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AZ Legislature Attacks Civil Liberties

Donna Gatehouse, who blogs at DemocraticDiva and elsewhere on all things Arizona, sends us this.

Republicans in the Arizona legislature must be uneasy these days.  A package of Wisconsin-style anti-public sector union bills is making its way through the process, as is Gov. Jan Brewer's plan to remove civil service protections from state workers. Several labor and community organizations plan protests around those bills. At the same time, women's and reproductive rights groups will undoubtedly be at the state capitol to speak out against numerous shocking and intrusive anti-abortion and anti-contraception measures before the legislature this session. The GOP majority is apparently so frightened by this prospect it’s trying to make it a Class 1 misdemeanor to engage in "passive resistance." Common nonviolent protest tactics such as going limp when the police try to remove you from an area or chaining yourself to something could get you up to a six-month month jail sentence. 

The deadline to introduce new bills has passed but Arizona has a maneuver, called a "striker," that permits legislators to introduce bills beyond it. They strike out all the language in a previous bill and replace it with a new, and often totally unrelated, bill. It's supposed to be reserved for real emergencies but it's used for all kinds of bills, and usually to railroad them through the process with little time for public comment or debate. In this case, the "emergency" is lawmakers facing the unbearable thought of citizens calling attention to their outrageous and undemocratic agenda in the public square. 

Phoenix blogger Steve Muratore reports that the "no passive resistance" bill is the idea of Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Scottsdale), who has a long background in law enforcement.

Apparently, he testified that law enforcement officers are at risk of harm from Occupy protesters who passively resist.

What harm? A hernia? Not if they lift with their knees as they're supposed to.  

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