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Equality Policy Brief: Week One

Each week of the 2020 political season EQAZ will publish a policy update that summarizes the previous week and looks ahead to the coming week. You can expect this brief every Monday morning.

Legislative Brief: The Arizona legislature was reprimanded for their most extreme and direct attacks on queer youth when State Senator Sylvia Allen made headlines on an overreaching and biased sex education bill. Allen has been partnering with politically and religiously evangelical groups to push regressive stereotypes that leave children uninformed and exposed to unnecessary risk.  Following a massive public outcry, with Equality Arizona representing stakeholders including students, parents, and educations professionals – our members helped send thousands of emails and phone calls to the Senate President and Sen. Allen’s regressive SB1082 was removed from the committee agenda. While this bill will not be heard, your support and vigilance is still vital. We must keep the pressure against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that continues to pop up in our own State Legislature and around the country. We expect leaders in the Senate and House to continue an onslaught on anti-LGBTQ+ bills, attacks on transgender kids, blocks to healthcare access, barring LGBTQ+ families from thriving, and a continued defense of conversion therapy. With this in mind, we will continue working with State members to introduce and hear good bills around banning conversion therapy, inclusive sex-education, and protecting the rights on transgender and non-binary people. We can only do this if you continue to fight alongside us. Equality Arizona has identified bills that attack trans youth and adults in more than 12 states, and will work with our partners to ensure that we do not lose the rights we have secured moving forward. We ask our members to keep amplifying our message of equity. If we are not at the table, we are on the menu!  The last day for introduction of bills is February 10, meaning we have 24 days to see just how far the Republicans will opt-into cruelty and push to further marginalize our community. As 2020 is a huge election year, we want our community to come together and have the greatest turnout possible. LGBTQ+ people will go to the ballots over this. So far this session we are tracking 6 anti-LGBTQ+ bills and 5 pro-LGBTQ+ bills. We will keep you updated on each of these bills as the weeks move forward with details about how you can fight hateful bills and support bills that would make equality for LGBTQ+ people in Arizona real!

Education Brief: Tucson Unified School District Update: The Family Life Curriculum is now set to be approved in May, following parental participation in a district-wide teach-in sometime in mid-April. Parents will attend the curriculum that corresponds to their child and have options to experience a few lessons for different grade levels and give their feedback. This curriculum will start in 4th grade and is inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity, contraception, and consent. It is a religiously and politically neutral curriculum made in partnership with the Pima County Health Department. This will still be an opt-in supplemental program that requires a parent to sign a consent form before their child can participate in the learning activities. We continue to meet with school board members and parents to ensure that we advocate for the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQ kids in the Tucson Unified School District. Maricopa County School Districts Update: Equality Arizona successfully organized with Parents for Equity on behalf of our children in the Chandler Unified School District. Groups such as Purple for Parents are a small but loud minority of parents who are aggressively approaching school boards in Maricopa County & nationwide. Their aim is to chip away at hard won rights for LGBTQIA+ students. We will continue to organize with parent organizations across Maricopa County to counter the aims of this divisive parent group. They were able to temporarily undermine an Equity program which was adopted by the Chandler Unified School District. Our aim is to restore the Equity program & continue to protect trans & non-binary students who are being used as pawns in a war to destabilize public schools.

Federal Brief: The Arizona presidential preference election takes place on March 17 th , 2020. That means that if you want to participate in choosing the Democratic presidential candidate you must be registered as a Democrat and you must make sure that your registration is current before February 18 th , 2020. Last week the House of Representatives sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate. This means that the impeachment trial will proceed in the Senate. Only 3 presidents have been impeached by the House, including President Trump. Historically the Senate acquitted both President Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Senate President Mitch McConnell has already strategized with President Trump and his team on the Senate proceedings. This past weekend the Women’s March 2020 took place all over the United States, including in Arizona and Washington D.C., where the national march was held. Participants focused in on the impeachment of President Trump, urging the Senate to convict the President based on the evidence submitted during the House impeachment process.

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