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Phoenix council urges Brewer to veto gay service refusal bill

PHOENIX — A Phoenix economic council sent a letter to Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday asking her to veto a bill that would allow businesses to deny services to gays and other groups based on religious beliefs.

In the letter, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council wrote the bill would have a negative economic effect for years.

The legislation places businesses currently in Arizona, as well as those looking to locate here, in potentially damaging risk of litigation, and costly, needless legal disputes. The statutory changes within Senate Bill 1062 will upset the current balance between the right of business owners to manage their businesses, and the right of employees to refuse on religious grounds to follow company policy or management directions.

Barry Broome, president and CEO of the GPEC, spoke to News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos on Friday about the negative perception others’ will have about the state, especially in the wake of SB 1070.

“This state is finally getting its legs back under [it], we got a lot to proud of, there’s a lot to be excited about, we have a lot of great things to sell in-state about our community and our state,” Broome said.

One of those “great things” is the 2015 Super Bowl in Glendale, a major economic event Broome is concerned the state may not see for a long time, if this bill is passed.

“We’re a year away from hosting the Super Bowl, which is the single most exciting sporting event in the world,” Broome said. “Why put us in a position where we’re going to be subject to ridicule, negative commentary, allegations, misrepresentation…why subject our economy and our state to that, when we’re still sitting at 7.4 [percent] unemployment?”

An Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association official has also cited the same concerns.

Ultimately, even if Brewer vetoes the bill, Broome said it will most likely not be the end of such talk in the Legislature, unless attitudes drastically change.

“The bill reflects the attitude of the Arizona Legislature, so we have that working against us, even if our governor vetoes the bill,” Broome explained.

The council said four companies in the Arizona Commerce Authority will try to relocate if the bill is signed.

The bill is expected to reach Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk on Monday. She would have until the close of business Saturday to veto or sign it into law.

Brewer doesn’t comment on pending legislation, but she vetoed a similar measure last year. That action, however, came during an unrelated political standoff, and it’s not clear whether she would support or reject this plan.

KTAR Newsroom and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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