SB 1062 author defends bill, calls reaction "disappointing" - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

SB 1062 author defends bill, calls reaction "disappointing"

Posted: Updated: Feb 24, 2014 09:10 PM
PHOENIX (KSAZ) -

All this pressure has led to some Republican senators who voted for the bill to now say they regret it and want Governor Jan Brewer to veto it.

These are the three Republicans who sponsored Senate Bill 1062: Nancy Barto, Bob Worsley and Steve Yarbrough, who authored the bill.

On Monday, Worsley said he had a lapse in judgement last week and apologized for passing the bill.  And he's not the only one -- State Senator Steve Pierce, a Republican from Prescott is also having regrets about voting for the bill.  He says he went along with other Republicans on the vote, expecting it to get vetoed when it hit the governor's desk, but that plan backfired.

"But after we saw the firestorm, you know, constituents are screaming we were not 100 percent in it anyway, so we changed our votes," he said.

When asked if he voted in favor of it so it could go to governor and she could veto it," Pierce replied, "That was part of it.  There is some political things behind the scenes you know, it gets nasty down here and we made a mistake in doing it.  Let's just end it right there.. it never should have happened."

Pierce says he would like Arizona to focus more on pressing issues now.

One Republican who isn't' backing down from this is Steve Yarbrough, from Chandler.

"I have to give credit to the opponents who have managed to turn this into some sort of a discrimination bill against gays. It couldn't be further from that," he said.

Yarbrough isn't giving in to the pressure.  He feels strongly that religious freedoms should be more protected in Arizona.

"People need to be able to exercise their religion freely in this state. Without having those kinds of concerns they are still going to have to meet a difficult test, we know that and that is simply what we are trying to accomplish."

We also asked Yarbrough about the backlash from the business community.

"I think that is a circumstance where they have determined somehow that the bill is something that it's not. And now we have moved into world of perception as opposed to reality. So that is what we are up against."

As for those three Republican senators who wrote a letter to Gov. Brewer urging her to veto?

"They are free agents. If they have responded to all the pressure and it's been intense -- no doubt about that.. if they have responded in that fashion, that's okay.  They're all good friends of mine."

While this bill was being debated at the legislature, Democrats warned of a backlash.  Yarbrough had this to say of their warnings: "No matter how much I disagree with them, I certainly do recognize their political acumen.  They manufactured this whole process. They said lots of things that were terribly inaccurate about the bill, but it sold. I'll give them credit for that."

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