Posted by: Donna
Man, I called this on Facebook yesterday. After it was reported that Sen. Steve Pierce (R) wanted the Governor to veto SB1062, the religious bigot bill he voted for, I predicted that Sen. Adam Driggs (also R) would follow suit. Unsurprisingly, he was joined by Sen. Bob Worsley (also R).
“We feel it was a solution in search of a problem,” Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, said in an impromptu news conference outside the state Senate. He was joined by Sen. Steve Pierce, R-Prescott.
The two, along with Senate Majority Whip Adam Driggs, R-Phoenix, sent Brewer a letter this morning asking for a veto.
“While our sincere intent in voting for this bill was to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has instead been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance,” the three wrote. “These allegations are causing our state immeasurable harm.”
Pierce and Worsley said the bill was moved along very quickly, not giving them enough time to convince fellow lawmakers to vote against it. Besides, Pierce said, they didn’t want to “tear apart” the GOP caucus, which was sharply divided last year over Brewer’s push for Medicaid expansion.
What a pantload. It would only have taken two of them to vote no to kill the thing yet they all voted for it. Let me reiterate a couple of things here:
1. Pierce, Driggs, and Worsley are clearly not worried about the primary. I believe they voted for SB1062 because they wanted to and thought they’d get away with it. Once again, this threat of being primaried that we’re so often given as the excuse for why “moderate” Republicans vote for bad right wing bills appears to be largely mythical. They’d be sticking to their guns if they really thought they’d pay a price with the hardcore rank-and-file in August if they didn’t. Similarly, you wouldn’t be seeing the majority of the GOP candidates for Governor, including Cathi Herrod’s boy Doug Ducey, shunning the bill right now if they were scared of primary voters. Sorry, Al Melvin, but your support of it may make you the darling of the Tea Party crowd for the next couple weeks or so but it’s not going to make a dent in your dismal chances in the primary.
2. Once again, I’ll remind everyone that the business community that is banding together to stop SB1062 could have done the same thing in 2010 with SB1070 but they chose not to. They deliberately sat on their hands while SB1070 was passed and signed so they could get the GOP sweep they wanted that year. They got it and can stop whining about all the money they lost through the boycotts and whatnot. Maybe they’ve learned their lesson.
Posted by: Donna
Opponents of SB1062, the bill that could basically allow any form of discrimination so long as it was “sincerely religious” are planning to amass at the Capitol today to protest this outrage and encourage the Governor to veto it.
Several of these signs will be available at the rally, and some have already been spotted on shop windows throughout the state.
Cute, but not truthful, in the sense that it wasn’t “Arizona Legislators” who passed the bill. It was Arizona Republican legislators who did. Not one Democrat voted for it, and several Democratic legislators took to the floor to make impassioned pleas against it. Blaming “the Legislature” as a whole for this is rather like President Obama’s maddening habit of citing “Congress” as the cause of the gridlock in DC rather than putting the blame on the obstructionist Republicans where it belongs. When the entire body is implicated there’s no real penalty to the bad actors within it. Furthermore, it puts Demion Clinco, the Dem Representative from Tucson who opposed the bill and spoke of his own experience being bullied for being gay, in league with the likes of John Kavanagh. Those two Arizona Legislators are worlds apart on this issue but you wouldn’t know it from that sign.
Honestly, it’s okay to identify the Republicans publicly as the problem, and long past time. Yes, I know that some of you know some very nice moderate Republicans who are your neighbors, or in the Valley League of the Pillars of the Community or whatever with you, and those Republicans are simply appalled by this bill and are for LGBT equality and all that. That’s awesome, and you know what? Those Republicans are big boys and girls and they can handle having Republican legislators called out – as Republicans – for their unacceptable actions. And quite frankly, I’m kind of done with making anyone who continues to vote Republican in this state feel comfortable in doing so.
Posted by: Donna
The AZ Senate debated SB1062, which would allow discrimination so long as it was for “sincerely held” religious reasons. Theocrats have tried, unsuccessfully, to pass similar laws in four other states but there’s a chance Governor Brewer could sign this one if it passes the House.
The video isn’t up yet but the floor session was interesting. Democrats tried valiantly to amend the bill on the floor, including one attempt where Sen. Ableser, hilariously, got the Republicans on record as supporting the rights of Satanists to do their thing. Democrats also cited several possible ways the law could be used to discriminate against LGBT and other groups, which Sen. Yarbrough (R) dismissed as “goofy hypotheticals”.
