School Boards: Getting a Grip on Runaway Meetings
Deer Valley Unified School District’s last governing board meeting marked a notable departure from past drama. A leadership overhaul saw newly-elected President Ann Ordway (email) and VP Paul Carver (email) taking the wheel, ousting evangelical extremists from their influential positions.
Ordway shifted seating to create a more positive atmosphere, moving two extremist members further away from Superintendent Finch. Finch formerly sat next to the pair as he bore the brunt of their political attacks on district administration.
Public comments were moved to the end of the meeting, addressing the disruptive behavior of extremists who have been using the mic to talk about unrelated politics and conspiracy theories.
Peoria Unified School District — which has inexplicably elected novice member Rebecca Proudfit as president— stood in sharp contrast to DVUSD during their last meeting. Public comments (held at the midpoint) included:
Constituents can contact members here to call for PUSD to join Deer Valley, Paradise Valley, and other districts in moving public comments to the back of the meeting, or doing away with them altogether.
AZ bill seeks to unconstitutionally outlaw satanic displays
State Senator Jake Hoffman’s SB1279 would ban all satanic displays on pubic property. Its broadly-worded language means that implications could possibly extend to citizens who simply wear clothing with satanic elements (i.e. metal band shirts, clothing with devil iconography) as well as placards and handouts by satanic organizations.
The US and Arizona constitutions require the government to treat all religions equally without preference or discrimination. This bill would open Arizona up to wasteful lawsuits in addition to flagrantly discriminating against a religious group.
As the Satanic Temple is an activist organization that advocates for religious freedom, this bill also serves to stifle 1st amendment rights to free speech.
SB1279 will be heard in Senate Government this coming Wednesday at 9am.
What you can do:
1. Attend the hearing at 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007 Senate room SHR 1. Speak and/or wear clothing that identifies your support for separation of religion and government (be prepared to stay late, as controversial bills often get heard last).
2. Contact members of the committee:
3. If you are a Request to Speak user, sign in against the bill on RTS.
As always, you are welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help.
New HHS Rule Replaces Defunct Trump-Era Specter Haunting LGBTQIA+ and Reproductive Healthcare
In 2019, the Trump-Era U.S. Department of Health and Human Services posted a contentious addition to HHS rules which emboldened health care workers to discriminate against those in need, especially based on their race, sex, ethnicity, sexuality, or gender. Moreover, the 2019 rule made it unclear as to where complaints of violations of conscience rights could be filed.
Now the rule has been modified to remove aspects that encouraged discrimination while streamlining the complaint process.
How to Report a Church for Illegal Electioneering
A megachurch in North Phoenix was set to have an illegal GOP rally on January 26th before guest speaker Donald Trump pulled out on short notice, forcing cancellation. Trump cited conflicts with his ongoing legal cases as the reason.
Had this event continued, it would have violated law preventing tax-exempt churches from participating in partisan politics. While the IRS often does not have the resource (or will) to enforce this law, such actions remain illegal. Churches in violation can lose their non-profit status, while whistleblowers could reap a percentage of any back taxes recovered.
You can report violations by following the instructions here.
Volunteers still needed to collect signatures for abortion amendment
Arizona for Abortion Access has launched the petition gathering effort to put abortion on the ballot in 2024. The “Arizona Abortion Access Act” would enshrine the fundamental right to abortion in Arizona’s constitution for generations to come. The amendment is critical to ensure abortion access in the state.
The campaign must collect 383,923 valid signatures from Arizona voters by July 3, 2024 in order to qualify on the ballot. Sign up to be a volunteer here.