On Monday, the Arizona Senate passed the “Glenn Martin Act” unanimously requiring hospitals to allow daily, in-person family visitation. Only the Arizona State Hospital will be exempt from this bill, HB2633.
The bill now heads to the governor for final approval.
State Representative Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott Valley) explained during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in February that the wife of the bill’s namesake, Glenn Martin, was unable to visit or serve as a patient advocate for her husband while he lay dying in the hospital. The Martins were married 38 years. Nguyen read a letter from Martin’s wife.
“The reality is, a complete stranger was the one who got to hold Glenn’s hand to comfort him, and to sit next to him as he said his final, dying words. This should have been me,” read the letter. “How would you feel if your spouse or child was left to take their final breath without you there to kiss them gently and ensure them [of] how much they were loved?”
In a tweet announcing the Senate’s passage of the bill, Nguyen reiterated the message of the letter from Martin’s wife.
“No one should die alone,” asserted Nguyen.
Last year, Nguyen sponsored a similar bill on hospital visitation policies, HB2575, to ensure that terminal patients have a right to have clergy visitation — even during a pandemic. Governor Doug Ducey signed that bill into law last May.
As AZ Free News reported earlier this year, Arizonans testified in favor of a similar clergy and visitation rights bill from State Senator Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix): SB1514. That bill was passed in the Senate but never made it to the House floor. Those Arizonans in support of SB1514 recounted their own experiences with hospitals preventing them from visiting their loved ones due to COVID-19 policies.
In addition to their inability to visit their sick and dying loved ones, the families explained that the policies rendered them unable to serve as health care advocates to their loved ones — similar to what Glenn Martin’s wife described.
The House will soon vote on a bill to allow college faculty and students to carry and possess firearms on campus property. The bill, HB2447, would only require that faculty and students submit notification to their administration that they are armed and possess a concealed carry permit. In the state of Arizona, individuals must be 21 or older to receive a valid concealed carry permit, or 19 and older for active military and veterans. The bill would extend to all higher education campuses — community colleges as well as four-year colleges and universities — and require them to adopt guidelines for firearm usage during an active shooter situation.
The House Rules Committee passed the bill on Monday. The House Judiciary Committee passed the bill last month along party lines, 6-4.
While House Judiciary Committee Republicans viewed the bill as a further defense of Second Amendment rights and increased, committee Democrats conveyed concern that allowing more guns on campuses would decrease safety. The bill sponsor, State Representative Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott Valley), cited how Texas passed a bill ensuring the same rights in 2016, SB11. Nguyen serves as the Arizona Rifle and Pistol Association president currently and is a certified CCW instructor, firearms safety instructor, rifle coach, and previously a state director for a junior rifle team overseeing competitors aged 12 to 20.
Arizona State University (ASU) Police Chief Michael Thompson insisted that college students lack the maturity to carry a firearm. Thompson said that students should leave it up to the professionals on campus: law enforcement and security.
“The notion that a CCW training is going to prevent some kind of mass shooting on campus is a fantasy,” said Thompson. “They are still in a very developmental stage in their lives, and they tend to not think through consequences and have issues with their actions at many occasions. It’s increasing and adding a risk to a campus that’s not necessary.”
Chairman Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake) explained that while in the military he oversaw platoons of hundreds of young men in the very age bracket that Thompson criticized: 18 to 23 years old. Blackman said that, based on his experience, he disagreed with Thompson’s assessment that college students
Thompson rebutted that the 18 to 23 years old in the military are soldiers “with training and supervision,” whereas those in college would be “intoxicated” and “in their dorm room, showing off rifles and handling pistols.”
Nguyen’s subsequent line of questioning prompted a heated exchange between the legislator and Thompson.
Nguyen responded that Thompson’s characterization of ASU’s climate made the case for necessitating concealed carry. He added that young adults may vote and even be drafted to serve in the military at 18, and cited his own daughter as an example, who finished six weeks of boot camp before turning 18 and received a firearm as part of her assignment.
“You kind of scare me when you start talking about kids drinking and doing drugs and being irresponsible. You just made a case for me to not send my kids to ASU,” said Nguyen. “Or you’re making the case for me that if I send my 21-year-old daughter to ASU, she should be armed to protect herself from all the drugs and the drug users on campus.”
Thompson said that his issue wasn’t with concealed carry generally, but with the ability for any states’ concealed carry permit to be permissible for use on college campuses. Nguyen questioned Thompson why concealed carry permits existed at all if those permits were questionable, or why Arizona allows reciprocity.
Minority Whip Domingo DeGrazia (D-Tucson) expressed concern that concealed carry permits may be obtained through an online course and a 15-minute interview with an instructor.
State Representative Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott) introduced HB2449, a bill to ensure that long-term care facility residents have a right to visitation from clergymen. According to the bill, a care facility must allow clergy visitation if they allow any in-person visitation of any kind, even during a state of emergency. Additionally, care facilities must allow clergy visitation when a patient’s death is imminent and either the patient or their representative requests the visit. The bill covered any health concerns by allowing care facilities to impose health and safety precautions on clergymen, and barring visitors from holding the care facility liable for contracting any communicable diseases during their visit.
If a care facility denies clergy visitation, the requestor or religious organization would have the right to take legal action against the facility. The legislation would apply to assisted living centers, facilities, and homes; hospice; and institutions that provide nursing care or residential care.
Nguyen hearkened back to the restrictive visitation protocols imposed for the better part of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced severe isolation upon the hospitalized and elderly. In a statement, Nguyen insisted that one’s spiritual health bears equal importance to physical health.
