With all the excitement about Arizona's new immigration enforcement efforts, most do not realize that the state legislature also passed a number of other measures to protect its citizens. While governments from Los Angeles to Boston to Highland Park, Illinois make plans to avoid Arizona, many conservatives, veterans, and gun owners might want to consider the other things Governor Brewer signed in the last few months.
House Bill 2684 becomes law on 29 July after Governor Brewer signed it on May 3, 2010. This law requires that the nationally recognized Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Flag (POW/MIA) be flown over the state capitol building, superior court buildings, city or town halls, and each county seat. It also establishes specific protocols of how to properly display the POW/MIA flag. It is a fitting reminder of the veterans and the cost of the Vietnam War. House Bill 2350 provides a tuition waiver for Purple Heart recipients who also have a 50% or greater disability from the Veterans Administration. But if you're a wounded warrior, don't plan on moving to Arizona to take advantage of the benefit -- written into the law is a stipulation that the wounded trooper must have been either a resident of Arizona or stationed at an Arizona military installation at the time of deployment resulting in the injury to be eligible for the tuition waiver. The board of regents of many universities attempted to block similar legislation in the past. This law provides the same tuition waiver available to employees of schools such as the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. Governor Brewer signed this bill, also. Senate Bill 1108 will cause the liberal left, and people like Chicago's Mayor Daley, to continue to talk about how terrible Arizona is. SB 1108 is called the Constitutional Carry Law and permits any Arizona resident over the age of 21 without a felony record to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. Similar legislation was vetoed by former governor Janet Napolitano in the recent past. It passed this year with a 36-to-9 vote in the House of Representatives and a 20-to-10 vote in the Senate. And, yes, the governor signed it on April 16. Finally, House Bill 2281 is making liberal educators in Arizona go crazy. The bill is "billed" as another example of racism in Arizona. But like Senate Bill 1070, a thorough reading shows the facts. The facts are that this bill does not ban ethnic studies. It does state that "public school pupils should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of its people." It further states that schools in Arizona shall not include in its instruction classes that include "any of the following -- 1. Promote the overthrow of the United States Government. 2. Promote resentment toward a race or class of people. 3. Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group. 4. Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals." Criminal! Terrible! No more studies of Che Guevara, the Argentine Marxist revolutionary who incited violent communist revolutions throughout Latin America. Disregard the fact that the textbook used in Tucson school district's ethnic classes, Chicano!, does not explain that Guevara was a communist, or that he taught and supported violence. Also forget about the students in Tucson who use the raised fist as a symbol of resistance in the classroom and on campus and wear the brown shirts and brown berets that characterized of Guevara and his revolutionary ideals.
Just as in other well-thought-out legislation in Arizona this session, HB 2281 ensures that part of the education system is protected. The bill protects classes for Native Americans and ensures that schools are permitted to group pupils according to academic performance -- particularly as it relates to their ability to speak English. It further states that classes that include the history of any ethnic group that are open to all students are permitted. It does not prevent the discussion of controversial aspects of history and "nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict or prohibit the instruction of the holocaust, any other instance of genocide, or the historical oppression of a particular group of people based on ethnicity, race or class."
Again, Arizona's legislators put a failsafe in the bill. Again, Governor Brewer signed it into law.
I may be old-fashioned, but legislation that remembers POWs and those MIA from Vietnam, gives educational breaks to Purple Heart recipients who are 50% disabled, allows law-abiding citizens to carry firearms in order to protect themselves, and ensures that students are not taught violent, communist ideology in the classroom is not racist. It is patriotic.
It is responsible government. Like what you see? Come to Arizona.
TJ Woodard is a retired Army officer who lives less than ten miles from the Mexican border.