Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Post SB1062: Arizona’s Christian Extremists Make Headlines with More Legislation

cross27-colored-sig-sm72Arizona’s anti-gay “religious freedom” bill (SB1062) met with a swift and forceful negative response in the streets, on social media, and on national television. Responding to pressure by business interests and worried about losing Super Bowl 2015, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the bill.

Now that the tide of religious extremism has been thwarted, everyone can relax, right? Not hardly. SB1062 was only one of several bills designed to take away someone’s rights and backed by the fundamentalist Christian Center for Arizona Policy (CAP). 

The Huffington Post published a brief but comprehensive report (excerpted below) detailing the scurrilous collection of bills backed by the CAP and founder Cathi Herrod.

One fact that the Huff Post left out is that Herrod is not working alone. CAP and other state-based organizations are affiliated with Focus on the Family, a right-wing network promoting Christian values — including traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Although SB1062 was vetoed in Arizona, at least nine other states are considering similar legislation. A quick look at the hateful and discriminatory bills that have been backed by Herrod reveals common themes that have played out in many red state legislatures: restrictions on abortion clinics; forced vaginal ultrasound prior to abortion; abstinence-only sex ed; tax breaks for religious schools and organizations; attacks on contraception… the list goes on.

With legislation written by religious conservatives (CAP), fiscal conservatives (the Goldwater Institute), and the 1% (American Legislative Exchange Council– ALEC), it’s no wonder that Arizonans feel that they are under siege by their own government.

From the Huffington Post

Despite the national outcry and bipartisan opposition to the group’s most recent legislative affront on LGBT rights, a number of CAP’s controversial bills continue to make their way through the Republican-controlled Arizona legislature.

Here are four of them:

HB 2565: Criminalizing assisted suicide
Passed the House, referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Although Arizona already has a law banning assisted suicide, HB 2565 seeks to expand the definition of manslaughter to include “offering or providing the physical means that another person uses to commit suicide, with the knowledge” that the individual intends to end his or her life.

HB 2284: “Women’s Health Protection Act”
Passed the House, headed to the Senate.

House Bill 2284 would allow unannounced government inspections of abortion clinics without a warrant. The legislation also seeks to make it a class 1 misdemeanor to help “a minor avoid Arizona’s parental consent requirements” to obtain an abortion. Furthermore, the bill would require abortion clinics to submit an extensive report of each abortion performed at the facility, including “what steps are taken to save that child’s life.”

SB 1048: Corporate scholarship tax credit
Passed the Senate, passed the House Ways & Means Committee. Referred to the House Rules Committee.

By expanding Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account program, SB 1048 would permit small businesses organized as S corporations to claim tax credits for contributions to “school tuition organizations” — tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations that allocate the majority of their annual revenue to scholarships or grants for private schools. Opponents of the bill argue that it would divert funding from public school districts.

HB 2281: Property tax exemption for religious institutions
Passed the House, transmitted to the Senate.

House Bill 2281 would exempt nonprofit religious assemblies, as well as institutions leasing “property, buildings and fixtures,” from paying property taxes. A similar CAP-backed effort was vetoed by Brewer in 2013.

Here are 13 of the 123 CAP-supported bills that have been signed into Arizona law:

  • Prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, strengthening informed consent requirements and requiring FDA compliance for medication abortions (2012). The 20-week ban was later ruled unconstitutional.
  • Exempting religiously-affiliated employers from being forced to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs or contraception (2012). 
  • Ensuring that arts funding is not spent on obscenity or material that disgraces the flags of Arizona or the United States (2012).
  • Requiring an ultrasound before an abortion, banning telemedicine abortions and improving safety standards for abortion clinics (2011).
  • Ending taxpayer-funded insurance coverage for government employees’ abortions (2010).
  • Banning partial-birth abortion (2009).
  • The Abortion Consent Act: requiring informed consent, enhancing parental consent and expanding rights of conscience protections for healthcare workers (2009).
  • Defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman in the Arizona Constitution (2008). This bill was advanced through a ballot initiative.
  • Funding community-based marriage classes (2007).
  • Funding for abstinence-until-marriage education (2005, 2006 and 2007). In 2008, former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) rejected federal Title V abstinence-until-marriage funding.
  • Banning taxpayer funding of human cloning (2005).
  • Providing equal access for religious groups to rental of school facilities (2003). 
  • Prohibiting physicians’ assistants from performing surgical abortions (2002).

One comment on “Post SB1062: Arizona’s Christian Extremists Make Headlines with More Legislation

  1. Pingback: Financial Reports: Cathi Herrod & Center for Arizona Policy Give AZ Lege More than Ideas | Tucson Progressive

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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