Center for Arizona Policy is, naturally, behind this bill and its President, Cathi Herrod, was busily tweeting throughout the proceeding. She, too, was miffed at how the bill was being portrayed.
If this bill does practically nothing, then why is it so important? Considering CAP’s long history of attacking gay rights and women’s health it’s difficult to believe they’re simply asserting the existing right to practice one’s faith. And if you look at the language of the bill itself, it gives broad abilities to people to run to the courts when they feel they’re being oppressed (emphasis mine).
41-1493.01. Free exercise of religion protected; definition
A. Free exercise of religion is a fundamental right that applies in this state even if laws, rules or other government actions are facially neutral.
B. Except as provided in subsection C, government OF THIS SECTION, STATE ACTION shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.
C. Government STATE ACTION may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it THE GOVERNMENT OR NONGOVERNMENTAL PERSON SEEKING THE ENFORCEMENT OF STATE ACTION demonstrates that application of the burden to the person PERSON’S EXERCISE OF RELIGION IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE is both:
1. In furtherance of a compelling governmental interest.
2. The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
D. A person whose religious exercise is burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, and obtain appropriate relief against a government REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT IS A PARTY TO THE PROCEEDING.
E. A PERSON THAT ASSERTS A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION MUST ESTABLISH ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
1. THAT THE PERSON’S ACTION OR REFUSAL TO ACT IS MOTIVATED BY A RELIGIOUS BELIEF.
2. THAT THE PERSON’S RELIGIOUS BELIEF IS SINCERELY HELD.
3. THAT THE STATE ACTION SUBSTANTIALLY BURDENS THE EXERCISE OF THE PERSON’S RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.
F. THE PERSON ASSERTING A CLAIM OR DEFENSE UNDER SUBSECTION D OF THIS SECTION MAY OBTAIN INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF. A party who prevails in any action to enforce this article against a government shall recover attorney fees and costs.
Hat tip to Robin Marty, for reporting this story from Tennessee.
A Tennessee pharmacist is suing his former employer for religious discrimination, after the Walgreens that he worked for fired him for refusing to sell emergency contraception. According to The Tennessean, Phillip Hall was dismissed from his position after he purchased his store’s full shipment of Plan B and threw it out rather than stock it on the shelves for customers to buy. Hall, who had already been refusing to sell the emergency contraception when it was stocked behind the shelves, called the drug “sinful and repugnant,” according to his lawsuit.
This is precisely the kind of idiocy that SB1062 (and it’s identical counterpart HB2153) are intended to advance. These numbnuts aren’t necessarily going to win every lawsuit they file alleging their “religious freedom” is being violated but they will tie up the courts and be a problem for businesses here. Democrats pointed this out during the floor debate.
Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, warned of economic consequences if the Legislature passed the bill and it is signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. He said companies would begin to avoid Arizona, as they did after the state passed its signature immigration crackdown law, SB1070, in 2010.
“I think this bill makes a statement … that we don’t welcome people here,” Farley said. “This bill gets in the way, this bill sends the wrong message around the country and around the world.”
Yeah, I would say that if not only bosses, but employees – particularly if said employees are supported by very well-funded religious groups – are demanding accommodation for their religious whims, that’s going to be a tiny tad of an issue for some very large corporations that would rather not deal with any of it. All the more reason to stop it in its tracks.
Posted by: Donna
Planned Parenthood of AZ announced the good news this morning:
Planned Parenthood Arizona – Flagstaff Health Center In 2011, Planned Parenthood Arizona was forced to stop providing abortion care at a number of our health centers due to legislation that made the provision of this care nearly impossible. Our health center in Flagstaff was one of them.
For the past two and a half years, women living outside of Pima and Maricopa County have encountered miles of travel, days of wages lost, and several nights away from loved ones in order to access this safe and legal medical procedure. These barriers, created by politicians who have no business interfering with a woman’s personal medical decisions, were faced and overcome by many women – but not all.
After ending abortion care at our Flagstaff Health Center in 2011, we are grateful to have the opportunity to bring this care back to the community. The Flagstaff Health Center is once again providing medication abortion.
While this is good news for the women of Northern Arizona, it is important to remember that so many unnecessary barriers continue to exist for women throughout Arizona – barriers that don’t just relate to abortion care, but to important public health services, such as access to factual information about sexual health or contraception.
