Originally Published: July 18, 2018 8:53 p.m.
Should Arizona lawmakers be allowed to have legislative immunity for traffic violations and other misdemeanor offenses?
- Yes 1%
- No 97%
- I do not understand the law enough to decide 2%
304 total votes.
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona lawmaker already under fire for claiming legislative immunity during a traffic stop has a record of getting pulled over for speeding, and only got a warning each time, according to state police reports.
Rep. Paul Mosley was stopped by Department of Public Safety troopers six times since February 2017, according to documents The Arizona Republic obtained Tuesday.
Five instances were for speeding. Mosley was caught driving at least 16 mph above the limit in each case. In the most recent incident, April 5, he was traveling 33 mph over the limit. During an April 2017 stop, he also had a passenger younger than 16 in the front seat who wasn't wearing a seat belt.
The second of the six stops was for failing to heed a stop sign.
The records don't indicate if the Republican legislator brought up legislative immunity during the stops, but he never received a citation.
Body camera footage published last week by KLPZ shows Mosley appearing to brag to a La Paz County Sheriff's deputy that he drives as much as 140 mph (225 kph). The deputy stopped Mosley on March 27 outside of Parker, Arizona, for going 97 mph (156 kilometers) in a 55 mph (88 kph) zone. In the video, Mosley says he sometimes drives "130, 140, 120," while trying to get home to surprise his wife.
"I don't break the law because I can, but because, you know, I'm just trying to get home," Mosley says in the video.
The deputy said in a written report that Mosley had told him not to waste time on the incident because of his legislative immunity, KLPZ reported.
Mosley posted an apology last week on his Facebook page, characterizing the comments as a joke and that he had shown bad judgment.
"Our troopers were acting within state statute," DPS spokesman Bart Graves said in an email about the traffic stops. Graves pointed to a state law that says troopers can recognize a lawmaker's legislative immunity from arrest except in cases involving "treason, felony and breach of the peace."
While the state constitution does provide for certain kinds of legislative immunity, it's generally intended for actions related to legislative acts, according to a state manual. A document from November 2002 shared by the House Rules Committee says speeding tickets — as well as violations for driving under the influence — aren't covered.
The Cochise County attorney's office is reviewing the March traffic stop. It's also the subject of a pending complaint before the House ethics committee.
The Lake Havasu City lawmaker was elected in 2016 and is running for another two-year term in November.
The video has already cost him the endorsement of the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police. The group's president said his behavior and "utter disregard" for public safety are the opposite of what they look for in an elected official.
Lawmakers and lobbyists have also said Mosley has made inappropriate comments about women and religion. A lobbyist last week posted on social media that Mosley had criticized her for being a working mother. House Speaker J.D. Mesnard said he has not received any formal grievance.