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Governor Jan Brewer

Ariz.’s SB 1062 Vetoed; States Debate Similar Bills

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062 on Wednesday, explaining that the bill -- which would have effectively allowed business owners to refuse service to gays on the basis of religious freedom -- "does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona." While insisting that she had worked hard to represent the voters of Arizona, Gov. Brewer expressed concern that the controversial bill -- which had been cast as "anti-gay" -- was simply too broad, reports the Los Angeles Times. What other reasons did Gov. Brewer offer for vetoing SB 1062? And what does her veto mean for states considering similar "religious freedom" bills? Not a Real Problem in Arizona According to the Times, proponents of SB 1062 feel the bill has been misinterpreted. But the deeper problem seems to lie with the "problem" the bill intended to address. Taken at its best, the bill sought to protect Arizona business owners who wished to refuse service to certain customers. If that refusal was based on the business owners' religious beliefs, the bill would have insulated their businesses from discrimination lawsuits. Critics saw this as a reactionary measure to ensure that Arizonans would not need to do business with same-sex couples, who have been gaining legal recognition in nearby California, Utah, and New Mexico. But the ironic part about SB 1062 is that private businesses in Arizona can already legally discriminate against gay couples, who have no legal recourse under Arizona or federal law. In fact, Gov. Brewer said she hadn't heard of a single example of a business owner in Arizona who had his or her religious liberty violated, the Times reports. Since SB 1062 was very broadly worded, opponents worried that it could have created any number of troublesome scenarios -- for example, religious business owners refusing to serve single mothers. Gov. Brewer's veto seemed to echo these concerns, but what does this reasoning mean for similar bills in other states? Other States' Bills Pending Politico reports that Georgia, Kansas, and Missouri have legislation in the works which may allow businesses to deny service to same-sex couples, and six more state legislatures are considering similar bills. One of those states is Oklahoma, where a restaurant owner recently made waves for explicitly refusing to serve gays and other minorities. Perhaps other states will learn from the failure of SB 1062 by reworking their own bills' language to avoid alienating support. As The Associated Press recounts, huge corporate bodies like Apple and American Airlines had urged Brewer to veto SB 1062, and no one can doubt their influence -- or capital. If bills like SB 1062 are to pass, they'll need to overcome these hurdles. Related Resources: What Jan Brewer's veto of SB 1062 tells us (The Washington Post) Ariz.'s SB 1062: Gov. Brewer Has 3 Options (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Arizona Immigration Bill Signed by Governor Brewer (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Arizona Passes Bill Restricting Ethnic Studies (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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Ariz.’s SB 1062: Gov. Brewer Has 3 Options

Arizona's SB 1062 -- a proposed law which would effectively affirm a business' right to refuse service to gays and lesbians -- is poised to be enacted or vetoed by Saturday. Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, has been pressed by friends and lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle to veto the bill. Her office has received more than 10,000 calls and e-mails about the issue, reports The Arizona Republic. What will happen in Arizona when Saturday arrives? There are three potential outcomes: If Gov. Brewer Vetoes SB 1062... Gov. Brewer has until Saturday to sign SB 1062 into law in the Grand Canyon State, but she also has the option to veto it. The Arizona Constitution empowers the governor to refuse to enact legislation through a general veto or even strike portions of a large budget bill through a line item veto. Since SB 1062 deals only with the government's recognition of rights to refuse service based on religious belief and not budget items, a general veto may be her only way to refuse the bill. The public and private sectors have not remained silent with regard to this issue -- even Arizona's senior U.S. Senator John McCain is urging Brewer to veto the bill, reports the Republic. If the bill is vetoed by the governor, the Arizona House and Senate would need a two-thirds majority in order to override the veto. This seems unlikely, however; according to the Republic, even one of the bill's Republican co-sponsors has pressed for a veto. If Gov. Brewer Signs SB 1062... If Gov. Brewer signs SB 1062 on or before Saturday, it will not immediately become law. New Arizona laws -- unless dealing with taxation or an emergency -- do not take effect until 90 days after the state legislature adjourns. The same was true for Arizona's controversial SB 1070. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Arizona's legislature is on target to adjourn in early April, meaning SB 1062, if signed by the governor, would likely take effect sometime in early July. If Gov. Brewer Does Nothing... Gov. Brewer's third option is to simply take no action. If she neither signs nor vetoes the bill by Saturday, then SB 1062 will automatically become law. (But again, it won't take effect until 90 days after the legislature adjourns.) According to StateScape, bills approved by Arizona lawmakers must be signed or vetoed by the fifth day of being transmitted to the governor or they automatically become law. We'll just have to wait and see what happens. Related Resources: Pressure mounts on Arizona governor to veto bill dubbed anti-gay (Reuters) Can Your Business Legally Refuse to Serve Gays? (FindLaw's Free Enterprise) Arizona Immigration Bill Signed by Governor Brewer (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Federal Courts Block Abortion Bans in Arizona, Arkansas (FindLaw's Decided)
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