Arizona still the Mississippi of the West – passes law preventing lawsuits against bigots

The Arizona legislature sent a bill to the Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk Thursday that would carve a massive hole into state law allowing business owners to turn away gay and lesbian customers, employers to deny equal pay to women, or individuals to renege on contract obligations–as long as they claim to be doing so in the name of religion.

Brewer, a Republican who vetoed similar legislation last year, has not said whether she will sign the bill.

“With the express consent of Republicans in this Legislature, many Arizonans will find themselves members of a separate and unequal class under this law because of their sexual orientation,” Anna Tovar, the state senate Democratic minority leader, said in a statement Wednesday after the bill cleared the state Senate. “This bill may also open the door to discriminate based on race, familial status, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability.”

The Arizona bill is one of several bills across the country aimed at providing legal protection to those who wish to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. As of Friday, however, it’s the only one to actually pass, with similar bills in Idaho, Tennessee, and South Dakota being defeated and a bill in Kansas being held up in the state Senate.

While the bills vary in scope, Arizona’s is among the most broad, expanding that state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act to make it easier for individuals and for-profit businesses to bypass neutral state laws or regulations as long as religion is the reason for doing so

I presume by now the Arizona legislature includes a line item in the state budget for “funds to be wasted defending unconstitutional laws which make bigots feel happy about who they elected”.

13-year-old Girl Scout has more smarts about legal cannabis than Congress ever will

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Looking to drum up some new business, 13-year-old Girl Scout Danielle Lei and her mom set out for a San Francisco medical marijuana clinic on Monday, armed with boxes of Tagalongs, Dulce de Leches and other cookie varieties she and other scouts sell annually.

Any patients at The Green Cross with the munchies didn’t stand a chance. In two hours on President’s Day, Danielle sold 117 boxes outside the clinic — people gobbled up all her Dulce de Leches and blazed through the Tagalongs. According to her mother, Carol, that’s 37 more boxes than what she sold during the same two-hour period outside a small Safeway the next day.

Carol said her two middle-school-aged daughters have sold Girl Scout cookies outside a medical marijuana clinic before, though this was the first time they stopped by The Green Cross. She usually has them set up shop at various points around San Francisco so they can learn about different environments while earning some cash. Plus, Carol figured this might be a good way to start a conversation about drugs and how some use marijuana as medicine while others just get high.

The Green Cross was on board as soon as Carol called to ask for permission to sell cookies outside, and employees at the clinic bought plenty of cookies themselves, too.

“It’s no secret that cannabis is a powerful appetite stimulant, so we knew this would be a very beneficial endeavor for the girls,” Holli Bert, a staff member at The Green Cross, told Mashable in an email. “It’s all about location, and what better place to sell Girl Scout cookies than outside a medical cannabis collective?”

Sounds to me like Danielle’s mom has more smarts than the average politico, as well. She uses the opportunity to raise money for the Girl Scouts, educate her daughter – and face down the moralizing silliness that infects our society.