A weekly legislative update from the Arizona Senate Democratic Caucus
Volume 1, Issue 13 Monday, April 15, 2019
"No-promo-homo" is no more!
Sometimes the Legislature gets it right and last Thursday was one of those times when we successfully repealed Arizona's discriminatory "no-promo-homo" law, which banned health educators from providing information on homosexuality and safe sex methods. This law was an archaic and narrow-minded hold-over from 1991 when there was still a lot unknown about HIV and AIDS. It scapegoated the LGBTQ community, stigmatized Arizona's LGBTQ students and forced educators to not teach medically accurate information.
The repeal came as a result of a lawsuit filed by Equality Arizona and when Arizona's Attorney General refused to defend the state against the lawsuit, Republicans saw the writing on the wall and finally allowed the repeal.
Finally, you ask? Well, we could have repealed this harmful law a long time ago.
For many, many years Democrats in both chambers have introduced legislation to repeal this law, including this year. But as happens with the vast majority of Democratic bills, they were never granted a hearing by the majority party.
It's not good governing to wait until you face losing a lawsuit to do the right thing.
Watch this week's Canyonside Chat with Senator Martin Quezada, who has introduced legislation to repeal the law for the last four years, explain more behind the law and its repeal:
In this episode, Senator Tony Navarrete interviews Senator Martin Quezada on the repeal of Arizona's "no-promo-homo" law, for which Senator Quezada has been fighting for years.
Watch the press conference on the repeal of Arizona’s no-promo-homo law, with Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, legislators and stakeholders.
Loaded guns on school grounds denied by bipartisan effort
Last Thursday was doubly good for the people of Arizona when a bipartisan effort in the Senate successfully killed a bill that would have allowed loaded guns on school grounds.
HB 2693, sponsored by Republican Representative Warren Peterson, would have allowed loaded guns in vehicles on school grounds, which would make students, educators, parents and all who are on a school campus less safe. It also could have increased insurance costs for our already underfunded schools if loaded guns were allowed in a school zone.
“Bipartisan” bill count
The final tally of Senate bills heard in the Senate:
While Democrats hold 43 percent of seats in the Senate, our bills only account for 7.9 percent of bills heard.
Senate minority leader David Bradley Monday said the attorney general’s opinion, released last week, was the death knell for the proposal. Democrats were concerned if this proposal passed, other minimum wage carve-outs would soon emerge.“It’s pretty rare for the attorney general to pipe in,” Bradley said. “If he went to that length, it’s significant.”
“The students are starting to realize what kind of power and influence they can have in our community. They can make huge changes at whatever levels of government they choose to get involved in. This was an excellent practice for them to actually understand that,” Quezada said.
Not only are there no scandals involving our legislators, but they are busy working across the aisle to get things done. Take Sen. Bowie’s bill to provide suicide prevention training for Arizona educators, or Rep. Epstein’s work in creating her neighbors council. Both aim to help address the serious issue of teen suicide in our area.
During this current 2019 legislative session, ACJC is working with the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence and Sens. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson, and Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, to pass SB 1250. This important bill will close a significant gap in the injunctions against harassment process for victims of sexual assault who, under the current statute, must be victimized more than once before being able to seek relief from the court.
“In a state like Arizona, it doesn’t work,” Sen. Andrea Dalessandro said. “Maybe in a more compact state it would.” As far as administrative cost reductions, the senator pointed out that the national per-pupil average is $1,328. In Arizona, it’s $860. The Democrat said she hopes there are “enough reasonable Republicans in the Senate to vote no on this.”