Ducey Acted Maliciously With Veto Of Sex Ed Bill

Ducey Acted Maliciously With Veto Of Sex Ed Bill

By Diane Douglas, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction 2015-2018 |

When it came to SB1456 (sex ed instruction, parental rights), IF I were a bettin’ woman, I would have been betting Governor Doug Ducey would take the cowardly way out and have allowed the bill to pass into law without his signature.

Instead Ducey took the malicious way out – on so many levels. He vetoed SB1456 and replaced it with yet another worthless Lord Ducey decree – Executive Order 2021-11. One can’t help but wonder if this veto isn’t a bone Ducey threw to Kathy “no promo homo” Hoffman as it came just one day after he rescinded the school mask mandate she loved so much. But I digress.

Ducey’s statement in the veto letter that sex education in Arizona is “Opt-In” is disingenuous at best; if for no other reason than the conflicts and loopholes in statute – none of which were addressed in his executive order.

ARS 15-102(A) (4) reads: If a school district offers any sex education curricula pursuant to section 15-711 or 15-716 or pursuant to any rules adopted by the state board of education, procedures to prohibit a school district from providing sex education instruction to a pupil unless the pupil’s parent provides written permission for the child to participate in the sex education curricula. (All emphasis mine)

OPT-IN

Except ARS 15-716(E), which defines requirements for HIV/AIDS instruction, reads: At the request of a parent, a pupil shall be excused from instruction on the acquired immune deficiency syndrome and the human immunodeficiency virus as provided in subsection A of this section. The school district shall provide a description of the course curriculum to all parents and notify all parents of their ability to withdraw their child from the instruction.

OPT-OUT

ARS 15-102 (A)(5) reads: Procedures by which parents will be notified in advance of and given the opportunity to withdraw their children from any instruction or presentations regarding sexuality in courses other than formal sex education curricula.

OPT-OUT

And I would remind parents that when the Genderbread Person was taught in a Flagstaff school it was brought into an elementary English Language Arts class. And while technically the teacher notified parents “in advance” the actual subject of the lesson and content of the instruction was not disclosed to parents.

So which is it – opt-in or opt-out? As any good attorney will no doubt tell you the answer is – it depends. But I can virtually assure parents under current law it will be whichever is most expedient for the district, which is opt-out.

SB1456 would have corrected these contradictions in statute and made Arizona truly an opt-in state.

But most importantly what SB1456 would have prohibited is the sexualization of children in Kindergarten through 4th grade.

Ducey’s “rationalization” for his veto of this vital protection for our youngest students is that SB1456 will stand “in the way of important child abuse prevention education in the early grades for at risk and vulnerable children.” It would be laughable if the subject was not so serious and his veto not more threatening to susceptible children.  Exposing these young children to comprehensive sex education can for some children have the effect of desensitizing them and making them MORE vulnerable and, in the wrong hands, potentially groom them for sexual abuse.

Child abuse and comprehensive sex education are NOT one and the same and should NEVER be put under the same umbrella. Isn’t child abuse protection services one of the reasons Ducey added $20 million to the $15 million in grant funding for school counselors and social workers?

Any parents who has ever tried to get a school district to provide them access to instruction materials – before or after the fact – knows Arizona is NOT the land of parental rights that Ducey paints in his veto letter. Parental rights statutes in Arizona are about as effective as an old, toothless guard dog. There are no consequences for districts, schools or teachers that don’t comply with statute and fulfill the parent’s request for instructional materials.

As for Ducey’s self-congratulatory back slapping about encompassing what he deems the “heart of the bill” – parent “involvement” and online availability of sex ed curriculum – could have just as easily and effectively been expanded through State Board of Education rules which already set requirement for public meetings to review and adopt sex ed curricula. But whether by executive order or SBE rulemaking neither have stability nor durability of Arizona Revised Statutes. It has become very apparent over the past 13 months that our governor no longer respects a representative form of government for Arizona and continues to rule by decree rather than govern. But, again, I digress.

But no, Governor Ducey, the true heart of SB1456 was protecting the innocence of our youngest, students, ages 5 to 9 years old. Nothing is more important that safeguarding our precious children at the earliest ages, actually all ages, from the evil of Alfred C. Kinsey, Siecus and Planned Parenthood’s comprehensive sexual instruction and indoctrination. Well, nothing other than teaching our children to read, write and do arithmetic something else at which our system fails.

