scottsdale republican rep. jay lawrence was fending

scottsdale republican rep. jay lawrence was fending off criticism from democrats, who objected to his bill that would allow people to shoot snakes and rats within city limits. among the critiques: people could get hurt.

 (p o: peter haden/cronkite news)

it's early in the legislative session, but rep. jay lawrence has leaped into the lead for the award for most persuasive offer to win votes for a bill.

the scottsdale republican was fending off criticism from democrats, who objected to his bill that would allow people to shoot snakes and rats within city limits. among the critiques: people could get hurt.

not so, lawrence replied during a debate on the house floor. the bill allows for "rat s " only (technically: rimfire cartridge with a caliber under or equal to 22/100ths of an inch, or .22 caliber). to show how innocuous it is, lawrence said he offered to be s by any skeptics of the law.

but he quickly changed his mind, fearing too many volunteers. rat s , meet rim s !

the bill drew opposition for other reasons. biologists and herpetologists objected to the basic concept of shooting snakes. snakes provide a key role in the ecosystem, including preying on rats, they said. the shooting also could lead to numerous calls to police about random gunfire in urban areas.

despite the objections, house bill 2022 p ed along party lines, with all 35 republicans in support and all 25 democrats opposed. it now moves to the senate.

an aside: it's a good thing this didn't happen on groundhog day. while other parts of the country rely on punxsutawney phil to predict whether winter will stick around, arizonans have agua fria freddy. he's a snake, and if he had slithered out of his den feb. 2 only to get s , we may never have known if he saw his shadow. (he did, per freddy's facebook page.)

reach the reporter at [email protected] and follow her on twitter, @maryjpitzl.

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