See the Other Laws Being Pushed by the Force Behind Arizona's SB 1062
By Matthew Hendley
If you've got your undies in a bunch over the possible passage of Senate Bill 1062, then you should see what other bills the organization behind 1062 is pushing.
That's the Christian Right group Center for Arizona Policy. (You may have seen the organization's president Cathi Herrod on CNN recently, doing a horrible job at defending SB 1062 from allegations that it's anti-gay.) Those tuned in to the Legislature are likely well aware of the Center for Arizona Policy's efforts, but here's what else they're working to pass this session:
- HB 2565: Criminalizing assisted suicide
- HB 2284: "Women's Health Protection Act"
- HB 2150, 2036, 2291, and SB 1236: ESA expansion
- HB 2281: Expanding tax exemption for churches
Arizona already has a law against assisted suicide, but this expands the definition of manslaughter to include "offering or providing the physical means" to commit suicide, even when a person is specifically seeking assistance.
This would allow surprise government inspections of abortion clinics, without a warrant. It would also make it a misdemeanor "to help a minor avoid Arizona's parental consent requirements and obtain an abortion," and would mandate specific reports in the case of a "botched abortion." It's unclear where the name "Women's Health Protection Act" comes from.
These bills all expand Arizona's Empowerment Scholarship Account program. The program uses the money that would have gone to a student's public school district, and instead puts into an account parents can use on private-school fees. They expansions that CAP is encouraging would lead to a majority of Arizona students being eligible for ESAs, which could lead to a majority of public-school funds being taken from public schools.
This would exempt churches from paying any property taxes on buildings they rent.
While some or all of these bills wouldn't go anywhere in most states, the Center for Arizona Policy boasts that 123 of its bills have become laws since 1995. Another 28 have been vetoed by governors.
Just last year, nine of its supported bills were signed into law, and three were vetoed -- including this same "religious freedom" bill that the Legislature has passed for a second time.
The Center for Arizona Policy makes it pretty easy for people to track which of its bills are getting close to passage, with a "bill tracker" feature on its website.
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