STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Republicans voted today to approve a bill that would protect practitioners from losing their licenses even if their methods end in injury or death.
SB 1288 prohibits a government from denying, suspending or revoking a professional or occupational license, certificate or registration based on a person’s exercise of religion.
“Republicans should be held accountable for passing crazy bills like these that do nothing to fix Arizona’s economy and only endanger public safety,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell. “The First Amendment is doing a great job at protecting freedom of religion. This bill does nothing of the sort and only puts public safety at risk.”
In 2009, self-help guru James Arthur Ray held a sweat-lodge ceremony at the Angel Valley Retreat Center in Sedona where three people died. Had Ray been licensed and had SB 1288 been signed into law, he could retain his license to practice. Many of the practitioners who work at the retreat center are licensed to practice various forms of alternative medicine in Arizona: http://www.angelvalley.org/pages/services/holistic/practitionersteam.html.
Other types of licensed and certified professionals that would be impacted by this bill would include child-care providers, licensed foster-care providers, businesses that hold liquor licenses and people who work in the financial services industry.
“This is a dangerous bill and a complete waste of time for Arizona taxpayers,” Campbell said. “It’s time for accountability for these irresponsible bills Republicans have made their priorities at the capitol.”