Here’s a roundup of the top secular issue bills headed for committee in the Arizona state legislature this week, thanks to Civic Engagement Beyond Voting (CEBV) as part of their newsletter.
Users of Arizona’s Request to Speak (RTS) system can sign in to publicly register their opinions on these bills before the dates listed.
CEBV can also help you get started using RTS here.
- SB1146, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-15), would require Arizona’s retirement system to divest from companies that “promote, facilitate or advocate for” abortions for minors, or for “the inclusion of, or the referral of students to, sexually explicit material.” This ill-considered blanket mandate would leave half a million teachers, municipal workers and other government employees with retirement accounts that are unable to invest in most major companies, and creates a minefield for investors and pension fund managers. Hoffman introduced the same bill last year. Scheduled for Senate Finance Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.
- SB1366, sponsored by Wendy Rogers (R-7), is subject to a striker that mandates medical personnel to inform women seeking abortions that health benefits may be available to her if she chooses to stay pregnant, that the father of the unborn child is required to provide child support, and that assistance and adoption services are available. They must offer her a list of alternatives to abortion, and tell her that “coercing a woman to undergo an abortion is unlawful.” Bills like this serve no medical purpose, but instead are “fetal personhood” Trojan horses that seek to dissuade people from exercising bodily autonomy. Scheduled for Senate Health & Human Services Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE.
- SB1600, sponsored by Janae Shamp (R-29), would broaden a controversial anti-abortion bill from 2017 that requires clinics, hospitals and physicians to “care for a baby delivered alive.” Physicians and parents opposed the 2017 bill for forcing unnecessary procedures on babies with no chance of survival instead of allowing these babies to die in the arms of their parents. The bill removes compromise language inserted to help the bill pass and inserts language related to the concept of fetal personhood. Any violation would be a felony and result in the loss of the medical professional’s license. Scheduled for Senate Health & Human Services Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE.
- SCR1025, sponsored by Justine Wadsack (R-17), would ask voters to insert the “parents bill of rights” into the state Constitution. This concept, pushed by the extremist Center for Arizona Policy, is often wielded as a far-right political bludgeon against schools, health care organizations and children’s advocacy groups. The measure could give extra weight to frivolous lawsuits, and would be very hard to get rid of once it was entrenched in the Constitution. Scheduled for Senate Health & Human Services Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE.
- HB2533, sponsored by John Gillette (R-30), is a rehash of a bill from last year that would require public schools to post a list of every single item teachers use or discuss with students. The burden this places on already overworked, underpaid Arizona teachers cannot be overstated. Private schools and microschools are exempt. Backed by the Goldwater Institute, and similar to legislation proposed in at least 17 other states. Scheduled for House Education Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE.
- HB2786, sponsored by Justin Heap (R-10), would require school boards to notify parents of recommended or funded "training opportunities" for teachers or school administrators. The new Horne administration believes that social-emotional learning, diversity and equity are Trojan horses for "critical race theory," and has canceled planned teacher presentations on these and other "non-academic" subjects, even though they deeply affect kids' lives and ability to learn. This bill is deeply disappointing; students are not political footballs. Scheduled for House Education Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE.
- SB1030, sponsored by Anthony Kern (R-27), would mandate that counties change their zoning laws to define business that hold “drag shows” as adult-oriented, and would also ban the beloved Sunday drag brunch. The goal seems to be to mislead the public, intimidate LGBTQ people by perpetuating false, offensive narratives, and marginalize or force out of business dozens of restaurants and bookstores statewide. An amendment would strike the word “drag” from the bill Scheduled for Senate Government Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.
- SB1040, sponsored by John Kavanagh (R-3), would ban trans kids from using the school bathrooms, changing facilities and “sleeping quarters” that align with their gender identities. It would create a situation where trans kids couldn’t use any facilities at all without undue scrutiny of their bodies, calling that a "reasonable accommodation." Anyone who “encounters” a trans person in a bathroom could file suit against public schools. A copy of a bill introduced in South Dakota. A federal court found that these policies violate the US Constitution and Title IX, so in addition to being monstrously cruel, this would open Arizona to a host of lawsuits at taxpayer expense. Kavanagh also introduced the bill last year, but it did not receive a hearing. Scheduled for Senate Education Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.
- SB1137, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-15), is a rehash of last year’s plan to strip the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors of their power by splitting up the county into four smaller counties. The proposal is artfully gerrymandered, packing Democrats into one county and leaving Republicans to control the other three. This would be a vast expansion of government, creating more than 160 new departments based on nothing more than frustration that county officials refuse to embrace baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. Scheduled for Senate Government Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.
- SB1145, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-15), would exempt students at Arizona’s three in-state universities from student activity fees if the student says the payment would “violate their conscience” or if the student meets any of a list of reasons for exemption, including objecting on religious or moral grounds, financial hardship, and part-time status. Universities already give fee waivers for financial hardship; this is intended to enshrine culture wars into statute. Scheduled for Senate Education Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.
