Take Immediate Action on HB2507: Religious Interests Should Not Come First

We’ll be brief: the major, dangerous religious exemptions bill we’ve been warning about all session is being heard in on the Senate floor today, moving it just a couple steps away from becoming law. HB2507 would put religious interests above most all others in public life, overriding nondiscrimination ordinances, laws protecting children, and more.

Check out our deep-dive article here for the full scoop.

This bill has been getting bipartisan support, so it’s important our State Senators hear from us, regardless of party. We hope you’ll join us in contacting yours today. Our form letter is still live here if you’d like to use it (again), or you can look up your Senators’ contact info to give them a call here.


Let’s Make a Stand About Public Education!

A quartet of religious right bills undercutting public education is getting close to law… but there is still time to make a difference.

SB1657 and SB1707 would once again expand the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (tuition voucher) program, which sucks money out of public schools and redistributes it to wealthy families and ineffective private (and religious) schools.

HB2495 is an old-fashioned book ban. It prohibits schools from using nearly any book mentioning any facet of human sexuality, even the most trivial. This would have the effect of censoring materials teaching about healthy relationships, human biology, and LGBTQ+ issues. It would also be used to stifle access to meaningful literature of all types—especially that which does not conform to white Christian nationalist viewpoints.

SB1269 is a rushed 101-page “striker” bill reshaping our school funding system so that the poorest schools would actually receive less money, while charters and well-off schools get more.

These bills are all headed for final floor votes. If they pass, the next stop is the Governor’s desk.

Here’s what you can do about them:

  1. Contact your own Representative about these bills. Use our form below or look up their contact info here.
  2. Share this alert with friends!

When it comes to education, the majority of Arizonans are on our side. Let’s make sure they hear from all of us!

Take action!

Second Chance to Go on Record Against Religious Education Bills

Last week, we alerted you to SB1211, creating an administrative burden on teachers to publish all learning materials online—a political bill serving no purpose but to appease the religious conservative education movement.

That bill got held in committee last week, but is making a comeback in House Appropriations this Monday.

The following day, Senate Appropriations will also hear HB2637, forcing the state to divest from sex education curriculum providers that also provide abortions (i.e. Planned Parenthood), and whose learning materials are “explicit” (read: scientifically accurate and LGBTQ-inclusive). This bill, of course, unconstitutionally revolves around Christian anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ doctrine.

This bill was also supposed to be heard last week but got pushed back. So we have a second chance to get our voices on the record for both these bills.

If you can join us, here’s what you can do:

  1. Contact committee members. You can use our form here to get in contact.
  2. If you are a Request to Speak user, sign in against both bills
  3. If you can testify live in committee, contact us if you’d like help knowing how to prepare


Take Action: Religious Privilege on Steroids

The biggest religious privilege bill of all time is being heard again, this time in Senate Government Committee on Monday 3/14.

We’ve described HB2507 as “religious privilege on steroids.” The loopholes created in this amendment to Arizona’s Civil Rights code would:

  • Allow religious organizations to circumvent all anti-discrimination laws
  • Make religious exercise a defense in almost any lawsuit, including prosecutions for crimes like sex trafficking, female genital mutilation, negligent homicide, and pedophile grooming acts like administering drugs and alcohol to children
  • Let religious organizations freely ignore public safety laws regarding public emergencies
  • Violate the State and US Constitutions, resulting in wasteful lawsuits

This bill is supported by SPLC-designated hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, yet has been garnering the support of an increasing amount of support from lawmakers in both parties.

What you can do:

  1. Send another message to lawmakers—this time members of the Senate Government Committee and our own Senators.
  2. Sign in against the bill on Request to Speak (RTS) and testify if you can
  3. Join us for Monday’s Secular Day at the Capitol, where we’ll help people get set up to use RTS and lobby lawmakers on this dangerous bill

By the way, registration is closed to request lunch and lawmaker appointments for Day at the Capitol, but drop-ins are still welcome!


Speak Out: Anti-LGBTQ+ Youth Bills and Abortion Ban in Committee

Four big Christian nationalist bills are scheduled for a second round of committee hearings next week:

  • HB2161 – effectively requiring healthcare providers and schools to “out” LGBTQ+ youth to their parents
  • SB1165 – banning transgender female students from participating in girls’/women’s sports teams
  • SB1138 – banning gender reassignment surgery for all people under 18
  • SB1164 – a ban on all abortions past 15 weeks gestation

Data has shown time and again that when young LGBTQ+ people have their identities affirmed in a positive way, rates of depression, suicide, and other negative outcomes go down. Bills subjecting them to erasure, stigma, and unwanted exposure effectively single them out for harm.

And we probably don’t need to tell you everything that’s wrong with the abortion ban.

The first bill is in Senate Education Committee on Tuesday and the other three are in House Judiciary on Wednesday. Here’s what you can do about them:

  1. Contact committee members with just a few clicks using our action form here.
  2. If you are a Request to Speak user, sign in against these bills before Tuesday.


