Arizona State Legislators Jake Hoffman, Neal Carter, and Warren Petersen Top Republican Liberty Caucus’s 2022 Rankings

The Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona (RLCAZ) released its 2022 rankings of Arizona legislators based on how they voted to advance or restrict liberty, and eight scored a perfect 100 or above. State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) and State Rep. Neal Carter (R-Casa Grande) tied with 106 for the top scores in the State House, and State Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) received the highest score in the State Senate, 102.

Hoffman told The Arizona Sun Times, “It’s an honor to be recognized for my efforts to defend liberty. I am humbled to be one of the highest scoring members of the Arizona legislature; however, while I’m grateful for the recognition, it’s not why I, or any of the other top scorers, fight so hard to defend constitutionally limited government. We do it because we take our oath of office and the Constitution seriously. Unlike so many in the swamp, we view elected service as an awesome responsibility to fight for the people we represent at all times, especially when it’s unpopular amongst the political establishment to do so.”

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Warren Petersen, Shawnna Bolick Top Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona’s 2021 Scorecard

Warren Petersen and Shawnna Bolick

The Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona released its 2021 scorecard rating Arizona legislators this session, with just two legislators receiving perfect scores — and one of them actually scored 102 due to bonus points. Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) received an extra two points for his efforts on SCR 1001, a Senate Concurrent Resolution to terminate Governor Doug Ducey’s declaration of emergency on COVID-19. The resolution was highly critical of Ducey, observing that “Governor Ducey has subjected individual citizens to criminal sanctions for noncompliance with the stay-at-home orders.” It did not make it through the legislature.

Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), who is running for Arizona Secretary of State, was the only representative to receive a perfect 100. Rep. Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa) received the Rookie of the Year award as the highest scoring freshman legislator, with 94. Petersen, Bolick and Parker were among seven legislators to receive perfect scores earlier this month from the Arizona Free Enterprise Club for their voting. 

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New Arizona Senate Republicans Appointed to Serve as Majority Caucus Leaders

The Arizona State Senate Republicans have announced new leaders who will serve the majority caucus in the next legislative session, with Senator Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) taking the reigns as Senate President.

“Senator Petersen is a third-generation Arizonan and has worked in the real estate industry for more than two decades. His duties as Senate President will include being the primary leader of the Senate, presiding over legislative sessions and ensuring senators abide by procedural rules,” as stated in a press release from the Senate Republicans.

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Arizona Grassroots Groups Rally at ‘Redfest’ to Push Conservative Legislators for Leadership Positions in 2023

Freedomworks, one of the nation’s leading conservative grassroots organizations, recently launched a satellite office in Arizona and held a joint “Redfest Rally” with other Arizona conservative organizations Friday night to discuss getting conservative legislators into leadership positions in the Arizona Legislature. State Rep. Joseph Chaplik (R-Scottsdale) is vying for Speaker of the House, likely facing off against House Majority Leader Ben Toma (R-Peoria), and State Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) is going up against longtime State Sen. David Gowan (R-Sierra Vista). 

Chaplik told the crowd that people don’t trust the “fractured caucus” that exists currently under the leadership of House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa), who lost his primary election earlier this month due to defeating numerous conservative bills including many election integrity bills. Chaplik called the legislature a “cesspool” of “sham favoritism,” and said Arizonans can expect a “more conservative caucus” in 2023. 

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Arizona State Senator Speaks Against Gun Control Bill: ‘Criminals Do Not Follow Gun Laws’

Arizona State Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) spoke against a proposed suspension of Senate rules to revote on a previously failed gun control Senate Bill (SB) on Tuesday.

“The reason why this bill should not be supported is because it will stop law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves. Criminals do not follow gun laws. They will not abide by this law. Only law-abiding citizens will abide by this law, so you will simply restrict more opportunities to protect people,” said Petersen when explaining his vote.

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State Rep. Jake Hoffman Only Arizona Legislator to Score 100 Percent in American Conservative Union’s 2021 Ratings

The American Conservative Union rates members of Congress and state legislators every year, and this past year Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Mesa) was the only member of the Arizona Legislature to receive a perfect 100% rating. Other high scorers included Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Mesa), Rep. Judy Burges (R-Prescott), and Rep. Travis Grantham (R-Gilbert), who scored 98%.

The lowest scoring Republicans were Sen. T.J. Shope (R-Florence) with 78%, Rep. John Joel (R-Buckeye) with 71%, Rep. Joanne Osborne (R-Goodyear) with 73%, Rep. David Cook (R-Globe) with 76%, the late Rep. Frank Pratt (R-Casa Grande) with 77%, and Rep. Tim Dunn (R-Yuma) with 78%.

