Thursday, April 12, 2012

Arizona women & families fall victim to special interests in Senate

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today the Tea Party Senate adopted measures that together constitute what may be the worst attack on Arizona women and hard-working families in state history.

HB2625 – Rush Limbaugh Republicans passed this assault on women’s health led by Cathi Herrod and her ultra-conservative Center for Arizona Policy. The bill as passed would allow any employer, not just religious employers, to deny insurance coverage for contraception. Supporters claim a future amendment would limit the horrific impact of the bill to only certain religious organizations, but there are reasons to be skeptical. For starters, a law is already on the books that exempts religious employers from providing contraception coverage. This puts into question the true motives behind the bill.

Senator Linda Lopez, D-29:
“This is not a religious rights issue, this is a women’s rights issue,” said Sen. Lopez. “The public outcry over this unprecedented attack on women’s rights has been loud and clear across Arizona and throughout the country - from people of differing political perspectives, beliefs and backgrounds. Yet Arizona’s out-of-touch Tea Party legislators continue to push Cathi Herrod’s extreme ideological agenda on the people of this state.”

HB2729 – This was a bad bill when Governor Brewer vetoed it last year and it’s a bad bill this year. Another gun bill pushed by Tea Party extremists, it would allow guns in public buildings and events. Supported by legislators who love to rail against unfunded mandates, this bill would force our state, cities, towns and counties to incur massive costs to protect Arizona citizens. Maricopa County alone reports that it could cost $11.3 million in one-time equipment costs and $19.5 million in ongoing costs. Courts, schools, cities, towns, counties, chambers of commerce and law enforcement from across the state oppose this bill.

Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford, D-27:
“The insatiable appetite that some in this Legislature have for guns is apparently enough to overlook the crippling costs this bill would force on our state, cities, towns and counties,” said Sen. Cajero Bedford. “The public is plainly tired of ridiculous gun bills by Tea Party extremists.”

HB2664 – This bill would legalize deceptive debt collection scams against hard-working Arizonans, allowing unscrupulous out-of-state debt collectors to sue struggling Arizona consumers, even if their debt has been repaid. Other states are now dealing with the fallout from similar laws, including West Virginia, whose attorney general recently filed suit against a collection company that utilizes these unethical practices.

Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira, D-17:
“This special interest bill is irresponsible because it would legalize deceptive debt collection scams against hard-working Arizonans at a time when they are struggling to pay their bills,” said Sen. Schapira. “I don’t know if some deal was made to pass this bill, but I can guarantee it’s no deal for Arizona consumers.”

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