John M. Becker

Brewer's Staff Helped Write Anti-LGBT Bill She Vetoed

Filed By John M. Becker | March 11, 2014 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: anti-discrimination law, Arizona, corporate equality, Jan Brewer, religious exemption, religious privilege, Republican Party, special rights

jan-brewer-grimace.jpgWhen Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the "right to discriminate" bill SB 1062, she claimed that the measure was a solution in search of a problem. Further, Brewer added, the bill was "broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences."

What the governor conveniently omitted is that members of her own staff worked with the bill's sponsors on that language, in order to narrow the scope of the measure and make it more likely that Brewer would sign it into law.

The Arizona Daily Star reports:

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...

The records obtained by Capitol Media Services show Herrod and Josh Kredit, CAP's legal counsel, met with Brewer staffers before the legislative session began in January. They ran the proposed language past Sciarrotta and Hunter and, based on their responses, began making changes.

Brewer staffers and bill proponents went back and forth through many additions and revisions over the course of several weeks. As a result, the proponents believed the governor's signature was, for all intents and purposes, a done deal. Herrod said, "[T]he 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."

And Herrod maintains that Brewer's problem with the bill had nothing to do with language, but political backlash:

"Opponents made the bill about something it was not," she said, with Brewer reacting to the highly vocal opposition, particularly from the LGBT community, rather than the language of SB 1062. "The governor vetoed a bill that didn't exist."

She's wrong about the scope of the bill, but exactly right that Brewer's veto only happened because so many people and businesses across the state and around the country raised holy hell about it. If the haters had been able to slip it through more quietly, chances are SB 1062 would be law today.

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