A vote on an omnibus piece of immigration legislation was put on hold today, with sponsor Sen. Bill Hickman, R-St. George, saying he's working on fine tuning the legislation to make it palatable to religious and business organizations.
Describing the changes to SB81 as "word smithing here and there," Hickman said he wants to make the bill "a really fine piece of legislation."
The bill would prevent undocumented immigrants from obtaining jobs or public benefits and would create a Class A misdemeanor for those who harbor or transport them.
That misdemeanor is one area that Hickman says will likely be changed, to ensure it doesn't prevent churches from performing their normal duties.
Hickman acknowledged the LDS church was among ecclesiastical groups that he's been working with, but said other religions have been involved in the discussion as well.
Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem, says Hickman has done a good job balancing compassion with the rule of law as he's crafted his legislation by "hitting at the core but rounding off the edges."
Valentine said that the bill likely has enough support to pass the Senate.