Crossing a Milestone in the Legislative Session
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For anyone who spent this week at the state capitol, sitting through hours of committee meetings, day after day, only to be met with hostility or simply dismissed out of hand — first, thank you — but second, it’s probably clear that there’s a major accessibility problem in the Arizona legislature, and this is by design.
We’re building a movement to make local government more accessible to the queer community, and we need your support. Substack, the platform we use to publish our newsletter and podcasts, recommends aiming for 5 - 10% of your audience to become paid subscribers. If we met that goal, we could hire a full-time policy analyst, allowing us to maintain a constant presence at the legislature and to expand our proactive policy work.
Keep reading to learn more about what we’re doing in the three areas of our work:
Media & Events
We’ve passed the first committee deadline in this year’s legislative session, and any bills that failed to receive a vote are effectively dead for the session, including a number of good bills and anti-LGBTQ+ bills alike. In fact, on our tracking list, every anti-LGBTQ+ bill introduced in the Arizona House of Representatives has failed: HB 2317 (which would have limited student access to counseling), HB 2517 (which would have banned X gender markers), and HB 2711 (a forced outing bill) are now defunct, as well as SB 1702 (a ban on puberty blockers and gender-affirming hormone therapy for trans youth).
Unfortunately, none of the pro-LGBTQ+ legislation we celebrated at the beginning of the session — a ban on conversion therapy and several measures to repeal homophobic and transphobic laws — made it past the deadline. Another loss was a set of bipartisan bills designed to protect the rights and safety of unhoused people and to address the issues behind the homelessness crisis in Arizona, all of which failed to receive hearings.
As we move into the next phase of the legislative session, we’re still monitoring 10 dangerous anti-LGBTQ+ bills, including four drag bans and five anti-trans bills targeting schools. The greatest concern remains SCR 1025, a legislative referral to put the parent’s bill of rights into the Arizona Constitution. For more about that, check out last week’s update.
Fortunately, some good legislation we’ve been following is still in motion. Here’s a short summary of those bills.
Senate Bill 1062 — sponsored by Senator Shope, SB 1062 would give unhoused 16- and 17-year-old youth the right to consent to shelter, housing, and related services.
Senate Bill 1117 — sponsored by Senator Kaiser, SB 1117 is a major piece of legislation designed to address the housing shortage and affordability crisis in Arizona. It streamlines the approval process for new development and changes zoning law to facilitate greater urban density. Additionally, it requires cities to create five-year housing needs assessments to submit to the state for accountability and establishes a grant program for rural housing construction.
Political Power Team Meeting
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm March 9, 2023 | register
Want to help organize the queer community in Arizona to build our political power for the long term? Join our Political Power volunteer team at Cartel Roasting Co. in Tempe for our monthly meeting. If you can't make it to Tempe, you can call in through our Discord server instead!
Media & Events
Ask Smart People Smart Questions: Religion and LGBTQ+ Life
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm February 22, 2023 | register
Join us on February 22 for another installment of Ask Smart People Smart Questions. We’ll talk with an interfaith panel about religious perspectives on sex, gender, and sexuality, and explore how different individuals and communities incorporate LGBTQ+ experiences into their faith traditions.
Location: Tempe Library Ironwood Classroom