Arizona’s Women and Children Caught in the Crosshairs

Governor Doug Ducey just issued a proclamation for “Domestic Violence Awareness Month”:

Hello, this is Governor Doug Ducey.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

This is a serious issue that affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in Arizona.

Every Arizonan has the right to feel safe in his or her own home. 

To those in abusive situations – you are not alone. Please reach out to a loved one and ask for help, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. 

You have my word: the Sate of Arizona will prosecute those who commit domestic violence with the full force of the law. 

By working together, we can protect our fellow citizens and get them the support they need. Thank you.

This is a good start, governor, but it ignores a great big elephant in the living room: domestic partner benefits, offered by the City of Phoenix and other misguided secular humanist organizations.

Why do they encourage cohabitation by rewarding it with domestic partner benefits? This fact alone should discourage them from it:

In the U.S. and Canada, cohabiting women are nine times more likely to be killed by their live-in boyfriend than married women by their husband.

Once again, we call on Arizona taxpayers to demand an end to this misguided policy placing women and children at heightened risks of serious harm.

And if that isn’t enough of a risk for children, Equality Arizona — the state’s most radical homosexual pressure group — is demanding legislation to clear the way for homosexual adoption in Arizona:

There are 18,000 children in Arizona’s foster care system, but discrimination and institutional barriers can prevent LGBTQ families from becoming foster and adoptive families and accessing resources. Our campaign, Project Jigsaw is working to connect every child to a loving family.

These leftist pressure groups and their friends in the White House and the left-stream media repeat a narrative that same-sex relationships are automatically “loving.” But that, as usual with the Left, is a false and dishonest narrative.

Because domestic violence among lesbians is extremely high. Just look at the sad saga of Phoenix Mercury lesbian Britney Greiner and her former wife, both arrested for beating up on each other earlier this year. This is not uncommon. It is unsafe and unhealthy for children to be placed in these environments.

And for a great many male homosexuals, they engage in a parade of anonymous sexual exploits and expose children to serious risks. Dawn Stefanowicz grew up in such a dark home environment:

Dawn’s story is not the exception.

Yes, children need loving homes to grow up in — with a married man and woman. If we as a people in Arizona have the will to resist calls for political correctness, children will have a better chance for a happy, peaceful, loving home. That is what we need our governor to stand up and fight for. Because he will be pressured to do the wrong thing. Governor Ducey, do the right thing.

Arizona Republican Assembly Scores Arizona Lawmakers

The Arizona Republican Assembly has posted its ratings of all the Republicans in the state legislature. The criteria is based on whether or not office holders …

1) Support the U.S. Constitution; 2) Support Republican Party Platform; 3) Support individual / private sector empowerment over government empowerment; 4) Support national security (including illegal alien issues); 5) Their actions reduce government spending; 6) Their actions reduce tax rates in general; 7) and will have a significant impact.

Here’s a list of ratings of Republican members of the Arizona House of Representatives, as calculated by the Arizona Republican Assembly:

