Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Sen. Champion: Martinez Will Be Confirmed

Springfield's State Senator Norma Champion tells The Notebook that Linda Martinez has alleviated her concerns surrounding the illegal immigration issue and says she could be confirmed as the new head of Economic Development by week's end.
Martinez's nomination was held up Wednesday by Sen. Scott Rupp.

In an interview, Champion said she would vote to confirm Martinez. She made her decision after a meeting with Martinez and the nominee explained why she participated in a St. Louis area lawsuit that challenged an ordinance that fined businesses and landlords for hiring and renting to illegal immigrants.

"She said the city was going beyond what they were allowed to do. It was a question of legality. She also saw that it put a lot of burdens on businesses and that they didn't really have a fair hearing in the matter. I'm strong on the regulation of illegal immigrants, but it satisfied me," Champion said.

ON WHY SHE'LL CONFIRM: "Several of the Governor's appointments are way too liberal for me, but it's about understanding the job. As to the question of her being qualified and being good at the job at hand, I don't think anyone questions that. Democrats and Republicans think she's outstanding."

ON THE HOLD UP: "She'll be confirmed. I wouldn't be surprised to see it this week. I don't get the impression the Senators are blocking her to stop her, but rather to express their opinion."

SEN. JIM LEMBKE, who was the first Senator to raise public concerns about Martinez's comments on illegal immigration, sent a letter to the nominee this week, asking her to "be clearer" in her answers.

An excerpt from Lembke's letter:

"In your response last week you wrote that the State of Missouri has not ruled on the issue of illegal immigration. However, don’t you recognize the precedence set within the lawsuit against the City of Valley Park of which you were a part? My understanding is that the Eastern District Court specifically rejected the preemption arguments that you and the ACLU made when that Court upheld the Valley Park ordinance. As I feel certain you know, several provisions of that Valley Park Ordinance were copied into state law in 2008 by the General Assembly and Governor. Do you now acknowledge that, as a matter of law, you were wrong when you represented the plaintiffs against Valley Park? And do you intend to fully support those provisions that are now part of Missouri state law, even though you sued to stop them in 2007?"

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