“Some of the restrictive visitation policies put in place by facilities during the coronavirus pandemic ended up having consequences far beyond that of protecting patient health,” said Nguyen. “Onerous restrictions detrimentally separated patients from their families, clergy, and others for long periods. For many, spiritual care is as important as health care. It must also be accommodated when providing comfort and support for patients in long-term care facilities. My bill will help ensure that it is.”
Sweeping visitation bans on care facilities led to the rapid physical and mental decline of residents, with families nationwide reporting observations of their loved ones declining rapidly in their “COVID Isolation” and dying of loneliness, broken hearts, and neglect.
The bill attracted nearly all House Republicans as cosponsors with the exception of State Representatives Tim Dunn (R-Yuma), Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley), John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), Joanne Osborne (R-Goodyear), and Michelle Udall (R-Mesa).
There were several senators who signed on as cosponsors as well: State Senators Paul Boyer (R-Glendale) and Sine Kerr (R-Buckeye).
Nguyen’s bill has yet to be considered by the legislature.
Employers who mandate COVID-19 vaccinations as a prerequisite to employment or continued employment could be held liable for damages if an employee is denied a religious exemption and then suffers significant injury due to the vaccine, according to legislation introduced Friday by State Rep. Quang Nguyen.
“The reality is COVID-19 is going to be with us for a long time,” Nguyen said of his motivation for the bill. “If businesses and employers are intent on mandating vaccinations as a condition of employment, they should be held accountable if their employees face serious harm or illness.”
Some COVID-19 vaccines have been granted liability protection from the federal government, which limits the options for affected individuals who are injured in connection to a vaccination. Current state law only provides for an affected employee to seek recourse via the workers’ compensation system.
Nguyen, a Republican, serves Legislative District 1 which includes Prescott and portions of Yavapai and Maricopa counties. His HB2043 creates a separate pathway for an employee to seek recourse if they are significantly injured due to a mandated vaccine after being denied a religious exemption.
“This is one of the most important bills I’m introducing this coming session,” Nguyen said. “Public and private health mandates are not a good solution and could instead cause harm in some cases.”
According to the current bill language, anaffected employee who prevails in state court could be entitled to at least $500,000 in actual damages. Punitive damages could also be sought in cases where egregious or malicious conduct is alleged.
Another 11 representatives have signed on to HB2043 as co-sponsors.
Arizona State Representatives Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott Valley), a refugee from communist Vietnam, and House Majority Leader Ben Toma (R-Peoria), whose family emigrated from communist Romania, announced their intent to sponsor a bill establishing anti-communist civics education for K-12 students. The legislation would require social studies curriculum to include a contrast of this country’s founding principles with conflicting political ideologies. In order to accomplish this inclusion, the State Board of Education (SBE) would work with experts in civics and government structures.
Nguyen plans to introduce the bill in the upcoming legislative session. In a press release, Nguyen cited his loss and continued hardship due to communism as the inspiration behind the bill. The legislator fled from the Communist Party of Vietnam at 12 years old in April 1975 – a week before the Fall of Saigon. Ngyen reiterated the importance of knowing history in order to not repeat it.
“This is very personal to me, as someone who has survived a communist war,” said Nguyen. “I have lost very close family members to the evil ideology of communism. I know what it feels to lose a nation to communism and that’s why I do not want my fellow Arizonans to ever go through what I have. It is up to us to ensure that future generations have an honest understanding of what communism truly is and the horrors it has produced for mankind. Otherwise, it is likely to be repeated. The victims and survivors of communism deserve to have their voice heard.”
Toma emigrated to America when he was nine years old in the 1980s. In an interview with Scena9, a Romanian publication, Toma offered an anecdote about life under the regime of the communist dictator at the time, Nicolae Ceaușescu. Ceaușescu and his wife were executed by firing squad on Christmas Day in 1989, the culmination of the Romanian Revolution that ended the 42-year-old communist regime.
“Toma […] still remembers some of the absurdities that people would need to do for those in power. He claims that, before Ceaușescu visited their town, Șăulia, people painted the grass green and hung fake apples in the trees, even if it wasn’t summer yet, so Ceaușescu would feel satisfied by his country’s prosperity,” reported Scena9.
In the press release, Toma concurred with Nguyen’s insistence on the importance of a civics education informing students about the truth of communism.
“I believe in America and its cornerstone principles of liberty, freedom, and democracy,” said Toma. “I also believe that we have a solemn obligation to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders. This legislation strengthens a student’s foundation in civic literacy and understanding of what makes our nation exceptional, and how it stands in stark contrast to dangerous ideologies, such as communism and totalitarianism, that would have our founding principles erased from history.”
The legislators’ announcement comes after months of Democratic colleagues insisting that current hot button ideologies like white nationalism posed a bigger threat than communism. During a floor session in June, Nguyen fired back at those same claims made by State Representative Daniel Hernandez (D-Tucson). Hernandez implied that subjects like white nationalism and the January 6 incident demanded greater attention in classrooms than communism.
“You know, I just recently heard somebody say that […] communism is not the enemy, but white nationalism [is]. So, let me tell you something about white nationalism. White nationalism didn’t drown 250,000 Vietnamese in the South China sea. The communists did,” stated Nguyen. “White nationalism did not execute 86,000 South Vietnamese at the Fall of Saigon. Communists did. White nationalism did not put me here. Communism did. So don’t take it lightly. Don’t mock me. Don’t mock what I go through in life. It’s rough. I lost most of my cousins, my family members due to communism. If we don’t stand up to teach communism to our children, we’ll lose this country. So sir, don’t mock me.”
The K-12 budget bill originally included a provision requiring schools to teach how political ideologies like communism conflicted with American principles of freedom and democracy. Courts voided that bill, HB 2898, for not abiding by the state’s single subject rule for legislation.