Tuesday, February 28, 2006

He Will Always Be Thayer

Just when I was beginning to worry that the usual suspects weren't going to introduce any really batshit crazy legislation during this session of the Arizona State Legislature, along comes Thayer Vershoor, R-Gilbert with SB1331 just under the deadline.

SB 1331

Introduced by

Senators Verschoor, Blendu, Harper, Jarrett, Johnson; Representatives Barnes, Biggs, Burges, Groe, Smith, Yarbrough: Senators Bee, Burns, Flake, Gould, Gray, Huppenthal, Martin; Representatives Allen J, Anderson, Gorman, Mason, Pearce, Pierce, Quelland, Rosati


amending Title 15, chapter 14, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding article 8; relating to UNIVERSITIES and community colleges.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1. Title 15, chapter 14, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding article 8, to read:


START_STATUTE15-1881. Alternative coursework or materials

Each university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents and each community college under the jurisdiction of a community college district shall adopt procedures by which students who object to any course, coursework, learning material or activity on the basis that it is personally offensive shall be provided without financial or academic penalty an alternative course, alternative coursework, alternative learning materials or alternative activity. Objection to a course, coursework, learning material or activity on the basis that it is personally offensive includes objections that the course, coursework, learning material or activity conflicts with the student's beliefs or practices in sex, morality or religion.

Sheesh, this could have really helped my grades in Calculus. All I would have had to do was tell my professor that integration offended my religious sensibilities and he would have had to give me an alternative assignment. SWEET!

Not surprisingly, those buzzkill college teachers oppose Vershoor's most excellent bill which has already made it out of the Higher Education Committee.

"This legislation would impoverish the higher-education system for students," said Barbara Fahey, a professor of English at Scottsdale Community College.

"(The bill) would create chaos in the classroom," said Bill Mullaney. It's "appalling," and it would undermine his ability to teach students, Mullaney said.

Brittney Patten, a sophomore at the Scottsdale campus, has a different opinion: "(Teachers) are supposed to cater to student needs," she said.

Well said, Brittney, and Jesus' General has some great ideas on just how to do this.

And remember, when it's wacko legislation you want, "he will always be Thayer for you". (actual campaign slogan)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

It's All About Character

A most excellent post about the recent scandal in the Arizona State Treasurer's Office here.

State Treasurer David Petersen is just another theocrat who believes that he can break the law to further his religious and political ends. Do these folks believe in a god that is so impotent that it is necessary to lie, cheat, and steal on his behalf?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What do these legislators have in common?

An editorial in today's Arizona Republic suggests that some leaders in the Arizona Legislature seem to be reluctant to allow ordinary citizens to speak before this august body. Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Mesa, Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, and Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise seem to regard citizen input as a nuisance and would prefer to listen to their own voices. Can anyone tell me what these three legislators have in common (other than arrogance)?
... Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Mesa, who was sensationally confronted last week by a lobbyist for the Arizona Interfaith Network. After having been refused a chance to speak in Gray's committee on a host of immigration bills, lobbyist Tom Donovan attempted to grab the microphone and read a protest letter. Gray called in security.

"I was a police officer for 10 years, and I know mob rule, which was what we had here," Gray said.

Although Donovan's gambit was a bit over the top, it doesn't change the fact that in the face of "mob rule," Gray is playing mob boss. Even the state Chamber of Commerce has gotten short shrift from Gray, who has allowed chamber reps just a few short speaking moments regarding those immigration issues.

Of course, Gray doesn't cut off everybody. Gray recently allotted 30 minutes of his committee's busy calendar to hearing testimony on an immigration bill sponsored by Gray's East Valley compadre, Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa. Gray gave up 25 of those 30 minutes to testimony from . . . yes, Russell Pearce.

The anecdotal evidence of tub-thumping committee tyranny at the Legislature is too widespread to ignore.

In January, Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, cut off Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas in midsentence. He then gaveled the meeting closed and walked away, leaving an entire hearing room slack-jawed and speechless at his appalling cheek.

I know you have the priesthood power and all guys, but representative democracy requires that citizens have input into the legislative process. Don't make me have to raise my arm to the square.