Of course LifeSiteNews.com, the daily treasure-trove of anti-choice batshittery, responded to this development. Regular contributor Ben Johnson claims that Planned Parenthood in Flagstaff might engage in covering up statutory rape with this ability to administer medication:
In 2002, Life Dynamics had a woman posing as a young minor call the facility, which was then located at Riordan Ranch Street.
“I’ll be 14 next month,” the woman said. “But my boyfriend’s 22. Could he – is he old enough to take care of it and you wouldn’t have to tell anybody?”
The abortion facility worker replied, “Well, we don’t have to inform your parents, no.”
The minor asked again later, “It’s just, we were not wanting anyone to know all about us. Would he have to sign any papers if he was paying for it?”
The worker, who said her name was Melody, responded, “No.”
I’m not sure what Melody was supposed to do here. “Young lady, you hang up this phone right now and call the police!” She treated the girl with respect and answered her questions honestly. Anti-choicers do these stings all the time but never explain what a correct response by clinic workers might be. There likely isn’t one since these are not really sting operations, since they’re not based on reasonable suspicions of unethical abortion clinic activity. They’re fishing expeditions and, as such, will frequently yield “damning” results. They’re a lot like small town police departments conducting spurious traffic stops to shake people down for fines. Plus, the only way that anti-choicers seem to want to help actual rape victims is to force them to carry pregnancies to term.
From the same edition of LifeSiteNews comes another article by the strangely rape-fixated Ben Johnson. He takes the show House of Cards to task for a plotline where a character lies about her abortion being the result of rape for political reasons.
The vice president’s wife, Claire Underwood, (not to be confused with that guy on L.A. Law) admits during an interview with CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield that she has had an abortion.
The stilted language and cardboard caricature of the pro-life movement proves the script was written by Hollywood elites. Instead of asking whether she has had an abortion, Banfield asks, “Did you terminate the pregnancy?”
Underwood (played by Robin Wright) responds with a homilette on the horrors of the pro-life movement. “If I said yes my husband’s political career would be in jeopardy, my faith would be questioned, likely my life would be threatened, but I won’t feel ashamed. Yes, I was pregnant, and yes, I had an abortion,” she says in what is supposed to be a moment of feminist triumph but comes across as further proof that she is an emotional black hole.
In fact, Underwood has had three abortions – two during her teen years and one on the campaign trail, approved by her husband (played by Kevin Spacey). During a commercial break, an adviser tells her that the American people might look askance at her having had three convenience abortions – so she lies on the air instead.
It’s fascinating how Johnson finds this TV character’s lying about rape to be terribly offensive but has no problem with “sting” operations where activists, ahem, lie about being raped.
Appalling treatment of sexual assault victims in Missoula, Montana reveals what a big old suckfest conservative “values” are
Posted by: Donna
Right wingers are forever going on about how the sexual revolution has brought about the decline of civilization and has been simply terrible for women due to us no longer being able to use pregnancy to force reluctant men to shotgun marry us, among other things. But this Mother Jones report from Missoula, MT clearly illustrates how antediluvian attitudes toward sexuality and women held by the prosecutors there are causing rapists to go free, tormenting female victims, and causing some victims not to even bother trying to get justice.
On Friday, the Department of Justice sent a letter to the Missoula County Attorney’s Office in Montana, alleging that it has found “substantial evidence” that prosecutors there systematically discriminate against female sexual-assault victims. According to the DOJ, the office considers sexual-assault cases involving adult women a low priority, often treats these victims with disrespect—quoting religious passages to one woman who reported assault, in a way that made her feel judged—and declines to prosecute some cases in which it has confessions or eyewitnesses, including a case in which Missoula police obtained incriminating statements from a man who admitted to having sexual intercourse with a mentally ill woman, who had asked him to stop.
“We uncovered evidence of a disturbing pattern of deficiencies in the handling of these cases by the County Attorney’s Office, a pattern that not only denies victims meaningful access to justice, but places the safety of all women in Missoula at risk,” wrote Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division, in a statement on Friday.