I’m sure glad that I am not a bettin’ woman because betting on Doug Ducey to protect parental rights and children’s innocence is a losing proposition – big time.

Ducey Acted Maliciously With Veto Of Sex Ed Bill

Arizonans Deserve Better Than Legislators Trying To Triple Their Own Compensation

By Diane Douglas, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction 2015-2018 |

In the words of the famed NY Yankee catcher, Yogi Berra, “it’s like déjà vu all over again!”

In 2019, during the very last, wee hours of the legislative session the legislators passed SB1558 attempting to TRIPLE their per diem compensation.

This year’s attempt, by virtue of an eleventh hour “strike everything” amendment to HB2053, is to give themselves a very significant increase in their per diem because a salary increase must be passed by the voters. It’s probably safe to assume that such shenanigans would have been attempted last year as well had the session not been prematurely preempted thanks to the Covid “crisis.”

This session the legislators propose to increase Maricopa County legislators per diem from $35 to $56 for meals each day of the session. Legislators outside Maricopa County per diem increases from $60 to $207 – $56 for meals and $151 for lodging for every day in session.

Legislators are paid a salary of $24,000. This may not seem like a lot however consider that this is for a 100 day session (which includes in that count Saturdays, Sundays and Fridays when committee meetings or floor sessions are virtually never conducted and most have already left for home). Prorate that 100 days to the 260 days full time Arizonans work it equates to $62,400 per annum. Not bad, especially when considering that for many the legislature is a second job. Many of them have another career or are collecting at least one if not more, oft times government, retirements or own very successful businesses or charter schools for which they write the laws or all of the above.

But I digress, back to the per diem.

If nothing else, legislators should treat themselves by the same rules and standards which they impose on state employees.

But wait, state employees are not entitled to meal allowances unless they are traveling on state business and then, if I’m not mistaken, must be outside a 50 miles radius to qualify for meal or travel allowances. They are not given a meal allowance to buy their daily lunch at their assigned work site (nor are they frequently, if ever, the guests of lobbyists) so neither should Maricopa legislators.

For those legislators outside Maricopa County, in addition to the meal allowance, they will all receive the same travel per diem, $151, regardless of how close or far they are from the Capitol. Whether they travel the 190 or so miles from Kingman in Mohave County or Sierra Vista in Cochise County and stay in Phoenix Monday through Thursday; or travel the 40 miles home nightly to Apache Junction in Pinal County or Black Canyon City in Yavapai County the per diem is the same.

A benefit, by the way, that is not provided to a Maricopa County legislator should he/she live in Gila Bend almost 70 miles from the Capitol.  In my opinion the same 50 mile radius that applies to state employees should likewise apply to legislators regardless of their county of residence.

Finally, the per diem will be tied to the annual federal per diem rate for Maricopa County as determined by the United States General Services Administration and adjusted annually without future legislative action.

But let’s put all that aside. The real issue not just the “how much” – some will argue too much, others not enough.  It is the “how” that matters most.

In 2019 it was a bill slammed through at the last moments before the legislators voted to Sine Die at 12:58am. This session it is done through a “strike everything” amendment to HB2053. If that were not bad enough, allegedly part of the “deal”, to get Maricopa legislators to support this strike everything amendment, is to raise the Maricopa legislators’ lunch money as well. 30 pieces of silver this Easter Week, well, okay 21.

HB2053 originally entitled “superior court clerk; salary”, now titled “salary; superior court clerk” but nothing to indicate the true legislative intent of the amendment. – giving themselves an extra $2,100 for those in Maricopa and $14,700 for those outside.

(I’ve written about this legislative game of strike-all shenanigans in the past here.)

Legislators’ salary increases are supposed to be referred to the voters for approval however their “per diem” is defined in statute which takes no more than a majority and signature to increase. Effectively giving themselves what the voters will not – increased compensation.

If per diem is really just a backdoor way for legislators to do an end run around the taxpayers and give themselves a substantial increase in their compensation that the voters have not or are not otherwise willing to approve then, at the very least, legislators should be transparent and honest about it. Drop an appropriately titled bill at the beginning of the session. Do not do it through late night bills on the way out the door or late session “strike everything” amendments.

Especially after a year when untold numbers of Arizonans have lost their jobs and countless small business have had to close their doors Arizonans deserve better from their elected officials than the same old games. Deja vu Yogi, deja vu.