One of CAP’s pillars of commitment is to the family. God granted the fundamental right and responsibility to parents to guide the wellbeing of their children. Arizona has done well to protect those rights over the years. But, the opposition is growing stronger, consistently encroaching and interfering, even denying parental rights. Still, we don’t give up. To that end, we have worked with lawmakers this session on bills addressing parental rights regarding professional counseling and sex education, among other things.

This week, close vote margins in the Senate played a significant role. Senators considered three important CAP-supported bills: SB 1456, sponsored by Senator Nancy Barto, SB 1482, sponsored by Senator Vince Leach, and SB 1452 sponsored by Senator Paul Boyer.

SB 1456 Sex Education

This bill aims to ensure parents are in control of their child’s education, especially when it comes to the sensitive subject of sexuality. SB 1456 prohibits sex education in grades K-4 in district and charter schools, and ensures parents are involved in the process of choosing sex ed curriculum in grades 5-12.

It requires schools to provide the sex education curricula for parents’ review either online or in person. The board or governing body approved curricula must go through a process that includes making the proposed sex ed course of study available for public review, and holding two public hearings within 60 days of approval.

Also, parents would have to provide written consent for their child to receive instruction regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. It also requires parental consent for their child to receive any instruction that contradicts their beliefs regarding sex, morality, or religion. The teaching of HIV, AIDS is included among the topics requiring parental approval.

The bill passed out of the Senate Education Committee this week on a 5-3 vote.

SB 1482 Counseling Ban Prohibition

Several states and municipalities, including Pima County, have passed so-called “Conversion Therapy” bans, which prohibit licensed counselors from treating clients struggling with same-sex attraction, unless the counselor is affirming. In other words, the counselor and client cannot discuss biblical views of human sexuality either based on biblical teaching or based on long-held and widespread beliefs generally. This stifles free speech and parental rights.

Courts have struck down such bans as unconstitutional, so we worked with Arizona lawmakers on SB 1482 to prohibit such unlawful bans that silence the speech of both counselor and client.

It is not the government’s place to dictate how an individual is to handle unwanted same-sex attraction or gender identity concerns. It’s up to the individual or parents to make those decisions for their children. Likewise, the government shouldn’t be telling professional counselors what they can and cannot talk about.

After emotional testimony in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, a tie vote of 4-4 failed to move it out of committee.

Short of a revival of the bill elsewhere, it’s dead. Eventually, a lawsuit challenging the Pima County ordinance (or other AZ municipality that may pass the same) will prove unconstitutional. Until then, the rights of parents, licensed professionals, and those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction are forbidden in Pima County to get the help they seek.

SB 1452 ESAs for Low Income Students

The full Arizona Senate on Monday passed SB 1452 along party lines with a 16-14 vote, and sent it on to the House to consider. This is a big win for parents being able to choose the best education for their children.

Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) provide students from certain underserved populations the funding necessary to find the educational environment that best meets their needs. SB 1452 adds low-income students to those eligible for ESAs and addresses COVID-19 eligibility issues. The pandemic has forced most students online, putting low-income families at a disadvantage because of the needed equipment, materials, and supervision. This bill would make these families eligible for assistance.

In an unusual political move Tuesday unrelated to the bill’s subject, Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita, LD 23, a supporter of school choice, asked to have SB 1452 returned to the Senate so she could change her vote to “no.” The Senate voted 20-10 to pull the bill back. Now, it’s up to the House to decide if it will return the bill to the Senate. One might say it was politics at its finest.

As with SB 1482, our commitment to see SB 1452 pass is far from over.

Follow the progress of CAP-supported bills on our BILL TRACKER

Bad Bill of the week:

HB 2647 – requires all district and charter schools to teach comprehensive sex education in all grades – K-12, including same-sex, and “transgender” issues. It also changes the parental opt-in requirement to an opt-out requirement.

ICYMI

  • Read here Ryan T Anderson’s opinion on why censoring good counseling harms clients struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender identity issues.
  • John Stonestreet gives a brief rundown of Jack Phillips’ ongoing court battles to protect his right to live out his faith as a creative professional. Phillips is due back in court next month. Read more about his case on Alliance Defending Freedom’s website
  • Al Mohler discusses the move from pro-choice to clearly pro-abortion in Tuesday’s “The Briefing.”

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