Arizona loses wingnut lead in nation
Alas, there are states even crazier than the original “Papers Please!” state. At a time when jobs and budget should be the prime consideration other states have taken up the unreconstructed creationist banner, creating a massive tidal wave of social legislation that seeks to limit women’s choice, gay marriage, science and research, education, and drug, health, and food safety.
These legislatures are proposing drastic cuts and draconian hindrances to further their bible zealot agenda against particular groups like Planned Parenthood, education boards, hospitals, drug regulations, abortion clinics, immigration, gay marriage, clean air, global warming, and anything else their crazed anti-government mythos has painted as “bad” the past three decades. It’s the final insane charge of that bible brigade, the last hurrah of the holy horde.
The 2010 election produced more conservative state legislatures nationwide, with Republicans holding more seats than they have since 1928.
Republicans added 675 legislative seats nationwide. There are 32 Republican-controlled houses, compared with 17 before the election. There are 31 Republican-controlled senates, compared with 24 previously.
These legislatures proposed record numbers of immigration, abortion and creationism bills. Bills asserting states’ rights and reforming pension programs also were popular.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislative issues nationwide, state legislatures introduced 1,592 bills related to immigration as of June 30. The most popular bills included things Arizona already does, such as requiring employers to use the federal E-Verify program to confirm legal status of employees, demanding photo ID to vote, limiting health benefits for illegal immigrants and enforcing federal immigration laws.
But Alabama went further than Arizona has yet been able to go.
It passed a bill that does everything SB 1070 does, plus bans illegal immigrants from public universities and requires K-12 schools to check students’ legal status. Conservative lawmakers in Arizona have proposed the K-12 requirement for several years but have yet to get enough support to make it law.
Abortion also was a popular topic with conservative legislatures this year.
According to the New York-based reproductive-health-policy group the Guttmacher Institute, states passed 80 laws during the first six months of this year that limit abortions in some way, compared with 23 last year.
South Dakota passed a law requiring women seeking an abortion to wait 72 hours and first go to a “crisis pregnancy center” for counseling.
Arizona passed several new abortion laws, but none goes quite that far. Arizona’s law requires a 24-hour wait period.