The House had only four bills to debate on Wednesday, and two of them were retained on the calendar. We spent most of our time debating SB1456 and SB1254.￼ Both of these bills are designed to limit public health information.
SB1456 is about sex education. You’ll remember that Arizona is one of the states that does not offer comprehensive, medically accurate sex education. (In fact, I have been proposing medically accurate sex education for years, and that bill doesn’t go anywhere.￼) SB1456 dictates what can be taught in sex education. It separates out information on HIV and AIDS and requires parental permission￼ be given separately for that subject matter. Why? Because Republicans believe that teaching kids about HIV and AIDS would include mention of how one can contract these diseases, including sexual behaviors that they don’t want their children to learn about.
It is shocking how party loyalty can get in the way of doing what’s right for the people of Arizona.
Today, the House Appropriations Committee debated lengthening Arizona’s statute of limitations to report child sexual abuse from a two years (after you turn 18) to twelve years. It also allows for a one or two year window after the bill passes in which any past victims (whose time to complain had run out) can come forward and file a complaint related to past child abuse. The Appropriations Chair sponsored the strike everything to SB1101 but didn’t want to bring it up for a vote— only discussion— but the agenda didn’t say “discussion only.”
Senator Paul Boyer, who sponsored the original bill to lengthen the time to report, spoke in favor on a vote in the bill. He said that Arizona is an “outlier” in child sexual assault and has the most restrictive reporting statutes in the US.
Senator Eddie Farsworth, who stopped Boyer’s original bill as chair of Senate Judiciary, spoke strongly against the bill and complained about lack of decorum and respect for the process. (Ahem… we hear and vote on half-baked strike everything bills ALL THE TIME.)
After lengthy debate with the Dems standing up for victims and Republicans standing with Farnsworth and Cobb, Rep. Diego Espinoza made a motion to overrule the chair and bring a vote on SB1101. Unfortunately, since the 11-person committee has only four Democrats, the motion failed, and all seven Republicans votes to back Cobb and Farnsworth and to throw victims under the bus.