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Seven State Legislators Score 100 Percent in Arizona Free Enterprise Club Rankings

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club gathered in a conference room

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club completed its rankings of how Arizona legislators performed during the 2021 legislative session, and one Senator and six House members scored a perfect 100%. AFEC ranked them based on election integrity, income tax policy, “regulatory relief and ongoing government overreach from the covid-19 pandemic, banning critical race theory in our taxpayer-funded institutions and school choice.”

The seven legislators with a perfect score are Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) and Reps. Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa), Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), John Fillmore (R-Apache Junction), Joseph Chaplik (R-Scottsdale), Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), and Travis Grantham (R-Gilbert). 

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The Arizona Republic Sues State Senate, Cyber Ninjas for Election Audit Records

One of Arizona’s largest newspapers is suing the state Senate and the contracted company running the audit, Cyber Ninjas, for access to their election audit records and financial records. The Arizona Republic, part of the Gannett mass media company, filed a special action on Wednesday in the Maricopa County Superior Court – case number LC2021-000180. Reportedly, the Senate denied the paper’s request for access to the audit and financial records, saying they weren’t public record. The specific information they hope to obtain includes the process for the audit, businesses involved, funding sources, and all communications of those involved.

The plaintiffs in the case are Phoenix Newspapers and Kathy Tulumello, news director for The Arizona Republic. Including the state Senate and Cyber Ninjas, the other defendants named are Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott), Senate Majority Leader Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert), and the secretary for the Senate, Susan Aceves. 

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Arizona House Passes Sentencing Reform Bill, But Passage in the Senate Remains Uncertain

The Arizona House of Representatives passed a sentencing reform bill on Monday, but due to a Senate committee chair failing to bring a similar bill up for a vote in the Senate earlier this year, SB 1064, it’s not clear whether it will make it through the Senate. SB 1064 would relax sentencing laws, which are some of the strictest in the nation. According to Arizona Prison & Sentencing Reform, the state has the fourth highest incarceration rate. Inmates are currently required to serve 85% of their sentences, but the bill would reduce that to as little as one third of their sentences. Inmates who complete self-improvement programs such as substance abuse treatment and maintain good behavior while in prison can receive time off their sentences.

The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, with legislators voting 50-8 in favor. The previous version of the bill, HB 2173, didn’t get very far in the Senate, since Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) declined to hear the legislation in his committee. The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowfake), decided to get around Petersen with the new legislation by using a strike-everything amendment. He amended a bill that had already passed out of the Senate, so it can go straight to the Senate floor for a vote. However, it is up to Sen. President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) to bring it up for a vote. There is little time left, since the legislative session will likely end this week, according to the AZ Mirror. 

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Maricopa County to Replace Its Voting Machines, Says Audit Compromised Them

Maricopa County intends to replace all of its election machines, due to concerns that the audit compromised the equipment. The county’s Dominion Democracy Suite 5.5B voting system was turned over to Arizona Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) and Senate Majority Leader Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) through subpoena earlier this year. The Senate contracted with a private company, Cyber Ninjas, to conduct the audit.

Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel confirmed on Monday the county’s intent to replace their entire fleet of voting machines in a reply letter to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

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Republicans Expected to Take Majority in Arizona Legislature, Senate Will Do Its Best to Work Under Potential Hobbs Administration

In the wake of the 2022 General Election, results project that both parts of the Arizona State Legislature will fall under a Republican majority, although it appears the governor’s seat will fall into the hands of Democrat Katie Hobbs. Kim Quintero, the spokesperson for the Senate Republican Caucus, said that while it is too early to know precisely how the Hobbs administration will change Arizona, Senate Republicans will do their best to continue bettering Arizona.

“Whatever the outcome, we will strive to work with a Hobbs administration as best we can for the betterment of all Arizonans. We have pressing issues to tackle such as our water shortage, border security, public safety, election integrity, education, transportation, and much more. We’re optimistic that we can still pass some good, common-sense policies with a governor who genuinely is in office to make Arizona a better place to live, work, play and raise a family. We’re hoping that will be the case with a Hobbs administration,” Quintero told the Sun Times via email.

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Michelle Ugenti-Rita Fires Back at Save Our Schools Arizona Director After Being Called a ‘MAGA Extremist’

Arizona State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Scottsdale) fired back at the Director of Save Our Schools Arizona (SOSAZ), Beth Lewis, after being called a ‘MAGA extremist’ Sunday.

