Andy Biggs Sends Letter to Department of Agriculture Challenging Gender Policy Changes

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) recently sent a letter to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, challenging woke gender policy changes that threaten school meal plan funding.

“In an effort to appease the Left’s woke gender agenda, the USDA is now attempting to hold American schools hostage,” Biggs said in a press release. “USDA’s definition changes of ‘sex discrimination’ would only harm American students. The department is coercing American schools to adopt the Biden Administration’s radical gender equality platform or else it will strip student benefits from these schools.”

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Karen Fann Pushes Plan Aimed to Support Forest Management: ‘We Have Dealt with Catastrophic Fires’

Arizona Senate President Karen (R-Prescott) defended House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 2038 this week, which would express support for proper forest management.

“Arizona is in a unique situation,” said Fann. “We have dealt with catastrophic fires, and they are getting worse over the last 20 – 30 years. The Rodeo Chediski Fire, if you remember that horrible fire, part of the reason it was so bad and got so out of control is because of a lot of the underbrush that was never allowed to be cleared out.”

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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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Arizona Senate Fails to Pass Ballot Box Ban, Among Other Election Integrity Bills

A number of election integrity bills addressing ballot boxes and ballot harvesting failed to pass the Senate on Monday.

“If you think it’s a problem. If you think ballot boxes contribute to ballot harvesting and can be manipulated, you would ban them. Not require that we tape them. It’s too late at that point,” said State Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Scottsdale) while explaining her floor amendment to HB 2238.

According to HB 2238, sponsored by State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Phoenix), “a county recorder or other officer in charge of elections may not use an unmonitored drop box for receipt of voted early ballots.”

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Election Honesty Organization Director Praises Arizona Senate for Passing New Voter Law

The Arizona Senate passed a new bill on Tuesday aimed at improving election integrity.

“Number one, only eligible, qualified citizens can vote in elections, and that means when you are going to a voter registration process, you have to give election officials time to be able to actually review the registration and make sure someone is qualified to vote. When you do same-day or Election-Day voter registration, that takes away that time to actually be able to conduct that check,” Jason Snead, the Director of the Honest Elections Project told The Arizona Sun Times.

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Arizona Senate Approves Two Parental Rights Bills

The Arizona Senate approved two pieces of legislation that are aimed to solidify parental rights over their child’s education and exposure to certain materials.

Both measures, HB 2161 and HB 2439, passed the chamber on a 16 to 12 vote, sending them to the House of Representatives for a final vote before Governor Doug Ducey weighs in.

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State Sen. Townsend Subpoenas Maricopa County Supervisors to Testify Why County Is Obstructing Attorney General Brnovich’s 2020 Election Investigation

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has been investigating the results of the Arizona Senate’s independent audit of the 2020 presidential election in Maricopa County but, similar to what the Arizona Senate experienced previously, has been thwarted by the Maricopa County Supervisors’ (BOS) refusal to turn over evidence. Due to the obstruction, State Senator Kelly Townsend (R-Apache Junction), issued a legislative subpoena to the BOS demanding their testimony on Monday, to explain their reasons for delaying the production of documents, and what they intend to do to rectify the situation.

Townsend stated, “Throughout this process, we have been dismayed at the level of obstruction, obfuscation, malfeasance and nonfeasance seen throughout the inquiry. The claim that there is not a ‘shred of evidence’ regarding irregularities in the election is patently false, but hard not to believe by the general public when so much is being hidden from their view.” 

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Cyber Ninjas Must Turn over Records from the Maricopa County Ballot Audit, State Appeals Court Says

The Arizona Court of Appeals rejected a request from Cyber Ninjas, the company that audited Maricopa County’s ballots, to block a public records request by the media for records from the audit. Phoenix Newspapers Inc., which owns The Arizona Republic, asked for emails and other documents in its April request, which the lower trial court granted. Cyber Ninjas appealed the decision. The appellate court rejected the cyberfirm’s argument that opening its records up for public inspection would allow opening the records of any contractor that does business with the state. 

Jack Wilenchik, Cyber Ninja’s attorney, expressed his disappointment to Capitol Media Services, “The government cannot force private contractors to produce things the government does not own. He said it’s similar to a violation of the Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure.

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Arizona Senate Candidate Blake Masters’ Plans to Tackle Big Tech’s ‘Predatory’ Business Practices

Woman in a red suit on Smartphone

Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters wants to break up Big Tech and ban their business practices he believes are harmful.

“I think Republicans need to reacquaint themselves with their history of antitrust enforcement, and realize huge concentrations of power in private hands can violate people’s liberties just as much as government,” Masters said in an interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Masters, who announced his candidacy in July, serves as chief operating officer at investment firm Thiel Capital and runs the Thiel Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by billionaire investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. He competes in a crowded Republican primary with fellow candidate and current Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich for the chance to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in 2022.

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Two Arizona Lawmakers Resign in Single Day

Two state lawmakers in Arizona, one from each political party, resigned Wednesday.

“To my constituents & colleagues, I’m writing to inform you of my resignation, effective September 30th, from my House seat in Legislative District 11. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve with you, the Republican caucus, and the entire House,” Rep. Bret Roberts (D-AZ-11) announced on Twitter. 

