Sine Die – Finally!

The Arizona Legislature adjourned last night, ending one of the most significant and successful sessions for Arizona families. Our CAP Team is grateful for the leadership shown by Governor Brewer and our pro-life, pro-family legislators. Next week, we will release the Family Issues Voting Record, which recaps how each legislator voted on CAP-supported bills, and the final tally of CAP-supported bills that were signed into law.

On the Governor’s Desk

Before adjournment, the legislature sent four CAP-supported bills to Governor Brewer. Legislation to defund Planned Parenthood (HB 2800), protect employers from being forced to violate their religious beliefs (HB 2625), protect professionals licensed by the state from losing their certifications for the free exercise of their faith (SB 1365), and expand the Empowerment Scholarship Account Program (HB 2622) are all awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and education establishment have continued their campaign to encourage Gov. Brewer to veto these bills. If you haven’t yet, please take a minute today to send her a quick note in support of these four bills! And, take a few minutes to pray!

A Team Effort! A Time of Thanksgiving!

I live by the Proverb that we are to be prepared for the day of battle but victory belongs to the Lord.  The victories this legislative session indeed are by God’s Hand.   Thankfully, however, He has blessed our efforts with a team that includes allied organizations committed to foundational values including Arizona Catholic Conference, Alliance Defense Fund, Bioethics Defense Foundation, Americans United for Life, Susan B. Anthony List, and our school choice allies. I am incredibly grateful for everything they do to join us to stand for foundational values.

If space permitted, I would also thank each and every legislator who stood with us this session.  Alas, I will ask each one of you to do so when you receive the voting records next week for your two state representatives and state senator. For now, I do want to thank Senate President Steve Pierce and House Speaker Andy Tobin for their leadership in making sure CAP-supported bills made it through the legislative process.  Take time to send those two leaders a quick thank-you email for their support – click on their names above to send them an email.

Finally, THANK YOU! It’s because you turned out to vote your values in the 2010 elections that we were blessed with the pro-life, pro-family majority in the state House and Senate.

National Day of Prayer
Our nation celebrated the National Day of Prayer yesterday. In conjunction with the National Day of Prayer, Governor Brewer once again declared yesterday the Arizona Day of Prayer, despite the ongoing legal attack against her from the “Freedom From Religion Foundation.”
Thank you, Gov. Brewer, for refusing to be pushed around by this out-of-state organization that is determined to rewrite our country’s history and First Amendment.

Praying Strategically

In recognition of the National Day of Prayer, CAP’s new Church Relations Director, Pastor Terry Anderson is writing a 3 part blog series on the Foundations blog about “praying strategically.” Terry shared this message with our staff last week and greatly blessed the CAP team. Click here to read it.

ICYMI: War on Women? The Undeniable Roots of Pro-Life Feminism

Our friends at the Susan B. Anthony List wrote an editorial in response to two pieces in the Arizona Republic.

On the Foundations blog, we share their editorial, but also point out that today’s pro-life movement is stronger – and more diverse – than ever before. This legislative session is an awesome example of women and men coming together to defend life, vulnerable women, and preborn children.

Chuck Colson’s Legacy

As word came these last few days that Chuck Colson may be near death, I’ve been reflecting on the legacy of this amazing leader. Like many of you I’m sure, I remember reading Born Again about his conversion to Christianity. Colson has dedicated his life to challenging believers to apply biblical principles to their everyday lives. The many ministries he’s inspired and led, including his renowned Prison Fellowship Ministry, The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and the Manhattan Declaration have been at the forefront of the national pro-life, pro-family movement.

In April 1985, Colson wrote these words that are even more appropriate to today’s challenges:

“Certainly evil is to be expected in a fallen world. What is not expected is for a holy people to accept it. If Christ is Lord of all, Christians must recapture their sense of moral outrage.”

I can think of no better way to honor Mr. Colson and his life’s work than by reading, signing, and sharing the Manhattan Declaration. The goal of the Manhattan Declaration is to build a movement of Catholic, Evangelical, and Eastern Orthodox Christians who will stand together alongside other men and women of goodwill to advance the sanctity of life, rebuild and revitalize the marriage culture, and protect religious liberty. And, if you haven’t, pick up a copy of Born Again or any of Colson’s many other books and be challenged and inspired by this man’s legacy.

Three In One!

Tuesday was a great day for family advocates at the Legislature – three CAP-supported bills were signed into law on the same day!

  • SB 1359 – Prohibits so-called “wrongful life” lawsuits against medical professionals for misdiagnosing or not diagnosing a birth defect of a preborn child, which, if known, would have led to the child being aborted. Sen. Nancy Barto sponsored this bill.
  • HB 2627 – Prohibits abortion providers from qualifying for Arizona’s Working Poor Tax Credit, including Planned Parenthood. Rep. Debbie Lesko sponsored this bill.
  • HB 2265 – Ensures that arts funding in Arizona is not used to deface religious objects or promote obscenity. Representative J.D. Mesnard sponsored this bill.

Citizenlink covered these victories – read their story here.

