Arizona's legislature can't agree on a budget, but it appears that the legislature will be quick to agree on the latest piece of legislation from the Center for Arizona Policy, a "pro-family" organization which promotes a "biblical worldview" and is reportedly one of the most influential lobbyists in the state.
HB 2770 passed the House Committee on Higher Education, Innovation and Reform on Wednesday. The bill would bar using an applicant's political or religious beliefs in hiring or tenure decisions made by public universities and community colleges.
The bill's sponsor echoes complaints by GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich who believe that there is a liberal and secular bias in universities.
No one could provide any evidence to the House committee that there was bias against conservatives and their religious beliefs. Deborah Sheasby, an attorney with the Center for Arizona Policy explained to radio talk show host that Mike Broomhead on Thursday that although there were no public complaints of discrimination based on political or religious views, the bill was intended to be "proactive."
"Unfortunately, it's the case here in our state and around the country that there are incidents going on where people of faith, people of conservative ideology [...] are actually being discriminated against because of their religious and political beliefs," she told Broomhead, even though she could cite no specific incidents in Arizona. She said that people have complained about this confidentially, saying that they had to hide their religious or political beliefs so that they would not be "blackballed" in their careers.