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Arizona Governor has Faced Many Hot-Button Bills

Monday Feb 24, 2014
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Opponents of the SB1062, a religious freedom bill, urged Gov. Brewer to veto the bill during a protest rally.
Opponents of the SB1062, a religious freedom bill, urged Gov. Brewer to veto the bill during a protest rally.  (Source:AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Cheryl Evans)

In the coming days, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will have to decide whether to sign a proposal to let business owners with strongly held religious beliefs refuse service to gays. The measure is among a spate of hot-button bills the Legislature has sent to the governor since she took office in January 2009.

Here’s a look at how Brewer handled other proposals:

- IMMIGRATION: Lawmakers passed Arizona’s landmark immigration law in April 2010 in an attempt to push the bounds of what local police officers can do to confront illegal immigration. The law drew sharp criticism from immigrant rights advocates, led to an economic boycott of the state, drew a legal challenge from the Obama administration and inspired lawmakers in five other states to adopt variations of the statute. In signing the measure into law, Gov. Jan Brewer solidified her prospects in the 2010 gubernatorial race. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law’s most contentious section in 2012 but struck down other sections.

- BORDER FENCE: Brewer signed into law a 2011 bill allowing the state to build fencing along Arizona’s border with Mexico using millions of dollars in private money. No fences have been erected as a result of the state’s efforts. Donations dried up after only a fraction of the funding was in hand.

- GUNS-BARS: Brewer signed into law a 2009 proposal that lets Arizonans with concealed-weapons permits take a handgun into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. The law requires bar and restaurant owners who want to ban weapons on the premises to post a "no guns" sign next to the business’ liquor license. Drinking while carrying a weapon is illegal. Opponents said mixing guns and alcohol produces a dangerous combination. Supporters said people should be able to protect themselves at businesses that serve alcohol.


More than 200 marchers walk from the Wingspan office along North Fourth Avenue to the Governor’s office at 400 W Congress St. in Tucson, Ariz.  (Source:AP Photo/ Arizona Daily Star, A.E. Araiza)

- OBAMA-BIRTH CERTIFICATE: Brewer vetoed a 2011 bill that would have required President Barack Obama and other presidential candidates to prove their U.S. citizenship before their names could appear on the state’s ballot. In rejecting the measure, the governor said she was troubled that the bill empowered Arizona’s secretary of state to judge the qualifications of all candidates when they file to run for office. She said picking one person as the gatekeeper to the ballot could to lead to arbitrary or politically motivated decisions.

- CONTRACEPTION: Brewer signed into law a bill in May 2012 that relaxed Arizona’s requirement for health plans to cover contraception. Under the law, employers that identify themselves as religiously oriented organizations can drop contraception coverage for birth control purposes. It stirred months of debate over its potential impact on women’s health coverage and privacy concerns. Supporters say the law is a protection for religious freedom, while critics called it an attack on women.

- GUNS-GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS: Brewer vetoed a 2011 proposal that would have let people carry guns into most government buildings that don’t have armed guards or metal detectors. Brewer, who describes herself as a gun-rights backer, said the bill’s many provisions on various firearms topics lacked clarity, including on where guns would have been allowed. Critics called it an unfunded mandate on local governments because of the security costs that would be needed to ban guns. Supporters said the bill would have allowed gun owners to defend themselves if attacked in a public building that has no security in place.

- 20-WEEK ABORTION BAN: Brewer signed into law a 2012 ban on most abortions in Arizona after 20 weeks of pregnancy, well before the 24 weeks where a fetus is considered viable. Last year, a federal appeals court said such bans violate a long string of Supreme Court rulings starting with the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. The U.S. Supreme Court in December refused Arizona’s appeal of that ruling.


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