March 20, 2014
POLI 1103-06 As a nurse in the healthcare field, I spend most of my days working twelve-hour shifts at Fairmont General Hospital. Within this profession you see a multitude of thrilling and inspiring cases that truly make this profession unique. To be a well-rounded nurse you must be culturally competent along with being understanding of others values and beliefs. I have been practicing for nearly a year and within that time I have never seen a patient be denied health care due to their religious or sexual beliefs.
In February of 2014, Arizona’s legislature proposed a bill, Arizona SB 1062, that’s purpose was to amend an existing law that gives any individual or legal entity an exemption from any state law if it substantially burdened their exercise of religion, including Arizona law requiring public accommodation. In layman’s terms, the bill essentially would grant Arizona business owners legal protection if they denied service to customers based on their sincere personal religious beliefs and practices. In order for Arizona Bill 1062 to become a law it first must pass a slew of provisions enforced by the system of checks and balances. Once a law becomes a discussion on the senate floor it has been in progress for an extended period of time. In American politics, these ideologies are simplified into terms such as liberal and conservative, democratic and republican. These two parties are divided on a number of personal beliefs. If a topic provides enough discord, it inevitably must be decided upon. In order to make sure every side is heard, certain “checks and balances” exist in the process of making a bill into a law. The Senate, president and the speaker of the house choose at their discretion, which bills will be read aloud for debate and which ones will be thrown out. The Senate president and speaker of the house then assign the bill to a subcommittee to be voted on.
Once the bill is voted on by the house it is sent to the Senate for another vote. This is designed to ensure that all voices and sides have their fair chance to get in their respective views. During this time, amendments can be made to the bills by the second source and then sent back to be voted on by the primary source. Assuming all of this goes by without opposition, the bill passes and then must be signed into law by the executive branch of the government. After a bill is signed into law, it is then only enforceable within its jurisdiction. Federalism gives states the ability to create laws, but if they conflict with Federal law, they will always be superseded by a higher Government institution. The Arizona topic is a perfect example of the checks and balances system in progress. The bill first passed the Senate on a party-line vote, 17-13, with Republicans in support. The bill then passed the House, 33-27, with mostly GOP support (Brewer n.p.). Three Republicans joined with all twenty-four Democrats to vote against it. The decision was then passed onto Governor Jan Brewer, who vetoed the bill on grounds that it was in violation of the fourteenth amendment (Brewer n.p.). The vetoing action of Jan Brewer is a perfect example of federalism, which is guided by the constitution. The first amendment of the Constitution clearly states that Congress is to keep a barrier between church and state affairs and is unable to enforce any law infringing upon religious freedom (Losco and Baker 437). In association with the Arizona Bill 1062, social conservatives and libertarian-minded members of the GOP argued that the legislation protected the First Amendment rights of business owners who are expressing their religious beliefs. Democrats argue that it was a clear attempt to allow discrimination against gays. Boasting a record of upholding religious freedom vetoing action, Governor Brewer stated:
Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I…