Deny it all you want, conservatives, but this is exactly the culture of female shame and rapist enabling you want to preserve and strengthen, no matter how much you claim to be for “protecting” women and girls. And this right here is straight out of the handbook:
…In another case, the Justice Department spoke to a woman whose daughter was sexually assaulted, at the age of five, by an adolescent boy, who was sentenced to two years of community service for the crime. A prosecutor handling the case allegedly told the mother that “boys will be boys.”…
Boys will be boys! You know you’re dealing with a pretty powerful double standard where girls and women are deemed responsible for the behavior of every male in their midst but, gosh darn it, we can’t even trust dudes to behave themselves around a five year old! And it’s that exact mindset that is prevalent in the anti-choice movement and “abstinence-only” sex ed, where passing lip service may be given to the idea of guys remaining chaste until marriage but the need for the ladies to keep themselves pure is heavily emphasized.
Unfortunately, and to the delight of sexual predators everywhere, right wing views on female sexuality haven’t been relegated to the fringes where they belong because plenty of non-conservative people also share at least some of them. When even President Obama expresses squeamishness over Plan B being available to girls “alongside bubble gum or batteries”, it’s a reminder that right wing activists operate in a larger culture that is angst-ridden over young female sexuality and mistrustful of female independence. Which is why I’m such a broken record on this stuff. This isn’t just your grandparents being silly old fogies. Slut-shaming and victim-blaming are pervasive cultural forces that continue to hold back progress and negatively influence the public and authority figures. These attitudes cause untold harm to real people and they need to be fought vigorously.
Posted by: Donna
Laurie Roberts at the AZ Republic is beside herself that the well-heeled proponents of the dumb Top Two Primary idea are, as she delightedly exclaims, baaaaaack.
It’s baaaaaack: Top-two primary 2.0
About now is the time you start thinking it.
Who elected these clowns, you ask, as you read about the serious business being conducted at the state Capitol. About bills aimed at barring certain children from going to school and bills that enshrine discrimination in the name of religion. About bills to nullify Environmental Protection Agency rules and gun laws and pretty much anything else the Arizona Legislature doesn’t like.
Who elected those clowns, you ask?
The answer is: we did. Really, we did.
Which is why it’s time to consider changing the way we elect our leaders in this state.
Fortunately, we may get the chance. Again, that is.
Plans are afoot to bring back a new and improved version of the top-two primary initiative — the one trounced by voters in 2012 with a little help from, well, we never did find out where all that dark money came from to torpedo the proposal.
Although Proposition 121 died, the impetus behind it remains.
It’s fascinating how Roberts rattles off a list of bad legislation while acting like the legislature as a whole was responsible for it. In reality, all of it came from the Republicans. The problem is the Republican majority and the obvious answer is to change that but the establishment types here won’t admit it. Sure, they will name certain, obvious names like Carl Seel or John Kavanagh but they are incapable of acknowledging that the bad bills pass because all or most of the Republicans in the legislature vote for them. Instead, they flail about desperately for a solution that involves “moderate” Republicans somehow seizing the reins of power from the “kooks” and ushering in an era where Republican policies still prevail but they’re more polite about it. Also, somehow these better-behaved Republicans will have an epiphany and start fully funding the schools and infrastructure again, like they did back in the 60s and 70s.
The Top Two Primary, as I’ve mentioned here before, is just such a harebrained solution. Apparently they don’t plan to put it on the ballot here in 2014 but Paul Johnson intends to blackmail midterm candidates into supporting it for 2016.
Johnson says his group will be asking candidates in this fall’s elections where they stand on a top-two primary and passing that along to independent voters.
Independent voters, meaning out of every three voters in Arizona.
Here’s how that will most likely play out: Republican candidates will laugh right in Johnson’s face. With few exceptions, they don’t care about independent voters. So the target is obviously Democrats, some of whom are in competitive districts and do need independent votes. They might be convinced to endorse a primary system that can only “work” by obliterating the Democrats in Arizona for generations.
This proposed stunt by Johnson may turn out to be a waste of time and money but it’s clear that his gang is not giving up in their quest to siphon resources and labor from Democrats and liberal activists in order to remake the Arizona GOP. The Top Two people claim to be looking out for independent voters but if they consider such voters to be the most important ones, and believe that independents are a silent plurality that agrees with them, then why don’t they run pro-business independent candidates and recruit an army of enthusiastic centrist volunteers to get out the vote for them? Because, yeah, that would be pretty difficult, wouldn’t it? Thus their hope that they can conscript Democrats into helping to elect less obstreperous Republicans. I mean, don’t you, liberal activist, want to spend hours trudging through suburban neighborhoods in the dead of August in Arizona getting the vote out for some “nice” Republican anti-choicer with an A rating from the NRA? Sure you do.
