Senate Bill 1318: It’s Not Just a Bill

The following post comes to us via Brittany Frew, who is (almost) a graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in marketing. She hopes to go into either advertising or health care, but mostly just hopes to get a job. Tweet @brittanyfrew with your comments!

Schoolhouse RockIn the aftermath of Arizona’s Senate Bill 1318, similar legislation is popping up all over the country. In Texas, SB 575 would prohibit the federal exchange and private health insurance from covering elective abortion. Arkansas recently passed HB 1578, which makes them the second state to require doctors to tell their patients that medication abortions can be reversed — a claim that isn’t based in scientific evidence. With a trend of attacks on the freedom of women nationwide, it’s important to be active in your state legislature.

Legislative hearings are the perfect opportunity to voice your opinions.

When I walked into the Arizona Capitol for a committee hearing on SB 1318, I thought I knew what I was in for. I mean, I’ve seen that Schoolhouse Rock! video, I know how laws work. I’m going to sit for a few minutes, the vote will be unanimous, and the bill and I will be on our merry way. However, much like one realizes that most of childhood was a lie, I realized that the beloved classic did not paint an accurate picture.

For one thing, the bill in question is not nearly as cute as the one from the video, with its little red sash and big dreams. If SB 1318 were to be caricatured, I think maybe it would be a caveman scroll, dragging a tiny paper club along the ground. Or better yet, maybe it would carry a sawed-off shotgun and some nunchucks.

schoolhouse rock yesThe video also missed another key character: the Sergeant of Arms. While the cartoon congressmen shot a thousand little yeses into the atmosphere after only minor nose bumping and chest poking, the decision in Hearing Room 5 was much more divided. The councilmembers of our committee had some of the usual banter, accompanied by personal attacks, interruptions, some tears, and a 30-minute recess (ENTER: Sergeant of Arms). Think less educational film, more daytime soap opera.

The most important character in all this is the kid with the red hair and striped shirt. There should be millions of people like him. These hearings are the perfect opportunity for citizens to voice their opinions, or even just show their support. By showing up to these hearings, you are showing the elected officials how their voters feel on abortion, or same-sex marriage, or taxes, or immigration, or any issue that is going to affect the state they live in and the people they love.

And for a college kid who can’t afford cable, I have to say they can be pretty entertaining, too.