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The 2014 Secular Scorecard is Here!

Sine Die

Our legislature ended the legislative session late last week.  We had some very big wins this session, and we are so proud to be your voice at the Arizona legislature.

 

We're developing our "Secular Scorecard" and Session Wrap-Up, which will contain more detailed information on each bill we worked on this session, plus we'll let you know how your legislator scored on Secular issues. 

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Religious Privilege Bill Vetoed!

HB2281: Expanding Religious Privilege

We did not give up on this bill, and neither did you! Over 430 emails were sent to Governor Brewer, asking her to veto the bill using our action alert system.  For every message that was sent, and for every phone call that was made - we thank you.

On Tuesday, April 22, Governor Brewer vetoed HB2281, the bill which would've raised property taxes on hardworking Arizonans in order to give a $2.1M property tax exemption to churches.

 

Governor Brewer: VETO HB2281 - Don't Raise Our Property Taxes!

Click here to send a message to Governor Brewer

The Arizona State Senate and House of Representatives voted to raise your property taxes statewide by $2.1M in order to give a tax handout to religious groups who lease property.  

Groups including the Faithful Word Baptist Church of Tempe, a hate group that has earned "church" status for tax exemptions.

House Bill 2281, currently on the Governor's desk, is not the kind of legislation that will galvanize opposition the way the virulently regressive SB 1062 did.  But make no mistake: HB 2281 is yet another way for far-right lawmakers to curry favor with Cathi Herrod’s Center for Arizona Policy and the narrow, fundamentalist interests it represents. 
 
The CAP-written bill is little more than taxpayer-funded giveaway to religious institutions – groups that are already free from most taxes – in the guise of a banal revision to Arizona’s property tax laws.  If passed, HB 2281 would re-classify properties leased to religious organizations in a way that would cost the state $2.1 million. 
 
That $2.1 million could be used to fund our malnourished public education programs, provide job training in a state that suffers an 8.2 percent unemployment rate, or support frustratingly anemic solar programs in the sunniest state in the US.
 
But none of those options – small investments that will pay huge dividends – would mollify zealots like CAP.  So the legislature will continue bowing to special interests that represent a tiny sliver of the state’s otherwise moderate population.
 

Legislative Update

The religious-right wing of the Arizona legislature like to quietly push bills through that will benefit their agenda in several ways.  What we've found is that when we are LOUD about these bills, sometimes the bill dies.  

Check out what happened this week in what we're calling the "Trinity of Religious Handouts":

 

Handout #1-   HB2281: Expanding Religious Privilege in Tax Law 

 

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HB2565: Statement by Secular Coalition for Arizona

Secular Coalition for Arizona
Testimony of Zenaido Quintana, Chair
Before Senate Judiciary Committee
On HB 2565, Manslaughter Definition Expansion

Thank you. Mr. Chairman and distinguished Committee members
I am Zenaido Quintana, and I am here in the capacity of Chair of the Secular Coalition for Arizona.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak in opposition to HB 2565, the proposed change to Section 13-1103 A.3.

This provision that extends the penalties of manslaughter to individuals who knowingly provide the physical means of committing suicide to another will add an additional cruel burden to those who seek to end the suffering of a loved one facing a tortuous death.

One hallmark of an ethical society is the option to choose a compassionate and dignified end to one’s own suffering.
If your parent, spouse, child or dear friend were in the throes of a painful and agonizing certain death, such as is common with any number of terminal diseases or physical injuries, how many of you could resist their anguished pleas to help them put an end to their torment?  Unfortunately, it isn’t until one is faced with this situation personally that the inhumanity of this provision becomes apparent.

It would be far better to craft legislation that would permit citizens of Arizona to get relief from an agonizing end through their licensed physician than to continue to try to criminalize every avenue for a caring loved one to provide relief.

The abuses that were predicted for permitting terminally ill individuals from receiving help in dying have simply not materialized in the 20 years that people have been permitted to choose this option in Oregon, three other states have wisely chosen to follow Oregon’s lead.

Action Alerts! Please Act Now!

This is the last week where House bills will be heard in Senate committees, and Senate bills heard in House committees.  As such, we have several bills that will be heard this week.  

Thank you for taking action on all of the ACTION ALERTS listed here. 

Using Public Funds to Subsidize Religious Education

Secular Coalition for Arizona Official Request for Gov. Brewer to Veto SB1062

View the original veto request here.

 
The Honorable Janice Brewer
Arizona Governor
Executive Tower
1700 West Washington St
Phoenix, AZ 85007

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Ask Governor Brewer to Veto State-Sanctioned Religious Discrimination

Take Action Today

The Arizona Sate House and Senate passed concurrent bills (HB2153/SB1062) this week that will codify religious discrimination into law.

Discrimination Bill is Moving Quickly - Please Contact Lawmakers TODAY

Please send a message to the 60 members of the Arizona House of Representatives today. HB2153, the discrimination bill, will be heard on the House Floor at 1:30pm. We've made it easy to contact your lawmakers:

http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50691/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=13150

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