‘Show me your papers’ — before you pee

Reported by Brahm Resnik

I was talking to City of Phoenix staffers a few weeks ago about expanding the anti-discrimination ordinance to cover LGBT residents — you know, the “bathroom bill.”

This was a few days before the six-hour City Council hearing — an endless stream of public comments — where the ordinance was approved.

One of the staffers told me he believed that Arizona law was silent on whether a man could enter a women’s public bathroom or a woman could enter a men’s room (I checked; he was right).

“Don’t let Cathi Herrod know,” he said. “She might try to change it.”

I think she does. I think she is.

Now there is a “bathroom bill” before the state Legislature — “show me your papers” before you pee. Read it:

A PERSON COMMITS DISORDERLY CONDUCT IF THE PERSON INTENTIONALLY ENTERS A PUBLIC RESTROOM, BATHROOM, SHOWER, BATH, DRESSING ROOM OR LOCKER ROOM AND A SIGN INDICATES THAT THE ROOM IS FOR THE EXCLUSIVE USE OF PERSONS OF ONE SEX AND THE PERSON IS NOT LEGALLY CLASSIFIED ON THE PERSON’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE AS A MEMBER OF THAT SEX.

The targets are transgender residents of Arizona. They would be committing a crime (a misdemeanor) by using the wrong bathroom with the wrong birth certificate.

Legislators had told me that Herrod, leader of the Center for Arizona Policy faith group and lobbying powerhouse, was shopping for a sponsor for a bill to strike back at the City of Phoenix ordinance.

SB 1432 is a “strike-everything” bill inserted in the shell of another bill that had the same number.

I haven’t confirmed Herrod wrote it. It’s just hard to imagine anyone else dreaming it up. Phoenix’s approval of the LGBT ordinance was a personal defeat for Herrod.

The hearing on this latest “show me your papers” bill is at 2 p.m. Wednesday before GOP State Rep. John Kavanagh’s House Appropriations Committee. Same time as his first hearing on the governor’s proposed Medicaid expansion.

This one could go longer than six hours.

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