Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) announced Monday that he and House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) have motioned to intervene in a court case to defend a state law banning biological men from participating in women’s sports because Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) has refused to do so herself.
“Like it or not, it is Attorney General Mayes’ job to defend state law the Legislature passes. Because she won’t do her job, I feel an obligation as House Speaker, and as a father of five daughters, to intervene in this case and stand up for women and girls who should not be forced to compete in sports with biological males, who have obvious and unfair physiological advantages that cannot be overlooked,” Toma said in a statement emailed to The Arizona Sun Times.
Withstanding a noisy opposition campaign, the Arizona Legislature passed two bills addressing heated issues involving transgenders, which will be sent to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to sign or veto. SB 1138 bans irreversible gender reassignment surgery for those under 18. SB 1165 prohibits males from participating in sports in public schools or at private schools that compete against public schools from playing on teams designated for girls.
Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), who co-sponsored SB 1165, testified regarding how she played on girls’ teams in high school, but would have never been able to make the men’s teams. “The advantages bestowed by biological male puberty are so big that no amount of training or talent can enable biological female athletes to overcome them,” she said.
Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax) and Senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) helped Republicans kill Senator Joe Morrissey’s (D-Richmond) SB 109, which would have expanded parole eligibility from people who were juveniles when sentenced to people under 21. Parole has been a key target of Virginia Republicans and tough-on-crime policy is a priority for them as they try to roll back criminal justice reforms passed by Democrats in previous years. Saslaw’s Thursday vote came the day after a committee meeting where he appeared flexible on instituting some mandatory minimums, also a Republican goal.
“Senate Bill 109 expands juvenile parole. During the 2020 General Assembly session, you all recall Senator Marsden’s bill that was Senate Bill 103 that allowed individuals who were sentenced as juveniles, and who have served 20 or more years, to be eligible for parole. That’s now the law. Senate Bill 109 expands the definition of juvenile and it changes it to youthful offender, which allows individuals who were 20 years of age or younger and who have served twenty years to become parole eligible,” Morrissey explained to the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 17.
Virginia became the first state in the south to abolish the death penalty when Governor Ralph Northam announced Thursday that he signed twin death-penalty repeal bills introduced by Delegate Mike Mullin (D-Newport News) and Senator Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax). Virginia joins 22 other states that have also repealed the death penalty.
Virginia is one step closer to abolishing the death penalty after a bill to do so passed the Senate Thursday.
SB 1165 passed by a vote of 21-17 along party lines, with one GOP Senator Bill Stanley (R-20th District) abstaining. Stanley originally co-sponsored the bill, but wanted to add a provision that would ensure murderers convicted of aggravated offenses would never be allowed out of prison.
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) showed his support Friday as a bill that would end the death penalty in the state passed through a subcommittee in the Virginia House of Delegates.
“The use of capital punishment has been inequitable. The administration strongly supports HB 2263 and abolishing the death penalty. The Office of [Gov. Northam],” Del. Mike Mullin (D-Newport News) said on Twitter, attributing the statement to Northam’s office.