Last edited: November 15, 2003

Letter: Stirring Up Interest

Yuma Daily Sun, April 9, 2001
Box 271, Yuma, AZ, 86366
Fax: 520-343-1009

Last November and in the ensuing months, we witnessed an increased interest in the political and constitutional workings of our government due to the contested presidential election. Since then, however, that interest seems to have cooled since there appear to be no major controversial issues to hold our attention. I would like to take this opportunity to try to rekindle that interest by telling you about three bills that our State Legislature has been dealing with.

The first is House Bill 2016 which has been called the "archaic laws" bill. This bill was introduced to order to repeal Arizona’s laws against cohabitation, lewd and lascivious acts and sodomy. The stated intent of House Bill 2016 was to remove from the books, laws that were outdated and that were not being enforced in any case. The argument was also raised that some senior citizens cohabit in order to share expenses and that under current state law they were considered criminals. The unstated effect of this bill, however, is to give our state government’s approval to those people who would participate in a lifestyle that rejects marriage and that embraces sexual relations that are unhealthy to themselves and to society. This bill has passed the House and is being considered by the Senate at this time. It is expected to pass.

The second is Senate Bill 1225. This bill is designed to protect the right of employees to cross-dress at work and to provide job protection based on sexual behavior. The proponents of this bill tried to make it applicable to private businesses as well as government agencies, but that provision failed. If this bill passes, all public employees will be subject to its provisions and private employers who wish to do business with the state may have to comply as well. This bill is also expected to pass.

The last bill was Senate Bill 1380, the "informed consent" bill. This legislation was proposed to give women considering abortion all of the information pertinent to the procedure they were considering, including potential health risks at the time of the procedure and in the future. In any other medical procedure, you would receive full disclosure of health risks and benefits. This bill failed to get enough votes to be sent on to the House and so is now dead.

I believe that these issues are important and that they deserve not only our attention, but also our active participation. What can you do? Know what your Legislature is up to and talk to your representatives. Ask them how they voted on specific bills and why. The switchboard number at the State Legislature is 1 (800) 352-8404. The operator will connect you to your state representatives or senator. Let them know how you feel about bills that they are considering so that you won’t be surprised when they become law.

- Dan Chavez, Yuma

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