ARIZONA STATE SENATE
LEGISLATIVE RESEARCH ANALYST
Telephone: (602) 926 -3171
Facsimile: (602) 926 -3833
DATE: February 14, 2012
Establishes penalties for a classroom instructor that uses obscenity, profanity or indencecy.
The United States Congress has granted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the authority to enforce laws relating to the television and radio broadcasts. The FCC defines obscenity, indecency and profanity for television and radio broadcasts. The definition of obscenity is based on United States Supreme Court definition of obscenity and applies to material not protected by the first amendment and meets any of the following: “an average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; the material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and the material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.” The FCC defines indecent material as “language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities.” The FCC has defined profanity as “language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance.” The FCC only restricts indecency and profanity on broadcasts between 6 AM and 10 PM.
There is no anticipated fiscal impact to the state General Fund associated with this legislation.
1. Adds that if a person who provides classroom instruction in a public school engages in speech or conduct that would violate the standards adopted by the FCC concerning obscenity, indecency and profanity if that speech or conduct were broadcast on television or radio the follow penalties apply:
a) For the first occurrence, the school must issue a warning to the instructor;
b) For the second occurrence, the school will suspend the person, at a minimum, for one week without pay,
c) For the third occurrence, the school must suspend the person, at a minimum, for two weeks without pay; and
d) For the fourth occurrence, the school must terminate the employment of the person.
2. Specifies that a school is not prohibited from terminating the employment of a person guilty of a violation of this act after the first, second or third violation.
3. Defines public school for the purposes of this act as a public preschool program, a public elementary school, a public junior high school, a public middle school, a public high school, or a public vocational education program.
4. Becomes effective on the general effective date.