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Senate Liaison for Arizona Audit Reverses Course on Stepping Down, Will Remain Under Certain Conditions

Ken Bennett

The former Secretary of State serving as the liaison for the Arizona State Senate Audit, will remain in his capacity as liaison after all. This is the second time that Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) has apparently walked Bennett back from the brink of walking away from the audit. Their latest agreement to keep Bennett on was less publicized than the first; no official statements have been put forth concerning the new terms of Bennett’s role. Per their agreement, Bennett will regain access to the building and may obtain information from the auditing company, Cyber Ninjas, upon request.

As The Arizona Sun Times reported on Thursday, Bennett has gone back and forth over his decision to bow out of the audit. Bennett relayed those sentiments twice this week: once on Monday, then again on Wednesday. Both times, Bennett discussed stepping down from his role with the radio host James Harris on morning episodes of The Conservative Circus. Both times, Bennett said he was liaison “in name only” because he was repeatedly excluded from overseeing critical aspects of the audit.

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Senate Liaison for Arizona Audit Announces He May Step Down

Ken Bennett

On Wednesday, the Arizona Senate’s audit liaison Ken Bennett announced he will step down from the audit. Bennett issued the announcement on Wednesday morning in a radio interview.

Bennett said it was “impossible” to function as liaison, and revealed that volunteer consultant Randy Pullen would be assuming his duties. He said he would be a liaison in name only. Bennett refused to approve any final report on the audit, since he wasn’t allowed inside any longer.

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Twitter Bans Official Arizona Audit Account and Other Audit Accounts

Twitter permanently suspended the account of the official account of the Arizona Legislature’s audit of Maricopa County ballots, along with several other audit accounts on Tuesday. The official account, @ArizonaAudit, is offline, with a message stating it is suspended, as is a second account that appears affiliated with the audit, @AuditWarRoom. 

Four more accounts associated with audits taking place in Wisconsin, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Georgia were suspended, along with some accounts that were fundraising for the audit. One was run by One America News Network’s Christina Bobb. Voices & Votes raised $150,000 for the audit. Bobb tweeted, “They are blocking the release of audit information on Twitter.”

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State Senator Paul Boyer Withholds Vote to Enforce Subpoena Against Maricopa County, Arizona Election Officials, Says Auditors Are ‘Inexperienced, Partisan’

State Senator Paul Boyer (R-Glendale) won’t hold Maricopa County election officials in contempt for noncompliance with the Senate’s subpoena for election equipment and materials needed to complete the audit. This was revealed by Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) after Senate Liaison Ken Bennett shared that one of sixteen Republican senators wouldn’t hold the county accountable. 

The auditing company, Cyber Ninjas, explained in a hearing last week that they still lack the splunk logs, chain of custody documents, portable media and external drives, router configuration files or data, network diagram, backups of election management data, digital copies of all election policies and procedures utilized, files transmitted for duplicating or spoiling ballots, records of all paper distributed to vote centers, information and guidelines on adjudication of ballots, total count of all ballots sent to eligible voters on the state’s voter information portal (UOCAVA), and a full backup copy of database of voter rolls. 

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Election Auditors Report Surplus of over 74K Mail-In Ballots, 4K Voters Registered After Deadline, 18K Voters Removed from Rolls Following Election

During the Arizona Senate hearing on the election audit in Maricopa County Thursday morning, audit officials reported discovery of issues such as ballot duplicates and surpluses, voter roll data, and machine security. The audit officials testifying were Senate Liaison Ken Bennett, Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, and digital security firm CyFIR founder Ben Cotton. Cyber Ninjas is conducting the audit.

The Arizona Sun Times checked the Arizona legislature website at 8 am MST. The website was down. All that was displayed was an error message that said service was unavailable. The website remained that way until sometime after the Senate hearing began. 

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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 Election Audit Wraps Up Operations, Moves Out of Coliseum

The Arizona audit is wrapping up its operations and has moved out of its three-month home: the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. For about another week, audit workers will finish up in another building on the fairgrounds, the Wesley Bolin Building. Auditors will be able to use the building until July 14.

Although officials told The Arizona Sun Times that they would be finished by last Saturday, more work popped up after the county submitted additional resources that required review. Randy Pullen, a volunteer consultant to the Arizona Senate for the audit, estimated that they would be done sometime next week. He explained to The Sun Times that the slight delay occurred because the county submitted log reports on duplicate ballots last minute. Those logs showed how many from every batch were taken out by the county for duplication.

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Arizona Senate on the Verge of Beginning Major Audit of Maricopa County Ballots

Karen Fann

The Arizona Senate is poised to begin a major audit of over two million ballots cast in the 2020 election in the state’s largest county, a process the state Senate president claims has been stymied by county officials and which the county claims rests on legally uncertain ground.

Senate subpoenas to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for information and equipment needed to perform the audit have been pending since Dec. 15, 2020 and were upheld by a judge on Feb. 25. In mid-March, the state Senate announced that Republicans in that chamber would be conducting a “broad and detailed” review of Maricopa’s ballots, one that would involve “testing the machines, scanning the ballots, performing a full hand count and checking for any IT breaches,” among other approaches.

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