Religious Freedom Bill Still Alive

Because of the support of Arizonans across the state, HB 2625 is one vote away from heading to the Governor’s desk. This is the bill that protects religiously-affiliated employers from being forced to violate their religious convictions by covering abortion-inducing drugs or contraception in their insurance plans. Despite the distortions and attacks, the truth about this bill has been made known. Find out how your representative voted here.

You can track the progress of this and the remaining CAP-supported bills in action with our online Bill Tracker or on our Facebook page.

Intern with CAP this Summer

We are accepting applications to intern with us this summer in the policy and communications departments. In such a critical election year, interns will get frontline experience working to promote foundational values in public policy. Click here for information on how to apply.

First: The Wake-Up Call

On Wednesday, the Arizona Senate delivered a wake-up call to all Arizonans who value religious liberty. Religious liberty – a first freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment – is in jeopardy. The Arizona Senate failed to pass CAP-supported HB 2625that would amend current state law and stand against the Obama administration’s federal health care mandates, both of which compel employers who provide health insurance to pay for abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptive drugs even in violation of sincerely held religious beliefs.Proposed by our friends at Alliance Defense Fund and Arizona Catholic Conference, HB 2625 is crucial to protecting the religious freedom of faith-based organizations and employers that have a religious objection to contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs, by simply allowing them to be exempt from the intrusive government mandate. The legislation does not block anyone from getting these medications. The debate centers on who will pay for it.

I’ve repeatedly said that CAP does not take a position on family planning or birth control. We do, however, take a very strong position in support and defense of religious liberty. Neither the government nor an individual should be able to compel anyone to violate his or her religious beliefs, and HB 2625 seeks to ensure that this does not occur.

Stand With Us For Religious Freedom
Yesterday Senator Nancy Barto moved to reconsider the HB 2625 vote, meaning that the Senate can vote again on the bill at a later date. Take time today to stand with us by taking the steps outlined in our Action Alert.

Now: the Praise Report – 4 Major Victories!
  • HB 2036 Passes Senate – The same Arizona Senate passed major, life-affirming legislation to prohibit abortions past 20 weeks and strengthening Arizona’s informed consent requirements. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 20-10 and now awaits a final House vote before going to Gov. Brewer.
  • HB 2626 to expand Arizona’s empowerment scholarship accounts program is on the Governor’s desk.
  • HB 2712, a bill to protect minors from harmful content on school and public library computers is also on the Governor’s desk.
  • HB 2770 to protect the religious liberty of university professors passed the Senate 21-9 and awaits a final House vote.

Things are moving fast – follow all the legislative action on our Facebook page or our Bill Tracker.

Dr. Tackett in Tucson!
On April 21, Dr. Del Tackett, creator of Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project, will be in Tucson for an exclusive CAP event at Victory Worship Center. Come explore God’s unique calling for you to engage to meet needs in the community around you and discover the specific opportunities you have to make a difference right where you live. Click here for details and to register.

A Movie Worth Seeing!
Take time this weekend to see the latest life-affirming movie, October Baby, now showing in 6 AZ theaters. This movie is the powerful story of a young woman in search of hope for the future, and what she finds is that life can be so much more than what you have planned.

I Saw the Light!

I cannot begin to express the gratitude my team and I feel towards all of the supporters that turned out this week for the CAP Family Dinners in Tucson and Scottsdale with Gov. Huckabee.

During one of the most contentious sessions of my lifetime at the state Capitol, I was truly blessed by the outpouring of love and encouragement from old and new friends.

Senator Nancy Barto summed up the evening well when she posted on Facebook:

Mike Huckabee at tonight’s CAP dinner was fantastic – so funny, but hit the main point: strong families prevent a whole host of social ills government spends its resources trying to fix. Thank you to everyone who supports CAP so Legislators can pass pro-family legislation.

This year’s CAP Family Dinner was unlike any other though, and here’s why:

Gov. Huckabee picked up a bass guitar and joined the Catalina Foothills Church praise and worship band on stage for a performance of “I Saw the Light” and “America the Beautiful.” It was the perfect conclusion to an inspiring evening.

Along with the many families and legislators that joined us, I want to especially thank my staff at CAP. I cannot think of another group of people who could have pulled off two successful events back-to-back in three weeks than the team we have here at CAP.

There was a lot that happened this week at the Capitol, and there’s a lot more coming next week. You can follow all of the action on Facebook. But today, let’s give thanks to the Lord for his grace, mercy, and abundant provision.

Good News! 16 CAP-Supported Bills Become Law

Today is a great day for everyone who calls Arizona home.

It’s been 90 days since the end of the 2011 legislative session, which means 16 Center for Arizona Policy (CAP)-supported bills take effect today. That’s 101 CAP-supported bills enacted into law since 1995!

These new laws make significant progress towards advancing the foundational values of life, marriage and family, and religious liberty in our state.

Victories like these never come without hard work, the support and prayers of people across Arizona, and the Lord’s blessing. Today would also be impossible if it wasn’t for the amazing 2010 elections, in which a two-thirds majority of pro-life, pro-family leaders were elected to the state House, Senate, and the governor’s office.

I’d like to share with you a very special message from two legislators who stand on the front lines every day at the state Capitol with CAP to promote and defend foundational principles.

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In His Hands,


 

Cathi Herrod
President, Center for Arizona Policy