#AZLeg​ Vote Protects Fetuses, Criminalizes Doctors & Patients (video)

fetal personhood

Republicans have spent weeks and employed multiple levels of parliamentary procedures to ram Senator Cathi Herrod’s … er … Senator Nancy Barto’s fetal personhood bill through both houses … twice. SB1457 died in the Senate earlier in April, but the Republicans brought the zombie bill back to life for a do-over.

SB1457 inserts BIG government into private medical decisions. It criminalizes doctors, nurses, midwives, doulas, and patients.

Government has the right and the duty to make and implement public health policy to keep us all safe and healthy — like mask mandates, vaccinations, inspections, etc. Government does not have the right to insert itself into personal medical decisions and impose felony charges against medical personnel and patients to enforce the Legislature’s will. SB1457 criminalizes the doctor/patient relationship if they discuss, recommend, refer or perform an abortion on a woman and they all know she is carrying a child with a disability or a child that is so medically fragile that it won’t live long after birth. It also makes ordering abortion-inducing drugs by mail illegal.

Besides the fact that government should not be meddling in this personally tragic decision, the woman and her partner have to thing long-term about raising a child with a severe disability or carrying a fetus to term that may not live 24 hours. This is a tough decision — emotionally, physically and financially.

Continue reading #AZLeg​ Vote Protects Fetuses, Criminalizes Doctors & Patients (video)

Barto’s Anti-Abortion Bill Criminalizes Doctors & Victimizes Women (video)

medical freedom

Every terrible idea the Republican Party has ever had has at least one bill in the Arizona Legislature this year. Their signature bad ideas — attacks on reproductive rights, voter suppression, and tax cuts for the corporations and the rich — have multiple bills each.

The House debated SB1457, a bill that criminalizes doctors, for two hours recently. This is a fetal personhood bill, which values the life of the fetus over the life of the mother and criminalizes doctors for providing abortion counseling or performing abortions when the fetus is determined to be generically abnormal or not viable beyond birth.

Ironically, House Republicans used the rallying cry of “medical freedom” as an excuse to not wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID19, but  they  don’t  see the  disconnect between their demands for medical freedom during a public health crisis and their insistence on controlling women’s private medical decisions. Continue reading Barto’s Anti-Abortion Bill Criminalizes Doctors & Victimizes Women (video)

Putting More People in Prison Won’t Help Child Abuse Victims (video)

adverse childhood experiences

We have not had a lot of action in the Legislature this week, as Republican plot behind closed doors. We had a few proclamations and a few votes today, including the final vote on HB2889, the mandatory sentencing bill for multiple levels of child abuse. This passed the House a few weeks ago, but was amended in the Senate. It is a bit less harsh than the original bill but still mandatory sentencing related to an issue that Arizona has been ignoring for a long time.

Rep. Walt Blackman had a proclamation about Child Abuse Prevention Month and called upon members to “keep in mind the next generation and keep them safe.” I think that’s a great idea. In fact, I have been talking about building a stronger Arizona for a future generations for the last five years. It would be helpful if Blackman would join me in legislation to tackle poverty and Adverse Childhood Experiences if he wants to protect future generations and help them thrive. In his criminal justice committee, Blackman has been passing progressive legislation to tackle Arizona’s overcrowded prison population and discriminatory practices, but today he walked backwards and voted with everybody else to increase mandatory sentencing.

Arizona is WORST in the nation for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), such as food insecurity, housing insecurity, sexual violence, physical neglect, emotional neglect, domestic violence, addiction, mental illness, or loss of a parent.

Continue reading Putting More People in Prison Won’t Help Child Abuse Victims (video)

Protect Victims: Bring Back Child Abuse Reporting Bill (video)

PPH

Grandstanding and pontificating are standard fare in the Arizona Legislature. Multiple hot topics — mask mandates, voter suppression, abortion, the border, child abuse, and others — have sparked lengthy debates.

This video is a follow-up to the one I made after my “no” vote on Rep. Leo Biasiucci’s mandatory sentencing bill for multiple levels of child abuse, HB2889, and the subsequent social media splash.

If we really want to help child sexual abuse victims, we should bring back Senator Paul Boyer’s bill from 2019 which lengthens the time period to report past abuse. Arizona is not soft on sentencing pedophiles, but it is soft on reporting child sexual abuse. Boyer educated us by telling us that Arizona had the most lenient laws in the country for pedophiles. He said Arizona law “protected predators, not victims.” Adults who had been abused in the past had only 2 years after age 18 to report abuse as a child and identify abusers. Boyer’s original raised the age limit for past complaints from 20 to 30 and added a 1-2 year window for older people to report past abusers. After a long battle, a watered down version of Boyer’s bill passed in 2019. Let’s lengthen that window and go after the long-term pedophiles who are lurking in our churches, schools, youth organizations, sports teams and work. Former victims deserve their day in court.

Continue reading Protect Victims: Bring Back Child Abuse Reporting Bill (video)

I Stand Against Mandatory Sentencing & for Victim Rights (video)

Mandatory sentencing

Prison and sentencing reform have been major bipartisan issues in the Arizona House for the past few years. Although there has been much bipartisan effort and many bills proposed, pretty much everything was stopped at the committee level by former Legislators and Judiciary Chairs John Allen and Eddie Farnsworth.

Those two are both gone. Rep. Walt Blackman’s Criminal Justice Committee has passed several good bills on prison reform, sentencing reform, and prison oversight. Several of them have passed the full house.

Unfortunately, the House is passing mandatory sentencing bills at the same time as we are advancing reform. I was the only person who voted against HB2889.

Rep. Leo Biasiucci’s HB2889 is all about punishment. It ignores the fact that most people in prison were abused children. Focusing on punishment — while ignoring prevention, rehabilitation, and expansion of victims’ rights to report past abuse — won’t solve this problem. In fact, Senator Paul Boyer’s child abuse reporting bill from 2019 — which Republicans fought vehemently against — would do a lot more to catch chronic abusers who roam amongst us. Even after passing a watered down version of Boyer’s bill, Arizona law still severely restricts reporting past abuse and protects pedophiles, not victims. I fully support adoption of Boyer’s original bill which gave past abused children to age 30 to report past abuse.

Continue reading I Stand Against Mandatory Sentencing & for Victim Rights (video)

Defund the Police? Balancing ‘Social Control’ & ‘Social Investment’ (video)

Robert Reich

What does “defund the police” mean to you?

Following the tragic and unnecessary deaths of George Floyd, Dion Johnson, Rayshard Brooks, Carlos Ingram Lopez and others at the hands of law enforcement officers, there have been calls to “defund the police.”

Often the same people who say “defund the police” also add “that doesn’t mean take away all of the funding.” When I ask what it does mean, the explanations often get mushy. Recently, I read “What Defund Police Really Means: Replacing Social Control with Investment” by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

In this Guardian article, Reich talks about increased spending in social investment beginning in the mid 1960s through President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Beginning in 1964, the War on Poverty efforts rolled out Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, Food Stamps, cash assistance to the poor, equal opportunity programs, the voting rights act and more. By the early 1970s, these programs were working to reduce poverty, particularly among African Americans.

In 1971, future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell wrote the now infamous “Powell Memo,” which author and historian Bill Moyers labels a “Call to Arms for Corporations, “ excerpted …

Continue reading Defund the Police? Balancing ‘Social Control’ & ‘Social Investment’ (video)