Arizona State Lawmaker Censured After Being Caught on Camera Hiding Bibles
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The Arizona State House of Representatives voted Tuesday to expel a Democratic lawmaker who was caught red-handed hiding Bibles from her fellow legislators.
State Rep. Stephanie Stahl-Hamilton was caught on camera in April removing the holy books and hiding them under two sofas in the lounge in a State Capitol room.
Once caught, Stahl-Hamilton said she moved the books as part of a prank.
But Arizona's House Ethics Committee determined that Stahl-Hamilton, who is an ordained Presbyterian minister, violated House rules by displaying "disrespectful" and "disorderly" behavior.
They voted 30-28 to censure her.
"The body has spoken," Stahl-Hamilton told USA Today. "It's time to move on. I appreciate my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who voted against excessive punitive measures beyond the turmoil and attacks I've weathered the last seven weeks."
As CBN News reported, Stahl-Hamilton was no stranger to hiding Bibles.
A camera had been placed in the lounge by the House security team after a pair of Bibles went missing. About a week later, another Bible was missing and was later found in a refrigerator, according to the outlet.
KPHO-TV tweeted a video of Stahl-Hamilton hiding the Bibles.
CAUGHT ON VIDEO: AZ Dem lawmaker/ordained minister busted swiping Bibles from House's members-only lounge. She calls it a ' little playful commentary' for separation of church and state, Republican leadership are not laughing. #azfamily pic.twitter.com/pSPth8jeR7— David Caltabiano (@DavidCaltabiano) April 25, 2023
When asked by a reporter for the station why she hid the Bibles, Stahl-Hamilton quickly walked away, ignoring the reporter's questions.
Later in a statement, the Arizona lawmaker apologized and said, "Just a little playful commentary on the separation of church and state. I am a Presbyterian minister so I obviously don't have a problem with the Bible."
Democrats came to Stahl-Hamilton's defense saying the motion to expel her is overkill.
Others are calling it a "flagrant exercise of power."
"The righteous indignation is misplaced," Rep. Nancy Gutierrez said. "I've known her for many years. ... She has never failed to stand up for the people she represents."
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