Brewer vetoes her first bill

PHOENIX - Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed her first bill Monday. Senate Bill 1288 would have prohibited state and local governments from denying, suspending or revoking a person's professional license based on their religion.

The bill prohibits a government from requiring a person to sign a statement that is contrary to a person's belief and prevents governments from restricting a person's appointment based on religious belief.

It also states that the exercise of a person's religion cannot be considered unprofessional conduct and prohibits denying, suspending or revoking a person's license because they practice their religion, except in the case of sexual or criminal misconduct.

"This was a very difficult decision because I am very supportive of increasing the free exercise of religion in America," Brewer wrote in letter to Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce. "However, I am concerned that part of Senate Bill 1288 may lead to unanticipated and unintended consequences."

Brewer said she was supportive of most of the bill's provisions but believed the provision that the exercise of a person's religion was not misconduct was too broad and could be abused, even with provisions for sexual and criminal misconduct.

"This bill could protect conduct that harms the public but cannot be readily addressed if a person claims that the conduct is based on religious beliefs," she wrote.

Since no one has claimed religious discrimination while applying for a professional license, Brewer suggested that the Legislature explore all the possible consequences of the bill and bring it back next session.