2014/08/01

Arizona governor’s office worked on ‘religious liberty’ bill language before veto

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer speaks after signing an expansion of the state's Medicaid program into law, at the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix June 17, 2013. Brewer signed a law on Monday to expand Medicaid, embracing a key part of Democratic President B

The extent to which Arizona governor Jan Brewer’s office worked with legislators to tweak the language of “religious liberty” bill SB 1062 shows, according to Arizona governor Jan Brewer’s office, nothing at all. To the rest of us it’s another reminder of just how close Arizona’s newest legislative fiasco came to becoming a state reality.

Documents obtained by Capitol Media Services show gubernatorial counsel Joe Sciarrotta and adviser Michael Hunter met with staffers from the Center for Arizona Policy as early as January about the legislation. The documents, mainly e-mail exchanges before and after meetings, show the alterations made in the legislation at the behest of the Brewer advisers. [...]

“But the intent of the meetings, the purpose of the meetings, was to thoroughly vet the language, address their concerns, and make changes in the language pursuant to their concerns,” [CAP President Cathi Herrod] said. She said her organization addressed every concern raised by Hunter and Sciarrotta with the idea that this year’s version would not meet the same fate as a similar bill Brewer vetoed last year.

But it did, and it did not because of any great concerns about the obvious problems with the law but because the Arizona business community, among many others, had a fit over the obvious public relations fiasco of passing a state pro-discrimination law no matter how many times you write “Jesus” at the top of the thing.

When the bill finally got to her desk Brewer took a surprisingly long time to decide on the veto, despite other Republican governors and the state’s two senators being very public in their opinions that she should do just that. Even with all the negative publicity, threats of boycotts and so on, it was still, apparently, a tough call.

That right there is a good reminder of just how screwed up the Arizona Republican Party has gotten. It also suggests we probably haven’t seen the last of these bills, and that there apparently would be some pro-discrimination bill along these lines that Jan Brewer would indeed agree to sign, boycotts or no boycotts.

Continue reading this post here at DailyKOS 


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