Senator stalls Missouri development chief approval

Wednesday, February 4, 2009 | 2:37 p.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY — A senator stalled the confirmation of Gov. Jay Nixon's economic development director because of concerns his pick is soft on illegal immigration.

Linda Martinez was part of a coalition of lawyers that sued the St. Louis suburb of Valley Park in 2007 for ordinances that fined businesses and landlords for hiring and renting to illegal immigrants.

Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, sponsored a law last year that cracks down on businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Rupp filibustered the confirmation of Martinez on Wednesday while citing concerns about her immigration work and complaining that Martinez hadn't met with him.

Martinez now is scheduled to meet with Rupp on Thursday. She has said previously that she would enforce Missouri's laws regarding illegal immigrants.

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