Arizona House censures Democratic lawmaker who hid Bibles
Jun 14, 2023, 9:01 AM | Updated: 9:34 am
(Arizona State Legislature and Pixabay Photos)
PHOENIX – The saga of the Democratic state lawmaker who hid Bibles in the Arizona House members lounge ended Tuesday with a censure.
Republicans reportedly attempted to expel Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton but didn’t have enough votes. It takes two-thirds of the House to expel a representative but a simple majority for a censure.
The censure motion was approved 30-28, mostly on party lines. The vote came after a House Ethics Committee investigation into allegations that Stahl Hamilton put members lounge Bibles under couch cushions and in a refrigerator on several occasions.
In a report released Friday, the committee determined Stahl Hamilton damaged the institutional integrity of the House with disorderly behavior in violation of House Rule 1.
“The committee deems it appropriate for the House as a whole to decide what disciplinary measures, if any, should be taken,” the report said.
Democratic House leadership issued a statement Friday accepting the findings.
“However, we also accept the apologies delivered by Rep. Stahl Hamilton to her colleagues when this issue first came to light, and subsequently,” the statement said. “She has owned her actions. We will not engage in any further divisive rhetoric or political opportunism that this incident has inspired.”
The Ethics Committee investigation was in response to a complaint filed by three Republicans after Stahl Hamilton was seen on security cameras moving the Bibles.
Stahl Hamilton, who according to her website is an ordained Presbyterian minister, apologized on the House floor after the incident was reported.
“The intent was never to be destructive, to never desecrate or to offend,” the Democrat from District 21 in Tucson said.
“I acknowledge that a conversation about the separation of church and state should have began with a conversation, and for that, I apologize.”