Demand Wendy Rogers’ Expulsion for Antisemitism

Republican State Senators sent a flashy message to Wendy Rogers by censuring her over remarks at a white nationalist conference, where she praised a Holocaust denier, called for the execution of political opponents, and led a chant praising Putin.

But the vote is pure theatre. Rogers still sits on committees and is now even fundraising off her censure, with fresh support from Governor Ducey.

This censure didn’t even mention Rogers by name, and completely ignored her anti-semitic bigotry.

Since Friday, Rogers has tweeted several times about “globalists”—a dog whistle for Jews and George Soros, the Jewish billionaire at the center of right-wing conspiracy theories. In one, she called Ukraine’s Jewish president a “globalist puppet for Soros and the Clintons.”

“I stand with the Christians worldwide not the global bankers who are shoving godlessness and degeneracy in our face,” she tweeted Friday.

A formal censure for all this is a meaningless slap on the wrist. 

It’s time to send a real message to white supremacists. Arizonans should demand a formal vote to remove Rogers from office.

Please join us in contacting Senate President Karen Fann (R-1) today and demanding Roger’s immediate explusion. 

Call President Fann: (602) 926-5874

Email: kfann@azleg.gov

In Solidarity,

HB2507 Places Religious Organizations Above the Law in All Areas of Life

The biggest, most dangerous religious privilege bill of all time just passed the House and moved to the Senate.
Under HB2507, people who have been harmed by a religious organization or business are prohibited from suing or seeking prosecution for a huge array of laws, with exceptions carved out for only a select few heinous crimes. Under it, religious organizations would be permitted to freely discriminate against whomever they likeand religious practice could be used to defend in court against charges of crimes such as unlawful imprisonment, sex trafficking, fraudulent schemes, and child abuse.
This bill passed with support of all House Republicans, plus Democratic Representatives Chavez (D-29), Diego Rodriguez (D-27), Alma Hernandez (D-3), Espinoza (D-19), Meza (D-30), and Sierra (D-19).
Secular AZ attorney Beth Houck has a detailed analysis here, and we’ve revised our previously-issued action form here so that messages now go to the Senate. When you have a moment, read up, spread the message, and contact your State Senator regardless of party affiliation.


Oppose Bills that Push Religious Dogma, Take Away Choice & Punish Health Care Providers

The Legislature is hearing three bills this week designed to push religious dogma, control women, and punish health care providers.

HB2637 and SB1044 would force the state to divest from and cease doing business with any company that provides abortion or sex education materials—or any company that donates toward these causes.

This would not only hurt providers of reproductive health, but also hurt schools that rely on organizations like Planned Parenthood for scientifically-accurate, inclusive curricula about sex and relationships.

HB2811 would make it a class 3 felony to make, sell, or help someone obtain an abortion pill. This would have severe impacts, especially on women in poor or rural areas where access to safe conventional abortion is already scarce.

We’ve put together a form for you below where you can quickly send committee members a piece of your mind about these bills. I hope you’ll join us in doing so.


Oppose Coercion and “Separate But Equal” in Schools

AZ’s House Education Committee will hear two bills creating an atmosphere of coercion and discrimination in schools:

HB2707 unconstitutionally requires teachers to lead the Pledge of Allegiance and two-minutes of “silent reflection” (i.e. prayer time) in classrooms.

HB2314 creates a discriminatory “separate-but-equal” system for gendered school bathrooms and other accommodations. It also opens non-cisgender students up to unwanted attention and embarrassment by forcing them to make written requests to use facilities matching their gender identity.

Bonds of trust between parents, kids, and their teachers are key to educational success. Kids need to feel like they can trust the adults in their lives to have their best interests in mind—not to foster atmospheres of religious indoctrination or discrimination.

Here’s what you can do right now about these bills:

  1. Use our action alert form to read more and contact committee members
  2. If you are a Request to Speak user, sign in against these bills before Tuesday morning.
  3. RSVP for Secular Day at the Capitol where we will rally and lobby with lawmakers against bills like these



Have more time for action?

The parade of anti-democracy bills and other rights violations impacting us all continues. If you’re ready to really dig in, click here for the complete list of bill numbers you can sign in against through Request to Speak or call committee members about this week.

Thank you so much for your commitment and passion.

-The Secular AZ Team

Oppose the Most Sweeping Religious Exemptions Bill EVER

On Wednesday 2/9, legislators will hear a bill making religious services so “essential” that religious concerns would be placed above all others in public life. Always.

HB2507 is worded in such a way as to disguise itself as a bill about public emergencies, but it’s secretly an amendment to Arizona’s Civil Rights Act that would apply at all times.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how it works:

  • Adds to Civil Rights code language forbidding the state and local governments from “discriminating” against religion
  • Defines “discrimination” as “any direct or indirect act or practice that adversely affects a religious organization.”
  • Defines “religious organization” not just as a church, but also corporations and clubs.
  • Requires the state to demonstrate “a compelling interest” just to enforce neutral health or safety acts, and administer the “least restrictive” corrections.

What this boils down to is that if any group claiming to be religious—from major hospitals to adoption agencies to the KKK—doesn’t like a restriction, they can shrug it off.

