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Mar 13 2014

Brewer Helped Write Law She Vetoed

I find this highly amusing. Remember that awful Arizona law that Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed that would have allowed Christian-owned businesses to discriminate against LGBT people? Turns out that her advisers helped write it, and in fact got the language changed to their specifications.

Top aides to Gov. Jan Brewer sought and got proponents of a “religious liberty” bill to make changes to SB 1062 more than a month before she vetoed the measure.

Documents obtained by Capitol Media Services show gubernatorial counsel Joe Sciarrotta and adviser Michael Hunter met with staffers from the Center for Arizona Policy as early as January about the legislation. The documents, mainly email exchanges before and after meetings, show the alterations made in the legislation at the behest of the Brewer advisers.

CAP President Cathi Herrod said her organization made every change sought by the administration to her proposal to expand the existing state Religious Freedom Restoration Act. She said that includes deleting phrases that concerned the governor’s staff and adding provisions designed to narrow who could legally deny services to someone based on a claim of religious freedom.

Gubernatorial press aide Andrew Wilder acknowledged there were meetings over the wording of the legislation. But Wilder said there was nothing unusual about them, saying those kinds of discussions happen all the time. And Wilder said there was “absolutely” no promise made to Herrod or anyone else that Brewer would sign the legislation if they agreed to the changes.

Herrod conceded the point. “There are no guarantees on what she’s going to do on a bill,” she said.

“But the intent of the meetings, the purpose of the meetings, was to thoroughly vet the language, address their concerns, and make changes in the language pursuant to their concerns,” Herrod said. She said her organization addressed every concern raised by Hunter and Sciarrotta with the idea that this year’s version would not meet the same fate as a similar bill Brewer vetoed last year.

Clearly Brewer is lying when she said she said she vetoed it because the language was too broad. The language was what her own staff wanted. She vetoed it because she got a lot of pressure to do so, not from liberals and pro-equality types (she would have ignored them) but from Republicans who read the polls, which show that an overwhelming majority of Americans support non-discrimination policies. It’s just bad politics.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    janiceintoronto

    Seems to me she vetoed the bill because of the potential loss of state revenue from large corporate interests.

    Money, that’s what it was all about.

  2. 2
    cptdoom

    Brewer also claimed she couldn’t comment on the bill when it first passed, because she didn’t know enough about it. Either she was lying about that or her staff keeps her totally misinformed (even more outrageous considering she vetoed a similar bill last year).

  3. 3
    colnago80

    Probably the threat that the NFL might move the 2015 Superbowl out of Phoenix is the bill became law had something to do with her veto.

  4. 4
    alanb

    I agree with Janice. It was businesses like Apple and the NFL that turned things around. I doubt that the polls in Arizona are as pro-equality as they are in other parts of the country.

  5. 5
    jamessweet

    An important missing piece here is Brewer’s complicated relationship with Center for Arizona Policy (which, despite the innocuous name, is a hardcore evangelical lobbying organization, i.e. buncha nigh-theocratic assholes). Brewer and her staff have leaned on CAP’s support heavily in the past, but there is increasing chatter that they are getting mighty fed up with CAP’s uncompromising and unrealistic politics. Take from that what you will… it still doesn’t change the basic story, that Brewer cares not a whit about gay rights, but rather sees which way the wind is blowing. But I think it does illuminate some of the flip-flopping… the conservative alliance between anti-tax anti-regulation business interests and hardcore social conservatives is slowly crumbling, and it’s a messy process. The bottom line is that hating on sex is bad for business. Whodathunk…

  6. 6
    Chiroptera

    jamessweet, #5: …Center for Arizona Policy (which, despite the innocuous name, is a hardcore evangelical lobbying organization, i.e. buncha nigh-theocratic assholes).

    That’s odd. They left the word “Family” out of the name.

  7. 7
    abb3w

    @4, alanb:

    I agree with Janice. It was businesses like Apple and the NFL that turned things around. I doubt that the polls in Arizona are as pro-equality as they are in other parts of the country.

    Sorta. Nevada’s pretty close to median for US politics (as reflected by its 2012 results in the presidential race), with their history of gay marriage polling data reflecting that. Comparing polls out within the last month, support/oppose/unsure in AZ was measured 49/41/10 via PPP, compared to 59/34/7 nationally from a ABC/WaPo poll; however, the two polls used slightly different question wording, and results are often highly sensitive to exact wording.

    Arizona may lag a little behind, but they’re still net supporting these days. That probably made it easier to swallow the NFL’s quiet reminder about Arizona’s fiasco with MLK day — which cost the state an earlier Superbowl back in the Reagan era. “Nice football stadium you have. It could be a real pity if a state boycott meant that no-one came to watch a nice big game there.”

  8. 8
    Crimson Clupeidae

    Between the potential loss of the NFL, and the fact that Az’s #1 economic income is from tourism, I suspect someone just had to dumb down the math enough to make it clear to her.

  9. 9
    cry4turtles

    OMG! I’m so shocked she lied through her teeth! Not!!

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