Another way in which Arizona Democrats are being pressured to help save the Republicans is by the demand that they stand down and let some “nice” Republican glide into a seat that could be won by a Democrat. Back in 2012 Laurie Roberts and Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times were gunning to get Republican Jerry Lewis elected to the Senate in LD26. Lewis had defeated Russell Pearce in the famous recall election in 2011 but had been redistricted into a Democratic-leaning district which included Tempe. Roberts and Lemons were very peeved that Ed Ableser not only had the audacity to run for (and win) that Senate seat, but that he was (shockingly) contrasting his own liberal voting record and positions against Lewis’ conservative ones. The nerve!
This year a similar thing is happening in LD9, a competitive district in the Tucson area. Rep. Ethan Orr is the “moderate” Republican currently representing that district and, you guessed it, a local columnist is smitten with him. Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star is perplexed that a Democrat is *gasp* challenging Orr for his seat. The Democrat happens to be the surgeon who saved Gabby Giffords life and is running on a solid progressive platform with an emphasis on health care. What a terrible person! Steller also thinks that Democrats are being big old unfair meaniebutts to Orr by pointing out that Orr frequently votes for bad things like voter suppression and that he signed the Center for Arizona Policy’s anti-Roe v Wade pledge. Steller wants Democrats to ignore those things and focus on the few times Orr didn’t vote like a total dick, as in for the Medicaid expansion. When challenged on his Facebook page for his defense of Orr and characterization of him as a “moderate”, Steller sniffed:
Hey, it’s fine, Dems. Put up Randall Friese, hope he turns into a future congressional candidate. Just don’t expect the Tucson who knows Ethan Orr to suddenly be shocked that he votes Republican some of the time. He’s a Republican!
He votes Republican most of the time and Randall Friese and his supporters are going to inform the voters in that Democratic-leaning district of the many times that Republican Ethan Orr has voted Republican. And that he’s anti-choice and the NRA loves him and he loves to suppress voters. Ethan Orr is not going to be handed a reelection. Boo hoo. Orr and his supporters are going to have to put on their comfy shoes and knock on doors and make the case for his reelection. Newsflash: Democrats are not required to sacrifice themselves to accommodate anyone’s pathetic Stockholm Syndrome-ish yearning for “nice” Republicans. But Tim can take heart in the considerable war chest of lobbyist money that Orr has. (By the way, if you want to contribute to Dr. Friese’s campaign, you can do it here.)
Seriously, centrists/moderates/independents, or whatever those of you who disdain partisans want to call yourselves: If you want a bipartisan kumbaya utopia in Arizona, get off your lazy backsides and make it happen yourselves. Stop expecting Democrats to do it for you while you sit behind your keyboard and whine. Sheesh.
Posted by: Donna
Commenter “Robert” alerted me to an “in-depth analysis” of Friday’s court decision dismissing the anti-Medicaid expansion lawsuit by Arizona’s Own Espresso Pundit. EP warns liberals like myself not to be too sanguine about the judge’s ruling that the plaintiffs didn’t have standing.
Be Carefull(sic) What you Wish For….
…The lefty blogs are gloating that a group of Conservative Legislators has been thrown out of court for lack of standing, but think about it for a second. The ruling says that a minority of the legislature can not petition the courts if the minority’s rights are violated. The Republicans have held the Arizona House of Representatives since 1968…do Democrats really want the courts to say that it takes an affirmative vote of both the House and Senate in order to challenge a legislative action? Don’t you guys understand that if this ruling stands, the majority can do anything that it wants and you will have no recourse?
The court will overturn the ruling….and you had better hope that it does.
You know, as thrilling as I find the prospect of Ruben Gallego and Katie Hobbs suing over their rights as minority legislators being violated every time the GOP majority passed some terrible law, there really do need to be stricter criteria than “I don’t like it! Wah!” to determine the standing of legislators in such actions. The judge determined that the legislative plaintiffs lacked standing not just because the whole body didn’t authorize the suit, but also because the members couldn’t cite a specific injury to themselves.
The judge also rejected their claim that the expansion being decided without a supermajority gave them standing. The plaintiffs are planning to continue to be litigious nuisances with that argument and, speaking as a card-carrying lefty, I hope they lose. Prop 108 (the 1992 ballot initiative requiring a 2/3 majority vote in the Legislature to raise revenues) was a boneheaded idea that has devastated the state’s ability to meet it’s own needs. Quite frankly, I’m fine with a simple majority for everything.