- SB1500, sponsored by Frank Carroll (R-28), would require state retirement funds to evaluate their investments solely based on finances. Similar to other bills this session that crusade against “pro-abortion, pro-sex-ed” banks. This culture war against an imaginary problem could create real consequences for those who depend on Arizona’s retirement system. An ill-considered blanket mandate such as this could leave half a million teachers, municipal workers and other government employees with retirement accounts that are unable to invest in most major companies, and may create a minefield for investors and pension fund managers. Scheduled for Senate Government Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.
- SB1675, sponsored by Mitzi Epstein (D-12), would require public district and charter schools that serve students in grades 6-12 to make menstrual hygiene products available free of charge in all women's and gender-neutral restrooms in the school. Appropriates $1 million. For middle and high school girls, these products are a need, and always in short supply. Many teachers pay for them out of their own pockets. A step toward providing a healthy, dependable environment that supports student learning. Scheduled for Senate Education Committee, Wednesday. SUPPORT.
- SB1694, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-15), would ban the state, including public schools, from requiring "diversity, equity, and inclusion programs" for its employees, spending public funds on such programs, or setting policies to influence the composition of its workforce on the basis of race, sex, or color. Any employee required to participate would be authorized to sue. Diversity, equity and inclusion is a philosophy designed to harness the differences, talents and unique qualities of all individuals. When did living in a country that looks like the world, and intentionally making space for all different kinds of people, become a bad thing? Scheduled for Senate Government Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.
- SB1696, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-15), would double down on a bill passed last year by banning district and charter schools from exposing minors to "sexually explicit materials." The incredibly broad description includes text, audio and video that references sexual contact, sexual excitement, and even physical contact with a person's clothed or unclothed buttocks. This would ban many classic works of literature, from Shakespeare to Maya Angelou. Violations would be a class 5 felony. Scheduled for Senate Government Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.
- SB1700, sponsored by Justine Wadsack (R-17), would double down on last year's measures to ban many books from schools and institute public review of such books. Any parent would be allowed to ask a school to remove a book, the Department of Education would be required to maintain a list of banned books, and public schools would have to publish a list for 4 months before giving books to students. The bill takes aim at "gender fluidity" and "gender pronouns," and would write an inaccurate, weaponized definition of "grooming" into statute. Attempts to ban books in schools are on the rise nationwide, with a focus on local school boards. This horrifying bill not only harms the fight against child sexual abuse, but our children's ability to learn. Many of the targeted books reflect realities kids across Arizona are living; choosing to pull reality out of libraries won't create good citizens. Scheduled for Senate Education Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.
- HB2014, sponsored by David Livingston (R-28), would quadruple over 3 years the amount Arizona spends on a specific type of STO (School Tuition Organization) voucher. STO vouchers, which topped $1 billion back in 2017, are paid for by dollar-for-dollar tax credits that siphon funds from the state coffers that fund public schools. Arizona capped STO voucher growth in 2019 due to bipartisan agreement that the exponential increases were harmful. While similar to a bill from 2 years ago, this bill also blurs the lines between ESA and STO voucher funding. Arizona’s ESA voucher program ballooned by 400% this year, with the vast majority of funding going to families who have never sent their children to public school. Scheduled for House Ways & Means Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.
- SB1323, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-15), would make it a felony for any public school employee (but not an employee at an ESA-funded private school) to violate last year’s prohibition on referring students to or using any “sexually explicit” material. This has already essentially frozen the teaching of books like “The Color Purple,” “The Canterbury Tales” and “Atlas Shrugged,” preventing Arizona's students from getting a well-rounded education. State law already makes it a felony to show pornography to children. Scheduled for Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday. OPPOSE.
- SB1698, sponsored by Justine Wadsack (R-17), adds drag shows to a state law about "dangerous crimes against children." The bill equates a drag show with an “adult-oriented performance” and makes it a crime on par with bestiality, child sex trafficking, second-degree murder, and sexual assault. A viewing of “Mulan” or “Hairspray” could result in a class 4 felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and a requirement that the violator register as a sex offender. One columnist calls the bill “flat-out bonkers.” Scheduled for Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday. OPPOSE.
Ask for a Hearing
- HB2351, sponsored by Patricia Contreras (D-12), would ban health care professionals from using the abusive, widely discredited practice of LGBT “conversion therapy” on minors. These methods can include electric shocks, induced vomiting, or elastic bands snapped against the skin to create negative associations with same-sex attraction; hypnosis; masculinity workshops; and spiritual counseling. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, and other national organizations oppose this “therapy” as destructive and unprofessional. You won’t be able to sign in on RTS about this bill until it gets a hearing. Contact House Health Chair Steve Montenegro (R-29) (email@example.com / 602-926-3635) and House Judiciary Chair Quang Nguyen (R-1) (firstname.lastname@example.org / 602-926-3258) to ask that the bill be placed on an agenda. SUPPORT