- Associated Press - Thursday, October 24, 2019

PHOENIX (AP) - An Arizona lawmaker says he’ll introduce legislation that would allow some elected county officials to be permanently removed from office.

State law allows only a temporary suspension for neglect of duty by a county assessor or treasurer.

The obscure law has come under scrutiny as Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen faces charges related to his adoption business that authorities allege was a human smuggling scheme involving pregnant women from the Marshall Islands.

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Republican Rep. Anthony Kern says taxpayers deserve to be represented by officials who can perform their duties. His bill would allow a treasurer or assessor to be removed with a two-thirds vote of the county board of supervisors.

Petersen’s lawyer has said removing an elected official from office before a conviction may be unconstitutional.

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