Legislative Committee passes first non-secular bill of 2015

Today, by a vote of 4-3, the House Education Committee passed HB 2174, a bill which would expand school vouchers to grandchildren.  Please send a "THANK YOU" note to the legislators who voted AGAINST the bill. Click here to use our online "ACTION ALERT" system.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Finchem, who said it was brought to his attention by a national group that promotes "school choice".

Grandparent and public education advocates testified that this bill won't help grandparents raising grandchildren.  These advocates testified that what grandparents need are good public schools.

Your voice at the Capitol, Tory Anderson, gave this testimony:

 "Mr. Chairman and members of the Education Committee,

For the record my name is Tory Anderson, and I am here testifying on behalf of the Secular Coalition for Arizona.  The Secular Coalition for Arizona is the legislative voice of the Arizona nontheisti community.  We are a vibrant community of Arizonans who value secular public policy, which means that we promote legislation which honors the separation of church and state.  Our members include atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, and even members who identify as theists.  It's important to remember that you do not need to be a nontheist to alue and honor the separation of church and state.

Today I stand in opposition to HB 2174, a bill which expands 'Empowerment Scholarship Accounts.' These accounts allow the public funding of religious education.

Public schools accept all children, regardless of disabilities, test scores, religion, or other characteristics.  Private schools can and do discriminate based on income, disability, student or parental sexual orientation, and religious beliefs or lack thereof.

While parents certainly may choose a religious education for their children, no taxpayer should be forced to furnish funds in support of a religion.

The Empowerment program violates a central tenet of our secular government by using taxpayer dollars to fund primarily religious education. 

The Secular Coalition for Arizona takes no position on the use of vouchers for secular private education.  However, we oppose any form of public funding that supports religious institutions or religious training."

Voting for the bill:  Boyer (R), Lawrence (R), Norgaard (R)  and Thorpe (R)
Voting against the bill: Otondo (D), Bolding (D), and Coleman (R)

Please send a "THANK YOU" note to the legislators who voted against the bill. Click here to use our online "ACTION ALERT" system.

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