State budget set to reflect Christian nationalist priorities

Voting resumed at the State Capitol this week after a long deadlock over the state budget.

This was an intense week. The majority party pushed through a budget that was neither discussed with nor vetted with the rest of the Legislature. This included several pieces of contentious Christian nationalist legislation that had previously failed as individual bills.

The bad news

  • The House and Senate approved $1.5 to be sent to the Human Coalition: a corporation that tracks and uses deceptive marketing to push pregnant people into religious limited-service pregnancy centers.
  • An additional $100,000 was also approved to be handed out piecemeal to various other such faux clinics.
  • Both chambers have now approved the anti-LGBTQ sex education bill HB2035, which passed the House on party lines.
  • SB1838 (formerly SB1022) has passed the Senate and will go to the House. This bill adds language to statute defining a fetus as an “unborn child.”
  • Both chambers have approved an amendment to the K-12 budget which prohibits “critical race theory” discussions in classrooms. This bill uses model language introduced in 16 other states to continue the ideologies of white Christian nationalism.
  • Both chambers approved an amendment requiring partisan “Freedom Schools” to write civics education for Arizona students, rather than using the rigorous process required of all other curricula.
  • HB2898 passed the House, with provisions that ban public schools and universities from requiring masks or COVID-19 vaccines.

The cautiously optimistic news

Holdout Representatives Joel John (R-4) and Michelle Udall (R-25) blocked the House majority from passing a big expansion of school vouchers, which send taxpayer money to private and religious schools.

This now puts the House’s version of the budget in opposition to the Senate’s when it comes to the expansion, diminishing its prospects (though not yet fully defeating it).

The good news

The end of session is near. Final votes could happen as soon as next week, closing out a difficult and complex year.

Join our full recap

2021 has seen an unusually high number of issues to follow in Arizona — even for people like us who live and breathe the Legislature.

That’s why we’re preparing a full Legislative recap on July 2nd, 12 PM via Zoom. We’ll fill you in there on our perspective of things happening behind closed doors at the Capitol.

Please join us by RSVPing today, and invite your friends.