2015 Final Scorecard

passing grades

NAME                          Dist.              Score

Kelly Townsend          16               87.89

Bob Thorpe                    6              86.21

Anthony Kern              20               85.85

Vince Leach                 11              85.83

Mark Finchem              11              85.78

Justin Olson                 25              85.43

Steve Montenegro       13              85.35

Jeff Weninger              17               85.21

“Rusty” Bowers              25              84.90

Darin Mitchell                13               84.43

Brenda Barton                6               84.32

Warren H. Petersen      12               84.30

David W. Stevens         14               84.30

Phil Lovas                     22               84.24

Edwin Farnsworth         12               83.50

Sonny Borrelli                 5               83.26

David Livingston           22               83.21

Rick Gray                      21               83.01

David M. Gowan Sr.     14               82.99

“J.D.” Mesnard             17               82.78

Karen Fann                    1               82.56

Noel W. Campbell          1               82.33

Jay Lawrence               23               82.05

Jill Norgaard                 18               81.89

Tony Rivero                  21               80.57

Thomas Shope               8               80.12

FAILING GRADES

John M. Allen               15               78.78

Doug Coleman             16               78.39

Paul Boyer                   20               76.82

Regina Cobb                  5               76.44

John Ackerley                 2               75.63

Michelle R. Ugenti        23               74.73

Franklin M. Pratt             8               71.56

Bob Robson                  18               71.18

Kate Brophy McGee      28               69.58

Heather Carter              15               64.85

SENATE

PASSING GRADES

NAME                          Dist.              Score

David Farnsworth       16               86.01

Gail Griffin                   14               85.77

Judy Burges               22               85.33

Andy Biggs                 12               85.14

Steve Smith                  11               84.85

Steve Yarbrough          17               83.64

Kimberly Yee                20               83.43

Kelli Ward                       5               81.97

Sylvia Allen                    6                80.94

John Kavanagh            23               80.16

Debbie Lesko               21               80.10

FAILING GRADES

Bob Worsley                25               78.66

Adam Driggs                28               78.23

Nancy Barto                 15               78.22

Don Shooter                 13               77.80

Jeff Dial                        18               72.15

Steve Pierce                  1               53.54

Center for Arizona Policy: A Good and Balanced Law

By Cathi Herrod, President, Center for Arizona Policy

Many of you likely watched the scene unfold in Indiana last month where supporters of religious freedom sought to pass a fairly simple law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

The scene was eerily similar to what played out here in Arizona with the CAP-supported SB 1062. Ignoring the facts, opponents of religious freedom falsely claimed that the bill would allow individuals to have a license to do pretty much anything, all in the name of their free exercise of religion. Or in other words, they wrongly tried to say religious freedom would become the equivalent of Monopoly’s “Get Out of Jail Free Card.”

Yet what was lost in the debate, both here in Arizona and in Indiana is the reality of how these laws actually operate in a court-setting and in real life. They don’t provide a license to do whatever illegal activity somebody wants to do. Rather, they provide the court with a well-established and longstanding legal balancing test for analyzing competing interests.

To provide some background, Arizona has had a state-version of RFRA since 1999, and a nearly identical federal law has been in place since 1993. More than 20 states also have state RFRAs.

In a nutshell, RFRA ensures the government cannot force someone to violate their religious convictions unless the government meets a strict legal test. For the strict legal test, the government must show it has a really good reason for the law and that the law is narrowly tailored to achieve that objective. If the government does that, then the RFRA defense fails and the government law or action stands.

Although Indiana’s original version of RFRA was heavily amended after big business bullied the governor and legislature, the remaining law is still set to take effect on July 1, 2015.

This brings us to a recent story out of Indiana and a perfect example of how RFRA works. Calling his newly formed church the First Church of Cannabis, founder Bill Levin plans to break the law and openly smoke marijuana. If he is cited or arrested, he says he will claim Indiana’s RFRA for protection.

Unfortunately for Mr. Levin, this same ploy was attempted in Arizona already, and Arizona’s RFRA operated just like it’s supposed to.

In 2005, Danny Hardesty was arrested for possession of marijuana, and in court he claimed that the use of marijuana was a sacrament of his church, the Church of Cognizance. This case reached the Arizona Supreme Court in 2009, and in a unanimous ruling the Court ruled against Hardesty.

Even assuming Hardesty had a truly sincere religious belief to smoke marijuana, the Court found that the government has a good reason to prohibit marijuana use (the fact that it poses a real threat to individual health and social welfare, in addition to the public safety concern posed by unlimited use, particularly by those driving motor vehicles), and that “no less restrictive alternative [ ] would serve the State’s compelling public safety interests and still excuse the conduct for which Hardesty was tried and convicted.”

So there you go, RFRA is not a “Get Out of Jail Free Card,” and it does not provide a license to do whatever illegal activity someone wants. Rather, it is a time-tested and just law that allows for courts to acknowledge when the government overreaches and burdens someone’s free exercise of religion, and to balance that against the reasons for the government action.

Please watch for the launch of the 3rd edition of The Policy Pages later this fall, which will include a brief devoted solely to explaining how laws like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act work.