Religious privileges would trump all non-discrimination ordinances.

Health codes and child protection laws would become harder to enforce with softer penalties for religious groups.

And groups could ignore any emergency restriction they don’t like, including but not limited to mask and vaccine mandates, pandemic closures… etc,. etc.

So here’s what you can do about it:

  1. Contact members of the House Judiciary Committee before Wednesday at 9am. Use our automatic emailer here  (or see their phone numbers in this article).
  2. If you’re a Request to Speak user, sign in against this bill. (Be patient—the RTS system is moving very slowly!)

Oppose Taxpayer-Funded Giveaways to Private Schools

We’re continuing to watch several dozen bills of interest moving through the Legislature. The ones to speak out about this weekend are a slate of education attacks headed for committee on Tuesday.
School voucher expansions SB1131, SB1657, and SB1707 yet again expand the use of the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, which suck money out of public education and redistribute it to private and religious schools via tuition vouchers.

The bills are new but the argument against them is still the same. Funding religious schools with public dollars is unconstitutional. And funding private schools with tax dollars is an ineffective rip-off that mainly benefits education privateers.

We’ve put together an action form here. You can use it to contact committee members in as quick as a minute.


Bills in Committee Feb 7-8

We’re continuing to watch several dozen bills of interest moving through Legislative committees. Here’s the full list of what’s on our radar next week:

In House Health & Human Services: Monday, 2/7/22:

  • HB2086: schools cannot require COVID or Human Papillomavirus vaccines


Committee members:

Kelli Butler (D) – (602) 926-5156 / kbutler@azleg.gov

Joseph Chaplik (R) – (602) 926-3436 / jchaplik@azleg.gov

Alma Hernandez (D) – (602) 926-3136 / ahernandez@azleg.gov

Steve Kaiser (R) – (602) 926-3314 / skaiser@azleg.gov

Joanne Osborne (R) – (602) 926-3181 / josborn@azleg.gov

Beverly Pingerelli (R) – (602) 926-3396 / bpingerelli@azleg.gov

Pam P. Hannley (D) – (602) 926-4848 / ppowershannley@azleg.gov

Amish Shah (D) – (602) 926-3280 / ashah@azleg.gov

Justin Wilmeth (R) – (602) 926-5044 / jwilmeth@azleg.gov


In Senate Government: Monday, 2/7/22:

  • SB1058: banning drive-up voting; ballot boxes
  • SB1298: mask mandate prohibition
  • SB1357: restrictions on voting machines
  • SB1358: mandating that ballots must be counted at precincts instead of counties (facilitating actual election fraud)
  • SB1359: all election workers must have unique usernames and passwords (so that individuals can be targeted more easily with election fraud accusations)
  • SB1360: expanding access to polls granted to “election observers” (facilitating voter intimidation)
  • SB1362: requiring same-day tabulation; more poll workers/electors
  • SB1380: monthly scrubbing of voter rolls
  • SB1404: restrictions on early voting (would particularly impact people with disabilities)
  • SB1457: restrictions on voting machines
  • SB1474: all elections must be in person
  • SB1477: monthly update of felony convictions records (so as to restrict election access)


Committee members:

Sonny Borrelli (R) – (602) 926-5051 / sborelli@azleg.gov

Sally Ann Gonzales (D) – (602) 926-3278 / sgonzales@azleg.gov

Theresa Hatathlie (D) – (602) 926-5160 / thatathlie@azleg.gov

Warren Petersen (R) – (602) 926-4136 / wpetersen@azleg.gov

Martin Quezada (D) – (602) 926-5911 / mquezada@azleg.gov

Wendy Rogers (R) – (602) 926-3042 / wrogers@azleg.gov

Kelly Townsend (R) – (602) 926-4467 / ktownsend@azleg.gov


In Senate Education Tuesday, 2/8/22: 

  • SB1131, SB1657, & SB1707: expansions to the state’s school voucher program.
  • SB1412: lowering standards for who can be hired as a substitute teacher
  • SB1519: opening the door for defunding special education

Committee members:

Nancy Barto (R) – (602) 926-5766 / nbarto@azleg.gov

Paul Boyer (R) – (602) 926-4173 / pboyer@azleg.gov

Sally Ann Gonzales (D) – (602) 926-3278 / sgonzales@azleg.gov

Rick Gray (R) – (602) 926-5413 / rgray@azleg.gov

Theresa Hatathlie (D) – (602) 926-5160 / thatathlie@azleg.gov

Christine Marsh (D) – (602) 926-3184 / cmarsh@azleg.gov

Tyler Pace (R) – (602) 926-5760 / tpace@azleg.gov

Thomas Shope (R) – (602) 926-3012 / tshope@azleg.gov


What you can do:

  1. Contact the committee members listed above before the day of the hearing
  2. If you are a Request to Speak user, sign in against the above bills. (Note: RTS is moving very slowly, so prepared to be patient.)


We will provide an additional update at the beginning next week for bills being heard Wednesday and beyond.


In Solidarity,

-The Secular AZ Team