I live in Arizona. I realize that admitting this opens me to charges of bigotry and all sorts of nasty comments, even if I disagree with much of the legislation passed here. Having political opinions here that are not socially and fiscally conservative puts you in a very small minority. Heck, I consider myself fiscally conservative, but the fact that I think we should prioritize spending money on education over tax cuts makes me even more isolated.
Nonetheless, in the last week I have written to my legislators twice over stupid bills currently moving through the process. That’s a lot. I usually just throw my hands up in frustration, vote for the democrats even if it makes me uncomfortable and know full well my neighbors have negated the impact of my vote by pretty much always voting for the other guy. (I abhor SB1070 as much as anyone, but make myself feel better about the whole thing by reminding myself that it’s almost certainly unconstitutional and should get shot down by the supreme court.)
What got me writing?
SB1467 – This is being called the G-rated bill. It essentially says that all teachers, including state-funded colleges and universities, must comply with the FCC profanity and obscenity guidelines. These guidelines are intended to protect CHILDREN. Not legal adults, like you find in higher education. More importantly, they are incredibly vague from the perspective of someone who teaches a course that involves Sexuality and Gender. Psychology, Nursing, Physiology, Public Health, etc. All have valid reasons to teach courses that would involve language that, to some, might violate those guidelines. More importantly, the law includes punishments that start with 1 week unpaid suspension. I would be unable to teach my psych 101 class, and many others would find it incredibly difficult to teach their courses as well.
HB2770 – This one basically creates a protected status for academics (in humanities, social sciences and arts only) who have different political perspectives than the mainstream. Now, we all know that most people in education and sociology lean left, so this rule appears to be designed to make being a conservative a protected status. The irony of that in Arizona is hardly lost on me, although it appears lost on them. Beyond it likely being unconstitutional, this bill is unnecessary. A conservative academic studying politics in the academy stated “our research offers little evidence that conservative students or faculty are the victims of widespread ideological persecution”.
HEY LEGISLATORS: I haven’t the foggiest idea why you feel these bills are appropriate things to waste time on. I have something better: “Nearly 70 percent of all homes with a mortgage in Phoenix area were under water at the end of 2010″ It’s 2012 and home values have either stabilized or continued to fall. My loan-to-value is 165%. How about the legislature working to fix that instead of monitoring how I talk to adult college students or creating foolish new protected classes.