Governor Ducey, Children Need More than a ‘Loving Family’

Governor Doug Ducey issued the following statement yesterday to Arizona media regarding a change in adoption practices he is making at the Arizona Department of Child Safety:

“I have made it abundantly clear since day one that my administration is unambiguously and unapologetically pro-adoption. With 17,000 children under the state’s care, we need more adoption in Arizona, not less. That’s why I feel strongly – as I have said many times before – that all loving families should be able to serve as foster parents and adopt. I also have said my administration will follow the law. Practices have been brought to my attention that do not match those priorities, therefore, I’m instructing the Arizona Department of Child Safety to immediately ensure that all legally married couples in Arizona are able to jointly serve as foster parents and adopt. All children deserve a loving home, and under my watch, I’m committed to making sure government encourages that.”

Dear Governor Ducey:

You are right about one thing: we do need more adoption in Arizona.

But what constitutes “all loving families”? Are you going to develop a rating system to measure whether or not a family is “loving” enough? Will that be the only criteria used?

Is a cohabiting family a “loving” family? Cohabiting women in the U.S. and Canada are nine times more likely to be murdered by their boyfriend than a woman by her married husband.

Is a household headed by two homosexual men a “loving” family? For a first-person account of what this can be like for children in those situations, read the story of Dawn Stefanowicz.

Is a household headed by two homosexual women a “loving” family? What about Phoenix Mercury player Britney Greiner? She and her fiancee just got arrested for “ultimate fighting”? Homes with higher rates of domestic violence are not the optimal environment for children.

What is the optimal home environment for child-raising? Do you know? It’s a home headed by a married man and woman.

Where does the quality and stability of family home life enter in? Or does it even enter in at all?

Is the State of Arizona going to fast-track children in to homes just to speed up adoption, regardless of the environment of those “loving” families? Is quantity more important than quality?

What is the optimal family structure that can best support adoption? Have you thought about that? Or is political correctness your guide? Is your aim merely to appease as many people and groups as possible so you will get re-elected? While some children suffer in the so-called “loving” homes they have been placed in?

Will the children have any say in the kind of homes they are sent to live in during their all-important formative years?

Does it matter to you that children want a mom and a dad? Does it matter to you that children need a mom and a dad?

Does it matter to you that children need a stable environment where domestic violence is not taking place? Where drug and alcohol abuse is not rampant? Where fidelity is practiced between committed parents? Where children are not subjected to beatings or sexual abuse by live-in boyfriends or by multiple adults briefly associated with one or more parent? Where children are not subjected to pornography?

Will it matter to you that some children will be adopted by legally married adults who do not stay together very long?

Have you really thought through all the potential circumstances of the affected children – without a political lens to guide you?

Why purposefully make it worse for kids when it’s clear what’s best for kids?

Anyone can say, “We’re a loving family!” It’s the quality of the family structure that offers adoptive children the most stable home life and the best chance of succeeding socially. That’s what should by foremost among priorities for those determining adoption decisions.

 

RFRAs have NEVER Harmed a Homosexual Person

By Casey Mattox
The Federalist

It has been 22 years since President Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. For two decades it has applied to every law in the District of Columbia and the federal government. In the intervening decades, 20 other states have followed suit with their own state RFRAs. These RFRAs hold government to a high burden of proof when it burdens religious exercise. Under RFRA, there are no guaranteed outcomes, but the government cannot take burdens on religious exercise lightly.

In two decades of RFRAs, the world has not ended. In fact, not a single person who identifies as homosexual has been harmed by these RFRAs. None. This may come as a surprise to you if you have watched any of the media coverage or been on social media for the last several days. The unhinged claims from the Left have been entirely detached from the reality that these laws have actually existed for decades and have never resulted in any of the things they worry will happen. This is not new. Dire warnings that are unsurprisingly not confirmed by future events have been a common theme in arguments from the Left in recent years.

Prophesying Doom that Never Materializes

The Equal Access Act is the reason your child can have a Fellowship of Christian Athletes group at school. Most Americans would think that permitting students to voluntarily get together before school to pray is a good thing. But when Congress considered the act in 1984, some Democrats, including then-Rep. Barbara Boxer, opposed it because allowing Christian students to gather to pray “could usher in KKK and Nazi” student groups. More than 30 years later, it is clear Boxer was on the wrong side of history. Her worry that letting kids study the Bible would lead to “Mein Kampf” has not been realized.

