Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Another GOP bill with unintended consequences

Sold to the GOP supermajority in the Arizona Legislature as a way to stifle organized labor , SB1363 "Employer protections; labor relations" actually nixes one of the Radical Right's favorite ongoing protest activities -- picketing Planned Parenthood clinics.

A fact sheet prepared by House staff says:
SB 1363 outlines regulations regarding unlawful picketing, trespassory assembly, unlawful mass assembly and defamation, and establishes a no trespass public notice list.
The bill added the following language to Arizona Revised Statutes on granting of an injunction against harassment:

R. For the purposes of this section, "harassment" means a series of acts over any period of time that is directed at a specific person and that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed and the conduct in fact seriously alarms, annoys or harasses the person and serves no legitimate purpose. Harassment includes unlawful picketing, trespassory assembly, unlawful mass assembly, concerted interference with lawful exercise of business activity and engaging in a secondary boycott as defined in section 23-1321 and defamation in violation of section 23-1325.
Now, ARS Title 23 is titled "Labor."  But the language added above is NOT limited to labor disputes.

SB1363 defines "harassment" as:
"Harassment" means a single threat or act of physical harm or damage or a series of acts over any period of time that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed or annoyed AND INCLUDES UNLAWFUL PICKETING, TRESPASSORY ASSEMBLY, UNLAWFUL MASS ASSEMBLY, CONCERTED INTERFERENCE WITH LAWFUL EXERCISE OF BUSINESS ACTIVITY AND ENGAGING IN A SECONDARY BOYCOTT AS DEFINED IN SECTION 23-1321 AND DEFAMATION IN VIOLATION OF SECTION 23-1325

Further, SB1363 directs the Arizona Secretary of State to make and keep a list of businesses that do not want to be picketed.

This bill does, in fact, target employee organizations directly and severely. Bill sponsors actually intended to cause negative impacts in those situations.  But I'm not so sure Jack Harper and Frank Antenori actually intended to squelch abortion protestors.

Look for this issue to come up for more controversy in the weeks and months ahead.

3 comments:

  1. Even with its "unintended consequences", SB1363 is highly unconstitutional as it restricts the free speech rights and freedom of assembly rights of anyone wishing to picket an institution.

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  2. @PhoenixJustice,

    I agree. It also smacks of the kind of attack on the people of Arizona that has caused an uproar in Wisconsin.

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  3. @Steve,

    What's worse, your posting is the first that I have heard of SB1363. With all of the media attention focused solely on the immigration issues in the AZ Legislature, this one snuck under the radar.

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