Sharpe to the Point: SB=BS?

Written by Jim Sharpe Category: Valley News Issue: March 2019
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Jim Sharpe calls out Arizona legislators for their most ridiculous bills.

Illustration by Mirelle InglefieldAs Arizona’s legislative seasons kicks off, let’s review two of the basics: Bills that originate in the Arizona State Senate – like a certain, fairly infamous immigration bill from a few years back – are designated SB. Meanwhile, bills initiated in the State House have a designation number that begins with an HB.

This is important information to review, because those two letters at the beginning of a given bill are bound to cause some confusion among normal people (i.e. non-lawmakers) who read some of the proposed laws generated by the Arizona Legislature and logically assume SB stands for Somekinda Bullpucky and that HB stands for Hardly Believable.

Yes, we’ve had our share of wacky law-authoring here in Arizona. Some doozies from the past include 2017’s HB 2022, sponsored by my former colleague and fellow radio guy Jay Lawrence. The bill would have made it legal in any Arizona town, city or townhome complex for homeowners to shoot rats and snakes on their property. Listen, I love the Second Amendment (and I hate rats and snakes), but I would rather my neighbor call an exterminator than start blasting away.

However, Jay’s bill did give me a business idea. I’m going to start a pest control company where all the employees dress like Billy the Kid. While I check on the price of chaps, let’s take a look at some of the real winners being proposed this year at the State Capitol.

My favorite: Republican Rep. Gail Griffin of Hereford wants to protect us from illegal immigration and dirty movies in one fell swoop. Griffin’s HB 2444 would require companies selling internet-connected devices to install software that blocks porn. To get the Big Brother software off your device, you’d have to pay $20 to the Arizona Commerce Authority. And, you guessed it: That money would go to pay for a border wall.

While some haven’t been able to figure out why Griffin decided to connect iPad porn and illegal immigration in a single bill, I choose to not question brilliance when I see it. (And isn’t everything in Arizona somehow connected to the border?)

Wisely, Griffin decided to let HB 2444 die before it ever even got a hearing, after discovering it was authored by a notorious anti-LGBT rights activist who once filed a lawsuit to win the right to marry his computer. Can’t make this stuff up.

If you get an early ballot, choose to not mail it back and instead drop it off at a polling location on Election Day, Republican State Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita thinks you need to be stopped. The Scottsdale lawmaker’s SB 1046 would require early ballot recipients to return their ballots only via the U.S. Postal Service. So, if you were dropping off your mail-in ballot as part of some grand scheme to slow down election results, you’ve been foiled! If you’re simply a terrible procrastinator (like moi), you’ll just have to get in line with all the other schlubs eagerly awaiting their “I Voted” stickers. (Can we get a bill to ban those?)

Republican Rep. Mark Finchem wants to keep teachers from pushing partisan politics in class, so his proposed HB 2002 prohibits “teachers in taxpayer-supported schools from engaging in political, ideological or religious advocacy in their classrooms.” I bring up HB 2002 not because I think it’s crazy – actually, if enforced fairly, I think it makes sense – but because it’s crazy that we need something like this.

Noah Karvelis was one of the founders of the Red for Ed movement. Responding  to Rep. Finchem’s proposal on ABC15,   Karvelis denied that teachers were pushing their ideologies on students. Compare that to late 2017, when he tweeted that educators should discuss gender, feminism, race and gun violence in the classroom and said, “Teaching is political.”

This past March, as teachers were gaining steam to get their raises, Karvelis tweeted that one of his favorite parts of Red for Ed was “the incredible discussions this has started with my students on workers’ rights, labor movements, civil disobedience and fighting for necessary social change.” Huh?!

He’s an elementary and middle school music teacher.

Maybe this bill will help him stick to teaching kids how to play the trumpet.

Jim Sharpe is the host of Arizona’s Morning News on KTAR-FM 92.3 (weekdays 5-9 a.m.). Visit ktar.com to find more information about his on-air work.