond to natural disasters and search-and-recovery efforts.
Unlike an earlier version, the revised measure clarified who would be eligible to volunteer and how the state would vet them. The measure also reduced funding to $1.4 million yearly, down from an initial proposal of $1.9 million, and removed the militia from under the operations of the National Guard.
Instead, the governor would appoint a commander and commission to oversee the unit.
If Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1083 into law, Arizona would stand alone in funding a militia focused on border enforcement.
Brewer generally does not comment on pending legislation.
“This is more like the Texas Rangers,” said Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, the bill’s sponsor.
“Our state and local law enforcement doesn’t have enough money to focus on this cross-border criminal activity.”
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