By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings
As the days are getting longer, tempers are getting shorter at and around the legislature.
…On Tuesday, State Representative Juan Mendez (D-Tempe) now-famously led
the House in a non-prayer "prayer", honoring the secular humanist
tradition that a growing percentage of Americans embrace. Today, State
Representative Steve Smith (R-Maricopa) insisted that the House do two prayers
this afternoon to make it up to the God he believes in. Apparently his
God is an accountant. Or just simply in need of constant positive
Still, while Smith's actions are completely mockable, they're also relatively civil.
…Today, Governor Jan Brewer carried out her threat to begin vetoing bills until the lege passes Medicaid restoration and a budget. The bills vetoed include SB1178, which created an exemption to all laws and regulations based on expression of religious belief. Other bills vetoed include SB1088, SB1236, SB1323, and SB1445. So far, she has vetoed only "unimportant" bills (those that are needed, but the state will keep functioning even if they aren't enacted) or "were probably going to be vetoed anyway bills because they were pretty likely seriously unconstitutional" (such as SB1178). Her veto letters can be found here.
Still, while a few legislators will be unhappy (and Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Theocracy Policy is probably utterly livid since they *really* wanted SB1178 to become law), this is relatively minor. The rest isn't so minor.
members of the House who are supportive of Medicaid restoration, or at
least not publicly and intractably opposed to it, have been receiving threatening phone calls and emails. The threats are being investigated by House security and the Department of Public Safety.
…Representative Bob Thorpe (R-shoot environmentalists "your guns in the air")
sent an email to his supporters suggesting that they contact
legislators who support Medicaid restoration and "persuade" them to
change their minds. (Same article that's linked in the previous paragraph)
…And the Republican members of the AZ Senate who voted for Medicaid restoration are being threatened
by AJ LaFaro, the chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party. He
used phrases like "their days are numbered". Some might try to
pooh-pooh LaFaro's language as misunderstood, misspoken, or simply
overheated. The problem with that?
This isn't Lafaro's first bay at the moon.
this keeps up, the lege will have to replace "pledge and prayer", its
standard way of opening its floor sessions, with "duck and cover".