“Expressing our beliefs is the foundation of democracy not interfering with it. Instead of name calling try using substantive and persuasive facts to sell your perspective. Otherwise you simply come off as a simpleton,” Ugenti-Rita tweeted.

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Arizona Republican Gubernatorial Primary Race Reveals Divide Between Moderates and Conservatives as Ducey Endorses Robson

The race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination has intensified over the recent days, as key candidates and political players make their moves to influence the outcome of the upcoming primary election. Former Congressman Matt Salmon’s exit and subsequent endorsement of Karrin Taylor Robson was followed by Gov. Doug Ducey, who offered the Phoenix-area businesswoman a full-throated statement of support of his own.

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Arizona 2022 Legislative Session Ends with $18 Billion Budget, Failure to Ban All Abortions, and 79 Bills Waiting for Ducey

The 2022 Arizona Legislative session ended Friday, after passing the annual budget and 385 bills – 79 of which are waiting for Governor Doug Ducey to sign or veto. Among the spending priorities is a massive expansion of the state’s school voucher system, which Ducey is expected to sign.

However, some political watchers note that the nearly $18 billion budget, composed of 12 bills, is full of pork – one example of which is a large tax credit for Hollywood the Republican leadership insisted on passing.

A proposed bill banning all abortions, meanwhile, was blocked.

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Proclamation Under Consideration to Nullify the Censure of Maricopa County Republican Party Chair Mickie Niland over Election Integrity

Legislative District 12 Republicans censured Maricopa County Republican Party Chair Mickie Niland for “apparent bias against election integrity” last week, but some conservatives opposed the move and now a proclamation has been proposed for Maricopa County Republican executive board members and Arizona Republican Party board members to nullify the censure. Signed by major conservative leaders in the party, including Rep. Andy Biggs (R-03-Ariz.), State Sen. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), and MCRC Secretary Dan Grimm, it lists her strengths, which include championing election integrity, and calls for her to continue holding the office.

State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), one of the leading champions of election integrity in the Arizona Legislature, sponsoring numerous bills in that area, told The Arizona Sun Times, “Mickie Niland has been a warrior in the trenches for election integrity. She’s been a tireless champion for conservative values for more than a decade. There are few leaders in the Party, anywhere in the country, who have done more to fight the establishment and defend freedom than Chairwoman Niland.”

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Arizona Legislature Passes Two Bills Centered on Transgender Issues, All Eyes on Gov. Ducey Now

Withstanding a noisy opposition campaign, the Arizona Legislature passed two bills addressing heated issues involving transgenders, which will be sent to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to sign or veto. SB 1138 bans irreversible gender reassignment surgery for those under 18. SB 1165 prohibits males from participating in sports in public schools or at private schools that compete against public schools from playing on teams designated for girls. 

Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), who co-sponsored SB 1165, testified regarding how she played on girls’ teams in high school, but would have never been able to make the men’s teams. “The advantages bestowed by biological male puberty are so big that no amount of training or talent can enable biological female athletes to overcome them,” she said. 

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Arizona Legislature Approves Bill Vetting All Voters for Citizenship Before They Can Cast a Ballot

Arizona lawmakers approved new voter safeguards that supporters said will ensure only U.S. citizens can cast ballots.

A unanimous Republican caucus approved House Bill 2492 in the Senate, sending the legislation to Gov. Doug Ducey for consideration. 

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New Book by Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward Provides Insider Perspective of Maricopa County Audit

Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward has a new book out revealing what happened behind the scenes with the independent Maricopa County audit of the 2020 presidential election. Ward was one of the first to call for an audit, and was heavily involved in it every step of the way. “Justified: The Story of America’s Audit” is the story of how it all went down. As someone who was on the ground in Arizona, close to the polling and an ear to intel from the top Republican operatives, Ward’s opinion that there was significant fraud allowing Joe Biden to win Arizona carries weight.

“The state is still very much socially and fiscally conservative — deep red,” she summarized after experiencing the election and audit. “I believed that if every legal vote was counted and every illegal vote was rejected, President Trump would be the uncontested winner of the election.” Ward said the election was far more important than most people realized, “Many people have told me that as Arizona goes, the country goes.”

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24 Legislators Want Ducey to Declare a State of Emergency on the Border Crisis

A significant group of Arizona Republican legislators is calling upon Gov. Doug Ducey to declare a state of emergency over the crisis on the border between Arizona and Mexico. The 24 senators and representatives sent the letter to Ducey on Tuesday.

