Possibly you've heard about the bill pending in Arizona that requires high school seniors to take a loyalty oath to god and country before they can receive a diploma. Tough shit, atheists and anarchists! The guttersnipe who proposed this POS, freshman Rep. Bob Thorpe from Flagstaff, found a few tea party clowns to cosponsor his offensive and unconstitutional measure, which does zilch to address our educational problems. Of course Rep. Smith is one of the bill's cosponsors. Because Jesus and freedom!
Get a load of this assault on human decency: Smith, a devout Christian mind you, sponsored a bill this session that'll require hospital staff to check the immigration status of patients before treating them! If they don't have papers, the doctors and nurses must step aside while administration calls the authorities.
If the patients can't provide proof that they are in the country legally, hospital staff would have to call federal immigration officials or local law enforcement. The bill by state Rep. Steve Smith also would require hospital officials to file annual reports of how many people they treated who were in the country illegally. LA TimesSo, if a guy of the brownish hue shows up in the ER after a car accident, or if a pregnant Spanish-speaking woman is rushed to the hospital, and neither has proper documentation (which we all carry around with us, right?), the caregivers must play immigration cop instead and send their sorry ass to jail.
It's not only the obvious person from south of the border who has to show papers. Let's say a tourist from Egypt gets sick and goes to the ER:
Under the bill, citizens from other countries would have to prove that their nation participates in the visa waiver program recognized by the United States or provide a non-immigrant U.S. visa. Those who can prove Canadian citizenship would be exempt from having to show any sort of visa.Very white people come on in!
Rep. Smith has been blowing the immigration dog whistle since he was elected to the state senate in 2010. Admirers of crazy-ass legislation will recall that he's the dingbat who sponsored a bill his first year that allowed the state to collect donations for a border fence. Oh, it was a scene man, the day Smith announced his plan to a bevy of TV cameras and other nativists. Smith said he'd raise $50 million from Lou Dobbs viewers nationwide, enough to build 200 miles of fence.
How'd that work out? I figure they can build about 370 feet, not even enough to surround a Walmart parking lot, with the $193,000 Smith has raked in these last couple years. I guess racists aren't as wealthy as Smith thought. He has a habit of proposing crackpot legislation that gets his name in the headlines, but does absolutely nothing to solve Arizona's challenges. A carpetbagger from back East (like many far-right politicians who represent retirement districts), Smith has a degree in marketing and runs a talent agency, so he's skilled at PR—commonsense and a dose of humanity not so much.
Naturally, with all the gun talk going around, Steve Smith had to take advantage of the brouhaha to get his mug in the papers and on the TV machine. So, surprise, Smith's got a bill that he says will send a message to President Obama. Yeah, something like, "I'm a dumb shit, Mr. President."
I wrote the other day that Smith's bill, which will allow Arizona to sidestep any new federal gun regulations, is even too radical for the NRA! Smith didn't think (what else is new?) before proposing his knee-jerk, states'-rights nincompoopery, because if enacted the bill could put federally licensed gun dealers in Arizona out of business!
Here's another gem: Remember Sen. Russell Pearce, the bigot who authored SB 1070 and hung out with white supremacists like J.T. Ready, the human barf-bag who killed a family of four last year before putting the gun in his own mouth? Pearce was even too crazy for über-conservative Mesa, and they recalled his ass in November 2011. He went on to be elected vice-chair of the Arizona Republican Party, so that tells you something about the cesspool the state GOP is swimming in.
Anyway, Rep. Smith and Russell Pearce are best pals, and Smith probably fancies himself the Second Coming of Pearce. So to help out his madcap mentor, Smith introduced a bill this session that allows the disgraced senator to be reimbursed, up to $260,000, for the costs he incurred during his failed recall election. It doesn't matter that most of Pearce's funding for that campaign came from outside-of-Arizona donations, i.e., it wasn't his money he lost. Steve Smith still thinks Russell Pearce deserves it back because ... who the fuck knows? Who else is reimbursed for a failed, or even a successful, campaign?
There's more. But this year politicians and the press promised a more "moderate" legislature—no more stupid birther bills, abortions restrictions, and ugly immigration assaults that make Arizona look like a bunch of toothless, gun-totin' gooberheaded racists. The newspapers even talked about Gov. Jan Brewer's "kinder, gentler" views on immigration, at the same time her fundraising letters are sounding the same anti-brown dog whistles.
But if Brewer's trying to remain empress of the nativist kingdom, she's got a challenger from District 23 in her rearview mirror. Until I'm proven wrong, he gets my vote for Worst Legislator in America.