Chickens photo

State lawmakers refused Wednesday to overturn local zoning laws about keeping chickens in back yards even if an Oro Valley Republican quipped that it would help him with his social life.

The Senate-passed legislation would have opened the door to occupants of single family homes keeping not just chickens but also turkeys, swans and geese.

Proponents of SB 1151 said the legislation would encourage people to raise their own eggs. They also said it was a matter of property rights.

But Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, said Wednesday that cities enact zoning laws and restrictions to keep communities and neighbors working together and not infringing on each other's rights. Fann, a former Prescott council member, said once the state steps in, that paves the way to no local zoning laws at all.

“And where to we draw the line then?” Fann asked. “Today, it's chickens, fowls, whatever. Tomorrow is somebody going to come in and say, ‘Well, my kid wants to raise a 4-H pig’ or something similar?”

Wednesday's vote came to kill the measure came despite a last-minute plea by Rep. Adam Kwasman, but he jokingly told colleagues that his interest in approving the measure had less to do with the issue and more to deal with his social life.

“I don't know if you know me,” he said.

“But not a lot of girls really want to go out with me,” said the 31-year-old first-term lawmaker and current congressional candidate.

“The young lady that I'm dating REALLY wants this bill to pass,” Kwasman continued. “Guys, come on!”

The pleas were not enough as the measure went down to defeat on a 32-25 margin.

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