'Grant's Law' could be headed for Senate vote

A new bill introduced would change the way illegal immigrants would be sentenced for committing crimes.
Grant Ronnebeck worked the night shift at a QuickTrip store in Mesa. On January 22, 2015 Apolinar Altamirano walked in, dumped a pile of change on the counter, and demanded cigarettes. As Ronnebeck counted the change, police say Altamirano pulled out a gun and killed the 21-year-old.
"If Mr. Altamirano had been sentenced properly and and was not able to plead down his charges Grant would still be alive," said Rep. Steve Smith. 
Altamirano pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced to 2-years probation and was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was released out on bond and was awaiting deportation hearings when he went to the QT store in Mesa.
Since the murder, Grant's father has fought for laws that would have kept his son's accused killer in prison.
"This needs to stop, I'll do this all day long, every day of the week if I had to, we have got to stop the madness. These are preventable deaths," said Steve Ronnebeck.
SB1377 would require a judge to sentence someone to no less than the sentencing guidelines recommended if a person's immigration status is deemed an aggravating factor. That person would also not be granted an early release.
"It will send a clear message that Arizona is going to lead the fight against some of these criminals," said Steve Ronnebeck.
Only 1 of 6 Senators in the Public Safety Committee voted against the bill, citing constitutional concerns, saying the bill singles out a specific group.
"When we start classifying certain laws to just do certain things to certain individuals, I cannot be for it," said Lupe Contreras.
"People who are not citizens of this country are not afforded the same rights as our citizens, you can like that, or you can dislike that, I don't care, that is the law," said Smith.
SB1377 has been named "Grants Law" in memory of Ronnebeck.


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