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More bad words, for fuck's sake

Happy Arizona Centennial, everybody! Yes, it has been one hundred years since Arizona was admitted to statehood, and I do think that it’s too late for second thoughts. I know that the Grand Canyon State is not up there with the big boys in terms of entertaining crime and mismanagement, but it does fairly well for a young ’un. I mean, how many states have actually sold the state capitol building and leased it back? That takes more than corruption, that takes imagination.

To celebrate the Centennial, then, here’s SB1467 introduced to the Arizona State Senate, a short and sweet bill to illustrate exactly why we need to elect professional legislators to do our legislating rather than leaving it to the guy with the sandwich board. I can’t help it, I am going to include the full text that is proposed to be made the law of the Southwest:

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Title 15, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 15-108, to read:

A. If a person who provides classroom instruction in a public school engages in speech or conduct that would violate the standards adopted by the federal communications commission concerning obscenity, indecency and profanity if that speech or conduct were broadcast on television or radio:
         1. For the first occurrence, the school shall suspend the person, at a minimum, for one week of employment, and the person shall not receive any compensation for the duration of the suspension. This paragraph does not prohibit a school after the first occurrence from suspending the person for a longer duration or terminating the employment of that person.
         2. For the second occurrence, the school shall suspend the person, at a minimum, for two weeks of employment, and the person shall not receive any compensation for the duration of the suspension. This paragraph does not prohibit a school after the second occurrence from suspending the person for a longer duration or terminating the employment of that person.
         3. For the third occurrence, the school shall terminate the employment of the person. This paragraph does not prohibit a school after the first or second occurrence from terminating the employment of that person.

B. For the purposes of this section, "public school" means a public preschool program, a public elementary school, a public junior high school, a public middle school, a public high school, a public vocational education program, a public community college or a public university in this state.

Charlie Pierce pointed out (linking Angus Johnston over at Student Activism, who got it first) that the schmuck who put this together has included in the text all speech or conduct, not just in-classroom conduct. A schoolteacher must be suspended without pay for saying fuck in the privacy of his own home; a schoolteacher must be suspended without pay for engaging in carnal knowledge of her spouse; a schoolteacher must be suspended without pay for urinating. All of those things would violate FCC standards if they were filmed and broadcast; all of those things and much, much more would be grounds for termination if repeated. Yes, this law makes bowel movements, in the bathroom, at home, an offence that is not open to discussion but has a mandatory minimum sentence. Three shits and you’re out.

This is because the law was written by morons whose contempt for legislation doesn’t extend to understanding what it is and how it works. Of course, even if it were written properly, it specifically includes the university system; a law school professor in a course on communications law could not show anything that had been judged a violation. A theater prof would have to elide the David Mamet scripts; a Chaucer prof would have to use a bowdlerized text (a very heavily bowdlerized text); an Art History teacher would have to pixilate the slides. This may be what the legislative lunatics actually want, but it’s plain crazy.

And then, leaving aside how badly written and conceived this law is, the whole existence of the thing must be due to some imbecile somewhere believing that in the absence of the law, currently, on our planet, grade school teachers who wave their dicks at the students cannot be fired. That there are kindergarten teachers with four-letter words on the curriculum and that the administration has sweet fuck-all to do about it. That M.I.A. has deposed the AFT.

Now, Your Humble Blogger went to public school in Arizona, and while I think I have mostly recovered from it, the trauma was not due to the indecencies and obscenities of my teachers.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

Comments

My admittedly vague impression is that a lot of legislation is proposed by people who are trying to make a point, and who don't expect it to pass, and who perhaps don't even really want it to pass. I could be wrong about that, and it could be another argument against people who aren't professionals, of course.


When I was in, I think, sixth or seventh grade, my class had an interesting project where we went to the state house, and learned all about how a bill becomes a law and all that, and we went over the list of bills, and each picked an interesting-looking bill to follow.

Every single bill picked by every student in the class died in committee.

It was an education, though perhaps not the one the teacher intended.


It's true that many bills get introduced and sponsored by legislators who have no interest in the passage of them; this could well be one of them. I have nothing against the introduction of symbolic legislation, legislation intended to get people on record as supporting or opposing something. But even a bill that has no chance of passing, that is designed not to have any chance of passing, should be written properly.

As for Jacob's project… I will have some difficulty, when my Perfect Non-Reader learns about How a Bill Becomes a Law, keeping my mouth shut. Or not singing about how a bill, just a bill, dies in committee, but then becomes a rider on an otherwise unconnected piece of legislation, and when that rider is lined out by amendment, mysteriously reappears in the conference committee version. OK, it doesn't scan.

Thanks,
-V.


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