'We Were Wrong': AZ GOP Lawmaker Reverses Course on Controversial Bill
More and more lawmakers, including from her own party, are calling on Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R), to veto a controversial religious freedom bill. State Sen. Steve Pierce (R) voted for the bill, but is now reversing course and urging Brewer to use her veto power.
The bill would give businesses the right to deny service to customers for religious reasons. Critics have called the bill "state-sanctioned discrimination," and argued that it could open the door for business owners to cite religious beliefs in denying services to homosexuals.
Pierce discussed his new position with Martha MacCallum this morning, denying suggestions from supporters of the bill that he has now caved in the face of mounting opposition.
Pierce argues that he and others had "reservations" about the legislation from the beginning, and were wary that it could generate an "outcry" like we're seeing now. But he emphasized that the legislation was not written with a specific group in mind.
"What is perceived is overriding the reality of the bill. The perception is it's bad and it's going to be specific to gays and it isn't. It wasn't intended that way. My colleagues and I never thought it would be like that. But that's the perception now and it's horrible for the businesses in Arizona," said Pierce, adding that the potential for negative economic consequences cannot be overlooked.
"When I look back, I made a mistake. We made a mistake. We were wrong. The good thing is we know how to make it right and that would be [that] we've asked the governor to veto the bill and stop all this," he said.
Martha asked about reports suggesting that the NFL could move next year's Super Bowl out of Arizona if the law is signed. Pierce said lawmakers are "certainly" concerned about potentially hurting the state's chances to host "mega events" like the Super Bowl, DNC, RNC and Final Four.
Watch the full discussion above.