Rep. Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu), the Majority Whip, told The Arizona Sun Times, “I think all of America can agree that our southern border is a complete disaster. As this Biden-Harris administration continues to ignore our calls for help, thousands of illegal immigrants are pouring into our state daily. This administration is signaling to the world that we have an open border. Myself, along with my Republican colleagues at the Arizona Legislature, will not tolerate this lawlessness anymore. We are a land of law and order. But when the federal government fails at their duty to protect our border, it is up to us to uphold our oath to the constitution and do whatever it takes to help stop this invasion.”

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Maricopa County Audit Results Reveal Someone Was Caught on Video Illegally Deleting Hundreds of Thousands of Election Files the Day Before the Audit Started

Arizona Senate Republicans issued the results of the independent ballot audit they conducted of the 2020 presidential and U.S. Senate election in Maricopa County on September 24 during a presentation, revealing findings that numerous election laws were broken and security measures breached. 

The most startling finding came from Ben Cotton, the founder of CyFIR. He said hundreds of thousands of election files — which the Maricopa County Supervisors refused to allow the auditors to examine — were deleted the day before the audit began, a violation of federal law which requires federal election records to be retained for 22 months. Although the name of the account that deleted them was not tied to a specific election worker, Cotton said there is video of the person who accessed those servers at that time. 

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Major Conservative Groups Join Arizona Legislators to Launch New Arizona Voter ID Ballot Initiative Effort

A coalition of conservative organizations is working with Arizona Republican legislators to put the Arizonans for Voter ID Act on the ballot next fall. The initiative will require voter ID on mail-in ballots, improve existing in-person voter ID requirements, prevent ballot harvesting by enhancing voter ID requirements for in-person ballot drop off, and provide a free voter ID option to lawfully registered Arizona voters who need it for voting. 

Scott Mussi, President of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, which is spearheading the initiative, said in a statement, “This initiative will ensure that no matter when you vote, where you vote, or how you vote, identification will be required.” The AFEC went on, “Arizonans use these forms of identification commonly in their everyday lives to purchase alcohol or cigarettes, obtain a driver’s license, board a commercial flight, donate blood, open a bank account, purchase a firearm, receive unemployment benefits, obtain auto insurance, purchase or rent a home, confirm identity over the phone, and many other basic transactions.”

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Arizona Republican State Legislators Ask Governor to Take Action Regarding School Districts Violating Law on Mask Mandates

Doug Ducey and Jake Hoffman

Twenty-six Republican members of the Arizona Legislature signed onto a letter drafted by Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) asking Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to take four steps of action in regards to several school districts that appear to be violating state law by imposing mask mandates in schools. A high school biology teacher recently filed a lawsuit over the mandate implemented by Phoenix Union High School District. The school districts contend that the law, A.R.S. 15-342.05, doesn’t apply yet since bills do not go into effect until 90 days after the end of the legislative session, but the bill contains a retroactive clause. 

“It borders on anarchy and destabilizes the very foundation of our society to have local governments effectively refusing to comply with the law. It must not be allowed to stand,” the legislators said. “Any local government that willfully and intentionally flaunts state law must be held accountable.”

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Moderate GOP PAC in Arizona Raised $1.6 Million, Spent Less than $7,500 on Actual Candidates

The Republican Legislative Victory Fund (RLVF), a PAC which is run by Camelback Strategy Group (CSG), filed a campaign finance report this past week revealing that between the middle of July and the end of September, they raised over $1,606,795, but only about $7,000 ended up being spent to help Republican candidates. Instead, the RLVF spent about $735,000 on operating expenses for consultants, fundraisers, accounting, polling, etc. 

Other than $7,398.45 for flyers/handouts/door hangers for one candidate, RLVF’s only expenditures helping candidates during this crucial point of the primary race and the beginning of the general race was $5,619 each for campaign websites. Maricopa County Republican Committee Member at Large Brian Ference, who designs websites for a living, told The Arizona Sun Times, “$5,619 for a simple website is considerably overpriced in the Arizona market. I have created dozens of political sites including candidates and the most a candidate should be paying is $2,000-$3,000 for a simple campaign website.”

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Universal Licensing Netted Arizona Several Thousand Jobs, Study Finds

Arizona took a nation-leading step into universal occupational licensing. A new study says it’s resulted in significant job growth. 

In 2019, Arizona became the first state in the country with universal license recognition; if someone has a work license in another state, they can use that license in Arizona. Since then, 4,723 new work licenses have been issued under the law, according to a study conducted by the Common Sense Institute and the Goldwater Institute.

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