Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Then they came for immigrants and poor people....

Two weeks ago, we told you that the first bill to get a committee vote in the state Senate was Senate Bill 3, to roll back women's access to abortion care. Today we learned that immigrants and poor people are next on the Senate's list.

The Senate State Government Committee today passed Senate Bill 9, requiring applicants for many public aid programs to show government-issued identification, with some exceptions. I wrote about this bill last week, so there's no need to rehash our arguments.

But there is a genuine level of disappointment here about the direction the Senate is heading when the first two bills to come out of committee restrict women's access to healthcare and restrict citizens' access to social safety net programs like unemployment compensation. Who and what is next? LGBT people? Prisoners? Voting rights? Apparently, the budget deficit, the economy, and government reform are nowhere on the radar screen, based on these first few weeks. If this keeps up, we're in for a bumpy session.

Update, 3:05pm: Factual error on my part. About an hour before the committee vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed seven bills, so SB 9 wasn't the second bill out of committee this session in the Senate. Still, the point is the same.

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