A grossly expanded version of Rep. John Kavanagh's "Toilet Papers Please" bill sailed through House Judiciary early Thursday morning. Fueled by fear of Phoenix's newly passed Anti-Discrimination Ordinance, the bigots are on a tear and they didn't want to deal with the hundreds of opponents who showed up to oppose Rep. Kavanagh's bill on Wednesday.
This measure, a Strike All Amendment to SB 1178, says that no gov't entity can burden "religious freedom." Then it defines "burden" to include any sort of action that gets in the way of a person's prejudices as mandated by their religion.
At a time when the national GOP is backing away from the theocratic public policy, Arizona's legislators seem determined to dig in their heels to enact some of the most sweeping theocratic policies designed to codify discrimination.
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Text of the bill:
1. "BURDEN" MEANS ANY ACTION THAT DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY CONSTRAINS, INHIBITS, CURTAILS OR DENIES THE EXERCISE OF RELIGION BY ANY PERSON OR COMPELS ANY ACTION CONTRARY TO A PERSON’S EXERCISE OF RELIGION, AND INCLUDES WITHHOLDING BENEFITS, ASSESSING CRIMINAL, CIVIL OR ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTIES OR EXCLUSION FROM GOVERNMENTAL PROGRAMS OR ACCESS TO GOVERNMENTAL FACILITIES.
2. "COMPELLING GOVERNMENTAL INTEREST" MEANS A GOVERNMENTAL INTEREST OF THE HIGHEST MAGNITUDE THAT SHALL NOT OTHERWISE BE ACHIEVED WITHOUT BURDENING THE EXERCISE OF RELIGION.
3. "STATE ACTION" MEANS THE IMPLEMENTATION OR APPLICATION OF ANY LAW, INCLUDING STATE AND LOCAL LAWS, ORDINANCES, RULES, REGULATIONS AND POLICIES, WHETHER STATUTORY OR OTHERWISE, OR OTHER ACTION BY THE GOVERNMENT."