Boxer’s worry that letting kids study the Bible would lead to ‘Mein Kampf’ has not been realized.

When the Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2006, abortionists argued that approximately 2,200 partial-birth abortions per year were necessary for health reasons. This was important because the law lacked any health exception (except to save the mother’s life). When the Supreme Court issued its opinion eight years ago in April 2007, it held that the law was generally constitutional.

However, the Court invited any abortionist or woman filing a new challenge to show why a partial-birth abortion was necessary in one of those 2,200-per-year instances. Planned Parenthood warned of consequences for women’s health from the decision, just as Justice Ginsburg wrote in a dissent: “One may anticipate that such a preenforcement challenge will be mounted swiftly, to ward off serious, sometimes irremediable harm, to women whose health would be endangered by the intact D&E prohibition.”

Eight years later, no such complaint has been filed. I’m not aware of a single example of any woman who was harmed by not being able to have a partial-birth abortion procedure in that time.

There are three possible reasons: (1) by incredible fortune, the threats to women’s health making partial-birth abortion necessary ceased on April 18, 2007; (2) Women are harmed daily, but Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry lack the resources to file the invited lawsuits; (3) the claim that partial-birth abortion was necessary to protect women’s health was a lie.

Finally, when Texas passed HB2, the pro-life law that brought stardom to Wendy Davis, a primary focus of abortion supporters who opposed the bill was its prohibition on abortions after 20 weeks gestation, when the unborn child is capable of feeling pain. This provision was the centerpiece of the controversy, and Davis opposed it at length. But while virtually every part of the Texas law has been challenged in the intervening two years, the prohibition on abortions after 20 weeks has never been challenged. It has been Texas law since October 2013.

Time to Stop Listening

And Texas isn’t alone. Laws like it have been enacted in 13 states. But despite their cries of harm to women’s health, abortionists have only challenged these laws in the Ninth Circuit and in a now-pending Georgia state court case. At least 10 of these laws, including Texas’s, are in effect without legal challenge. As MSNBC reported, there is

a strategic reason to avoid challenging that [20-week] ban…. [A] Texas challenge would go to the conservative Fifth Circuit. Not only would that court potentially uphold the law…, the combination of decisions would create a split in the circuits that would make the Supreme Court likelier to hear it.

This is their choice. But at some point when your warnings of imminent harm are stifled by your own prudential choices, and none of the bad consequences you warn about ever happen, perhaps your claims just aren’t true. That’s critically important to keep in mind with the needless hysteria happening now over completely mischaracterized state religious freedom laws.

But history need not repeat itself. In the children’s story, when Peter repeatedly cries, “Wolf!” the townspeople finally stop listening. It’s time to stop giving credence to the Left’s cries.

Americans Want Illegals Deported

By Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner

Despite President Obama’s efforts to cool the nation’s views on illegal immigrants storming over the U.S.-Mexico border, Americans have reached a new level of anger over the issue, with most demanding a more aggressive deportation policy — and reversal of a law that grants citizenship to kids of illegals born in the U.S.

A new Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday also finds Americans questioning spending tax dollars on government aid provided to illegal immigrants. A huge 83 percent said that anybody should be required to prove that they are “legally allowed” to be in the country before receiving local, state or federal government services.

Overall, the poll is bad news for the White House because it shows sustained, and in some cases, elevated anger and frustration over the surge in undocumented immigrants in the United States.

For example, 62 percent told the pollster that the U.S. is “not aggressive enough” in deporting those illegally in the United States. Just 15 percent believed the administration’s current policy was “about right” and 16 percent said it was “too aggressive.”

That 62 percent number is a jump from a year ago when it was 52 percent.

When asked if the baby of an illegal born in the United States should automatically become a U.S. citizen, as is now the law, 54 percent said no versus 38 percent who said yes.

In another area that seems to test American patience with the administration, 51 percent said that illegal immigrants who have American born children should not be exempt from deportation.

