Monday, March 25, 2013

Kavanagh changes his bathroom bill; scraps jail for transgender people in favor of protection for bigots

Wow.  It seems that Rep. John Kavanagh is mellowing with age.

Last week, he wanted transgendered people to go to jail for daring to go to the bathroom.  This week, he just wants to protect people who discriminate against the transgendered.

He has amended the agenda for this week's meeting of the House Appropriations Committee to include a proposed striker to SB1045 -

Strike everything after the enacting clause and insert:
"Section 1.  Title 41, chapter 9, article 3, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 41-1444, to read:
START_STATUTE41-1444.  Privacy; public place; public accommodation; state preemption; definitions
A.  The regulation of access to privacy areas in places of public accommodation based on gender identity or expression is of statewide concern and is not subject to further regulation by a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state.
B.  A county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state shall not enact or enforce an ordinance or policy that requires a person or business to regulate access to privacy areas based on gender identity or expression.
C.  No person or business shall be civilly or criminally liable for denying access to privacy areas based on gender identity or expression.
D.  This section does not prohibit a person or business from allowing access to privacy areas based on gender identity or expression.
E.  Any ordinance or policy that relates to access to privacy areas based on gender identity or expression that is inconsistent with this section is void and of no force or effect.
F.  For the purposes of this section:
1.  "gender identity or expression" means either:
(a)  An individual's self‑identification as male, female or something in between and includes an individual's appearance, mannerisms or other characteristics only insofar as they relate to gender with or without regard to the individual's designated sex at birth.
(b)  Any other substantially similar self‑identification of gender.
2.  "Privacy areas" means areas in places of public accommodation where access is restricted based on sex, including a public restroom, bathroom, shower, bath, dressing room or locker room.
Sec. 2.  Emergency
This act is an emergency measure that is necessary to preserve the public peace, health or safety and is operative immediately as provided by law."

Oh yeah - in a particularly nasty touch, Kavanagh apparently thinks that bigots are in such dire need of protection from the transgendered (and from Phoenix' anti-discrimination ordinance, which is really what this is all about) that it is an emergency situation.

For the emergency clause to go into effect, however, it will take a 2/3 vote of each chamber of the legislature. 

Since I'm pretty sure that every D in each chamber will vote against this, that won't happen.  On the other hand, I'm also pretty sure that every R at the lege will support the legalization of hatred, so the bill will pass, and Governor Jan Brewer will probably sign it.

It just won't go into force until 90 days after the end of the legislative session.  The lag time is meant to allow time for legal challenges, and that may be Kavanagh's rationale - he's fully aware that if enacted, his proposal will face many legal challenges.

The "emergency" situation that the clause may be intended to address is a concern that the bill could be stayed or overturned before it goes into effect, and that could put a crimp in the amount of adulation (and campaign contributions) he receives from the supporters of the Center for Arizona Theocracy Policy.

Note:  In case you didn't already figure it out, the "mellowing with age" crack at the beginning of the post was sarcasm.

Dennis Welch of KTVK (channel 3) has less opinionated coverage here.

Mary Jo Pitzl of the Arizona Republic has a story here on how Kavanagh's attempt to regulate bathroom use has apparently inspired a recall effort against him.

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