Begun, This Clone War Has

Worried about your genetic dupe buying booze at drive-thru windows? The Arizona Legislature is here to put your mind to ease!

You know all that boring political stuff in the last couple Star Wars films? With the trade wars and the campaign-finance skullduggery and Sen. Jar Jar Binks?

Well, some Arizona lawmakers appear to have seen the films a few too many times--and they're not going to let a bunch of cloned stormtroopers turn Arizona into an evil empire under the control of the dark side of The Force.

Rep. Chuck Gray, a Mesa Republican, has introduced House Bill 2324, or the Boba Fett Act, making it illegal to grow a clone in Arizona. Gray has also sponsored House Concurrent Resolution 2025, which asks voters to amend the Arizona Constitution to ban cloning in the state.

Another bill, Rep. Bob Stump's HB 2221, simply privatizes clone production, making it illegal to use state funds, including federal dollars that pass through the state, for cloning research. Stump's also behind HB 2557, which creates a commission to study cloning. Hmmm--studying cloning and privatizing production? It sounds a bit sinister to us. Could Stump be the Count Dooku of the Arizona Legislature?

The cloning bills are just a handful of the 1,200 pieces of legislation floating around the halls of the Capitol. While the long-rumored bill requiring parental permission to buy a condom had yet to burst on the scene as of press time, there's plenty of other legislation that demonstrates how lawmakers are tending to many vital matters of state.

F'rinstance, there's the problem of people buying liquor without leaving their cars. HB 2312, introduced by Rep. Linda Lopez of Tucson, would ban licenses for drive-thru liquor stores after August 2005. Elsewhere on the liquor beat, Sen. Carolyn Allen, a Scottsdale Republican, has proposed Senate Bill 1030, which requires owners of bars and restaurants to establish some criteria to define "excessive" drinking rates and then monitor each customer to ensure that they're not exceeding it, even if they are clones.

On the other end of the vice scale, Rep. Bill Konopnicki has introduced HB 2531, which allows the sale of cigarettes in packs of fewer than 20 in bars, liquor stores and casinos. Did you even know selling cigarettes in packs of less than 20 was illegal? Now you do.

Rep. Mark Anderson is getting attention for his bill to ban junk food in school vending machines, but he has several other educational concerns. HB 2427 would have taxpayers pick up the tab for parents who want to send their kids to private kindergarten classes, while HB 2430 requires kids to get written parental permission before they could take a sex-ed class that teaches anything other than abstinence until marriage, preferably one that's been arranged through the wisdom of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Sen. Robert Blendu offers educational reform with SB 1110, which limits schools to using textbooks from a list established by the state Board of Education. The bill also sets up a 13-member School Textbook Task Force so schoolchildren aren't accidentally exposed to subversive ideas.

SCR 1018, sponsored by Sen. Bill Brotherton and a pack of Democrats, would ask voters to require all legislative candidates to pass the AIMS test before they'd be eligible to win office. That could do more to clear out the Capitol than term limits.

Speaking of clearing out the Capitol, HB 2515, or the Political Welfare Act, would make elected officials who lose elections eligible for unemployment benefits.

Sen. Jay Tibshraeny of Chandler has introduced SB 1022, or the Shopper Security Act, which says that stores can't charge fees for gift certificates. HB 2515, sponsored by Rep. David Lujan, tightens the rules on what a company can force consumers to provide in order to receive a rebate.

Perhaps concerned that the East Valley is governed by a Maricopa County Board of Supervisors that isn't ideologically pure, Rep. Russell Pearce is pushing for a chance to secede with HB 2402, which changes the rules for forming a new county. We're all for it if it can be amended to allow Southern Arizona to secede from the rest of the state.

While we're on the subject of seceding, Senate Concurrent Memorial 1001, or the John Birch Act, urges the U.S. Congress to quit the United Nations.

Rep. Jack Brown, a Democrat from St. Johns, has introduced HB 2230, or Bishop O'Brien's Law, which would require a motorist who hits an animal to stop to render aid. The motorist would also be responsible for notifying the animal's owner or the local authorities.

Earlier in the session, The Skinny told readers about the plan to commemorate Ronald Reagan Day. Well, the first draft was a little thin on the flowery-language front, so Sen. Dean Martin came up with a second version that extols the Gipper's many virtues.

Martin has also sponsored SB 1082, or the Bluto Blutarsky Act, which eliminates property taxes on fraternity houses. Other frat-related legislation includes Senate Memorial 1001, which asks Congress to provide a tax break to people who donate money for the upkeep of fraternity and sorority houses.