Monday, February 14, 2011

Birther bill rebuffed; bill to turn hospitals into immigration checkpoints held

Monday wasn't a "good day" at the legislature (too many bad bills *did* pass committee), but it could have been far, far worse.

On the negative side - Center For Arizona Theocracy Policy bills targeting the judiciary passed committee (SB1472, SB1482, SCR1047), as did SB1466, a Lester Pearce-pushed bill to give a JP control over prosecutions in his/her courtroom (he's Russell Pearce's brother and a Maricopa County Justice of the Peace).  Also passed were SB1467 (barring educational institutions from enacting or enforcing a policy against carrying a concealed weapon on campus) and SB1469 (expanding the justifications for using deadly force).  Also passed:  SB1471, SB1473, and SB1412, changes to election laws that would serve to suppress the vote (especially 1412).

And that was all before I left the meeting, after more than three hours.  There were more bad bills on the agenda.

However, on the positive side -

SB1526, Sen. Ron Gould's "birther" bill, was defeated on a 3 - 5 vote when three Republicans on the committee expressed strong reservations with the bill, especially with clauses in the bill regarding ballot eligibility for presidential candidates that are far more stringent than those in the U.S. Constitution.

SB1481, Gould's plan to expand the size of the Arizona Supreme Court to seven justices (from the current five) failed when Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch testified that she was surprised by the bill, not least because no one had spoken to her about the scheme.

SB1405, the plan to turn hospitals into immigration checkpoints, was held/pulled when committee chair Gould realized that the 75+ members of the public present in the hearing room were there to oppose the bill, and like the anti-14th Amendment bills last week, he may not have had the votes to pass a bill that is this extreme.

Lastly, the two anti-14th Amendment bills, SB1308 and SB1309, have been reassigned to the Appropriations Committee and were scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, but that agenda was revised Monday, pulling the two bills.

Not a perfect day, not by a long shot, but for the first time in a while, it was only a "bad" day, not a "shameful" one.

Little victories...

Pics from the day -

Chief Justice Berch at the Judiciary Committee meeting

Sen. Steve Gallardo at the SB1405 press conference

Arizona "Copper Chopper" in honor of Statehood Day

Dr. George Pauk at the formal press conference on SB1405, speaking on behalf of the Phoenix Urban Health Collective

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Sen. Ron Gould speaking before the Judiciary Committee meeting

Dr. George Pauk, speaking at an impromptu press conference outside the legislature on the effects of SB1405

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