Time to wake up

There has yet to be a slow week down at the Capitol… I am grateful for the strength and support to keep fighting the good fight.

Election Integrity
SCR 1012 – Voter ID for all ballots! This common-sense measure has broad bipartisan support (among the people – not the elite!). It passed the Senate yesterday. People came to the Capitol, filling the gallery and stayed all afternoon awaiting the vote. The resolution requires voter ID for mail-in ballots – which makes up at least 80% of voters in Arizona. It’s kind of a no-brainer, however, Democrats (not surprisingly) universally opposed. After the House approves it, it’s sent to the ballot to let the voters decide.

Experimenting on Minors
“Help Not Harm” (SB 1138) – banning gender reassignment surgery for minors passed the Senate this week along party lines. During the floor vote, I heard the opposition make several false claims, including that by not fully “affirming” children struggling with their gender identity, we’re putting them at risk of suicide. Here are the facts:

  • The best treatment for gender identity conflict has shown to be allowing adolescence to play out naturally. Studies have shown at least 80 to 95 percent of children experiencing gender conflict grow comfortable with their biological gender when left uninterrupted.
  • Studies have shown that so-called “sex reassignment” surgery does not improve mental health or lower suicide rates among those struggling with gender identity conflict. One major study in Sweden revealed that 10 to 15 years out, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex reassignment surgery was 20 times that of comparable peers. It found those who undergo so-called “gender reassignment” surgery “have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behavior, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population.”

The bill now heads to the House, where it is expected to face a similarly tough fight. Please contact your representatives and encourage them to protect minors from undertaking life-altering and irreversible decisions before they can fully contemplate the implications.

Mandates
The Senate pushed back on vaccine mandates this week, passing SB 1053 (strengthening religious exemptions), SB 1346 (prohibiting the state from asking employees for vaccination status), and SB 1494 (protecting the right of employees terminated due to vaccination status to receive unemployment insurance). On employer vaccine mandates, even some Senate Democrats acknowledge there are reasons people might choose NOT to vaccinate – and shouldn’t be left financially devastated if they lose their jobs because of it – and supported the bill.

Key accountability bills progress 
Individuals with the most Serious Mental Illnesses (SMI) and Developmental Disabilities (DD) in state care too often receive the worst care. Three significant bills aimed at improving care at Arizona’s State Hospital (ASH) passed the Senate overwhelmingly this week including SB 1444, which increases oversight of the ASH, and prohibits retaliation against a patient or their family who chooses to participate in the Independent Oversight Committee meetings. Another trio of bills, putting independent eyes, investigations, licensing and monitoring for the contracted services received by individuals with complex DD – overwhelmingly passed the Senate as well, including SB 1308.

My opponent wants to block parents out
It couldn’t be clearer. The left doesn’t want parents participating in the education process. And some governing boards have taken to kicking parents out of public meetings if they have protested school policies. SB 1617 prohibits adverse action – like blocking from meetings – against parents who engage in peaceful protest after school hours. My opponent, Senator Marsh, voted no. She had this to say (starting at 03:49:16).

Short-term rental madness
Across the district, I’m hearing from homeowners whose previously quiet neighborhoods have been jolted by bad-acting short-term rental owners (i.e.Airbnb’s) that become weekend party-houses for vacationers. This can be a difficult issue as there are property rights concerns to balance on both sides of this equation. But it is clear the status quo can’t continue. SB 1168 builds in accountability like enabling municipalities to require short-term rental owners to maintain liability insurance accompanied by penalties that can be imposed by the state, including the suspension of an owner’s license for violations. The bill passed the Senate, receiving bipartisan support.

A disturbing assault on freedom
You may have heard of the social credit system in Communist China that monitors and rates the daily behaviors of citizens and creates a score. This score affects travel, what homes you can rent, where you can send your kids to school, and more. It’s like something out of a frightening and futuristic movie. Think it can’t happen here? Think again. It can – and too many, including Republicans, are asleep to the possibility. This bill (HB 2656) prohibits banks from basing your credit status on equity and your political associations. It’s a growing threat and we need to be alert to it.

That’s all for now!

ICYMI: I have upgraded with a fresh, new website! Take a look – especially at the handy “Action Center.” And if you haven’t already, please sign my petition for the ballot

Quote Worth Re-Quoting
Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.”– President Calvin Coolidge

For freedom,

Nancy Barto