RINOs Worsley, Dial, Driggs and Pierce Help Leftists Keep Unpopular Common Core in Place

By Dr. Susan Berry, Breitbart.com

The Arizona Senate rejected a bill Monday that would have abolished the controversial Common Core standards in that state. Some Republicans joined with Democrats to defeat the bill, 16-13, a fact that underscores that while Democrats could be expected to vote in favor of keeping a federally-funded initiative like the Common Core, the worst enemy of the conservative base of the GOP is actually other Republicans.

As the Associated Press notes, repeal measure HB 2190 earlier passed the Arizona state House and the Senate Education committee, but the full Senate rejected the bill as it did a similar proposal last month and yet another last year.

The legislation, which was introduced in the Arizona House by Rep. Mark Finchem (R), would have abolished Common Core, created a new committee to evaluate alternative standards, and banned the state Board of Education from adopting new standards without the approval of the legislature.

The four Republicans who voted against the repeal of the standards are state Sens. Adam Driggs, Bob Worsley, Steve Pierce and Jeff Dial [editor’s note: The Arizona Conservative did not endorse any of them for re-election last year] . AP reports that, despite urging from fellow Republicans to reconsider their vote, these members made no comment as they voted to reject the measure.

Breitbart News reported Monday that the Senate’s rejection of the bill is not surprising since Arizona’s Republican Gov. Doug Ducey was not supportive of it, going as far as to call it “unnecessary” since it is his hope the Common Core standards can be “fixed” in his state.

Ducey ran last year for governor as a candidate opposed to the nationalized education initiative. Just five months later, however, he is telling a different story.

“I don’t think that legislation is necessary because we’re going to fix what’s wrong with these standards,” the governor said, referring to the Common Core as a “distraction.”

In a statement to Breitbart News prior to the vote, chairman of Arizona’s Senate Education Committee Sen. Kelli Ward (R) said she feared HB 2190 would fail on the Senate floor because of a group of pro-Common Core Republicans who are supporters of big government, amnesty and the Chamber of Commerce.

Ward, who is considering a primary run against U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), has staunchly opposed the Common Core standards.

“I believe that the Common Core standards are an egregious example of federal overreach into a clearly state issue – education,” she said. “I have been fighting against the federalization of our education system since I got to the legislature.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its affiliates in the states, in fact, have strongly lobbied in favor of the Common Core standards as part of a workforce development scheme to ensure government will provide big business with a steady stream of inexpensive labor. The data collection associated with the Common Core testing will be used to channel students into certain jobs and industries, creating a form of planned economy. Many establishment Republicans have signed onto Common Core in the hope of Chamber contributions to their political campaigns.

As Breitbart News’ Dan Riehl reported Monday, strong resistance by grassroots conservatives has led the Chamber to boost its political strategy to “include a greater emphasis on recruiting the right sort of business-friendly GOP candidates and intervening in primaries as it attempts to sculpt a compliant Congress that mirrors its priorities.”

Thomas Donohue, the Chamber’s longtime president and CEO, said last month that his organization will be applying political pressure around the clock.

“We’re just going to run it 24 months in a row, cycle after cycle after cycle,” he said.

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas, who won her election last November primarily running on an anti-Common Core platform, noted Ducey’s shift in position on the standards since he became governor.

“Despite Gov. Ducey also running against Common Core, he has unfortunately reversed that position, interfering with the removal of two pro-Common Core staff, publicly stating that now is not the time to remove Common Core, and instead asking the Board of Education to review the standards,” she said in a statement to Breitbart News.

Douglas summed up the frustration of anti-Common Core grassroots Republicans who have been deceived and thwarted by members of the establishment GOP.

“I cannot fully express my frustration with a majority Republican House and Senate and a Governor who ran as ‘anti-Common Core’ who have so far refused to act and have in fact, in the case of the Governor, acted to so exactly the opposite,” Douglas said.

With news of the defeat of the Common Core repeal measure, Douglas told Breitbart News, “I am disappointed. SB 2190 is an effort that I fully support because it puts additional pressure on the Board of Education to listen to the will of the people.”

“As the public weighs in around the state, I still believe it will create sufficient momentum for the Board to have to improve the standards,” she added.

The Arizona Conservative notes …

On February 18, this bill passed the House Education Committee by a vote of 5-2. On March 19, it passed the Senate Education Committee by the same 5-2 margin.

The full House of Representatives passed the bill 34-23.