Legislative Update

Secular AZ testified in committee about the below bills last week, each of which sought to advance the interests of Christian nationalism. Here’s what each bill did and what happened:

Bills stalled in committee (which may return later):

  • SB1049 – letting parents sue schools for infractions of the Parents Bill of Rights, which would include circumstances in which teachers contradict a parent’s religion to support LGBTQ+ students. This bill was held, but may return. Our position: oppose.
  • SB1010—would have made school board elections partisan. This bill failed in a tie when Sen Tyler Pace (R) broke party lines to oppose it. Our position: oppose.
  • SB1044—banning the state from contracting with entities that also provide abortion for the purposes of providing sex education. Our position: oppose.

Bills that passed committee:

  • HB2161 –requiring teachers to “out” LGBTQ+ youth to their parents. Our position: oppose.
  • HB2177—new oversight requirements for charter schools. Our position: support.
  • HB2284—would have expanded the use of standardized tests to determine whether children pass or fail their grade. Our position: oppose.
  • HB2495—banning nearly all literature mentioning sex from public schools (with the exception of certain classics). Our position: oppose.
  • HB2043—expanding religious vaccine exemptions. Our position: oppose.
  • HB2237—banning same-day voter registration. Our position: oppose.
  • HB2238—banning the use of ballot drop boxes. Our position: oppose.
  • HB2316—allowing the carrying of concealed guns on college campuses. Our position: oppose.
  • SB1125—banning taxes on guns. Our position: oppose.

Continuing work:

  • The Christian nationalist “Pine Tree” flag is still flying in the State House. It has now been 15 days with no response to our letter to Speaker Bowers.
  • About 70 bills have now been introduced this session by the majority party on “election reform” (read: voter suppression).
  • We have flagged 14 anti-education and anti-democracy bills that would benefit Christian nationalists appearing in committee Monday and Tuesday of next week.

Recommended actions:

  1. If you are a Request to Speak user, sign in against the following anti-education and anti-democracy bills being heard Monday and Tuesday: SB1120; SB1036; SB1211; SB1326; SB1368; SB1374; HB2233; HB2025; HB2277; HB2279; HB2278; HB2290; HB2351; HB2352
  2. Make some noise about the Pine Tree flag: share our latest piece about this Christian nationalist symbol and call House Speaker Rusty Bowers at 602-926-3128 demanding its removal.
  3. Join the email lists for our friends at SOS Arizona (public education advocates); Civic Engagement Beyond Voting (democracy advocates), and AZ Justice Alliance (civil rights). Each maintains a detailed breakdown of all bills in their respective wheelhouse, most of which intersect with the cause of secular government. (Their most recent updates can be found here, here, and here.)

This week, we’ll continue to testify in committee on your behalf and will be working furiously with partners to strategize on major pieces of religious-based legislation coming up. We also will have some updates to share shortly about Secular Day at the Capitol on March 14th.