Opposition to Arizona’s Right-To-Discriminate Bill Grows
February 26th, 2014
Arizona’s License-To-Discriminate law is still on Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk awaiting her decision. The expansive SB 1062, which would allow virtually anyone to discriminate against anyone else — and more — on the basis of religious belief, would effectively bring anarchy to the state of Arizona and its employers with non-hostile workplace policies. Which is why local Arizona business groups are lining up to urge Brewer to veto the bill:
The Greater Phoenix Economic Council and Arizona Technology Council are joining gay rights groups in opposition to Senate Bill 1062. Part of their worries are the measure will repeat the bad publicity and negative impact on tourism and business investment seen after Gov. Jan Brewer signed the SB 1070 immigration bill four years ago.
“This legislation has the potential of subjecting the Super Bowl, and major events surrounding it, to the threats of boycotts,” said GPEC chairman James Lundy and CEO Barry Broome in a letter to Brewer today. They also said four companies looking to bring jobs to Arizona might reverse course if Brewer signs the measure, which passed the Legislature this week. They did not identify the companies.
Businesses are looking to avoid repeating the SB 1070 debacle four years ago when Arizona lost millions of dollars in businesses and tax revenue due to the fallout. Other business groups opposing SB 1062 this time include the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Leadership, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the outhern Arizona Leadership Council, and Visit Tucson, the city’s tourism board.
Individual businesses have also lined up to oppose the bill, including Apple, which is set to open a new sapphire glass plant in Mesa with 700 full-time jobs. Other Arizona employers opposing SB 1062 include PetSmart, Intel, Dignity Health, American Express, Mariott, American Airlines (which recently merged with Tempe-based USAirways) and Delta Airlines.
Local politicians are voicing their opposition. Tucson’s Mayor Jonathan Rothschild opposes the bill, as does Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith. Surprisingly, I haven’t heard from Glendale Mayor Elaine Scott. That city risks losing the 2015 Super Bowl if SB 1062 makes it into law:
The NFL said it was monitoring the progress of the bill, the Cardinals said they are concerned about the negative image the bill could bring the state, and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee said it flatly opposes the legislation.
…n 1993, Arizona was in line to host the Super Bowl in Tempe, but Arizona voters in November 1992 voted against a referendum recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a state holiday, prompting the NFL to give the Super Bowl to Pasadena, CA.
Even Fox News, which has spent several months drumming up support for bills like Arizona’s SB 1062, has done an about face and now compares the bill to Jim Crow laws. Which has got to be very disorienting to Arizona politicians living in the Fox News bubble. But at least it’s having its effect. Three Republican State Senators who had supported SB 1062 before they opposed it, are now urging Brewer to veto the bill.
Sens. Bob Worsley, Adam Driggs, and Steve Pierce delivered a letter to Brewer on Monday, saying, “While our sincere intent in voting for this bill was to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has instead been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance. These allegations are causing our state immeasurable harm.”
The senators asked Brewer to veto the bill.
“We must send a clear message that Arizona is a state that values religious tolerance and protects and values each individual’s ability to follow the dictates of their own conscience,” they wrote.
Now they come to their senses. If they had voted against the bill in the first place, it would have failed in the Senate 14-16. Instead, it passed in a 17-13 vote.
As for SB 1052 supporters, the include the bill’s primary cheerleader, the Center for Arizona Policy’s Cathi Herrod. CAP, by the way, is an official state policy council of Focus On the Family. And there’s this guy, State Sen. Al Melvin (R-SaddleBrooke/Tucson):
Which more or less means that any halfway sane governor would veto this bill before it even had a chance to settle on her desk. But since Brewer has until Friday to make up her mind, the rest of the country gets to see what we Zonies have to put up with every day.