Hobbs Rolls Back Ducey-Era Orders, Allows for Public Employee Vaccine Requirement

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs is cleaning up old executive orders from the COVID-19 pandemic under former Gov. Doug Ducey. 

The governor announced Tuesday afternoon that she’d rescinded 14 orders that were largely moot because of subsequent legislation or measures her administration had taken. 

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Gov. Hobbs Limits Arizona Counties’ Ability to Prosecute Illegal Abortions

Gov. Katie Hobbs signed an executive order that pulls prosecutorial authority away from counties looking to enforce the state’s abortion laws. Critics are calling the move an overstep of authority.

The executive order has four main points to protect abortion. 

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Arizona Officials Offer Heated Responses About School Choice Cost Projection

Arizona’s universal school choice program is estimated to see significant growth over the next fiscal year to 100,000 students with a price tag of $900 million. Opponents of the program say its cost will bankrupt the state but others say the expense will be offset.

In complying with state law, the Arizona Department of Education offered the Joint Legislative Budget Committee its annual estimate on what it would need to fund empowerment scholarship accounts for the upcoming fiscal year. With nearly 58,000 students already enrolled in the program, ADE projects the program will grow to 100,000 students in fiscal year 2024 at a cost of $900 million. 

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Hobbs Announces $25 Million in Grants for Border Security

by Lauren Scott   Gov. Katie Hobbs announced on June 2 more than $25 million in border security awards for Yuma, Somerton, and Wellton Counties, and the Cocopah Indian Tribe. The funds will upgrade communications equipment, expand vehicle fleets, and hire additional personnel. They will allow local law enforcement to…

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Arizona Gov. Hobbs Vetoes Red-Light Camera Ban

Gov. Katie Hobbs on Friday vetoed legislation that would have outlawed red-light cameras in Arizona. 

In her veto message of Senate Bill 1234, Hobbs said “local leaders and law enforcement officers across the state” reached out to her about the effect photo radar enforcement has had on road safety. 

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Hobbs Nixes Full-Day Kindergarten Funding for ESA Students

Gov. Katie Hobbs is pulling back a $50 million federal grant allocated by former Gov. Doug Ducey that paid for full-day kindergarten for students using Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts.

Hobbs announced on May 24 Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Accounts are invalid under the purpose of the American Rescue Plan Act, thus the state can’t spend ARPA funds on it.

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Bill Heads for Governor Hobbs’s Desk to Punish Those Who Own Childlike Lewd Objects

A bipartisan House Bill (HB) is headed to Governor Katie Hobbs’ desk, which aims to crack down on a disturbing trend of sex dolls that resemble children.

Under HB 2169, one of these objects is defined as a “doll, mannequin or robot” that has “the features of or features that resemble those of an infant or a child who is under 12 years old” and is “intended to be used for sexual stimulation or gratification.”

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Arizona Border City Prepares for the End of Title 42 as Immigrants at Federal Stations Relocate

The City of Bisbee released a statement Monday outlining what it is currently doing to prepare for the expiration of Title 42 on Thursday, which is expected to cause a mass influx of immigrants seeking to enter the country across the southern border.

“The Mayor [Ken Budge] and City Staff met with Cochise County Emergency Management staff and the leadership of the [Customs and Border Patrol] CBP Brian Terry Station today,” the city shared. “We were briefed on the resources that are expected to be available to handle immigrants moving forward from local, state and federal agencies. The emphasis is on moving these now-legal immigrants from the border to their final locations or sheltering them in places that can handle a large flow of immigrants.”

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State Senator Blasts Gov. Katie Hobbs After Resignation of ‘Extremist’ Appointee to State Judicial Commission

Arizona State Senator Anthony Kern (R-Glendale) released a statement Wednesday, calling out the resignation of Catherine Sigmon from the Maricopa County Commission on Trial Court Appointments (MCCTCA) after finding troubling information about her.

“After reviewing the Constitutional requirements for the Commission on Trial Court Appointments, two big factors jump out at me,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Kern. “First, the Commission is to be non-partisan. Second, the Commission’s primary task is to recommend qualified judge candidates to the Governor for appointment.”

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Arizona State Lawmakers Express Frustration with Governor Hobbs for Lack of Support of Bipartisan Legislation

As part of Gov. Katie Hobbs’s (D) latest record-setting batch of vetoes, SB 1091, by State Senator Anthony Kern (R-Glendale), was rejected despite passing through the House and Senate with strong bipartisan support.

“Helping to ensure inmates get back on their feet and become productive members of society after their release is massively important,” said Kern. “This bill would have really improved the transition process and 70 other lawmakers agreed. Unfortunately, the Governor didn’t take the time to fully understand it.”

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Katie Hobbs Breaks Arizona Veto Record for a Single Session

The Arizona Senate Majority Caucus released a statement Tuesday, announcing that Governor Katie Hobbs had vetoed another 11 bills, bringing her total to 63 and surpassing the previous record for most legislation vetoed in a single session.

“Vetoing is a tool that weak leaders will use in an effort to control legislative priorities, and we’re witnessing this tactic front and center from Katie Hobbs,” said Senate President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope (R-Coolidge). “Instead of demonstrating diplomacy and bipartisanship, the Governor is showcasing her failure to work across the aisle. Instead of accomplishing the priorities of our citizens and strengthening our communities, she’s done little outside of hosting press gaggles and photo ops with activist groups and Democrats alike.”

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GOP State Legislators Laud Bills Getting Signed into Law

While Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) has been on a veto streak with major bills from Republican Legislators, not every bill gets the axe. As such, legislators with bills now on the books have released statements of celebration, including Senator Frank Carroll (R-Sun City West) on Monday for his bill helping the trucking industry.

“A victory last week for Arizona commerce, after the Governor signed by bill, SB1097,” Carroll said in an update to constituents. “We’ve had issues in our state, specifically in the West Valley, where municipalities are adopting regulations on trucking in their communities in an effort to prevent the traffic associated with commerce. This is a major problem for not only our economy, but for economies of other states.”

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Arizona Gov. Hobbs Continues to Veto Republican Legislation to Lawmaker’s Dismay

Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) unveiled on Tuesday another batch of legislative actions, signing eight bills and vetoing five. Among the bills to not make it was Senate Bill (SB) 1027, sponsored by State Senator Anthony Kern (R-Glendale), which would have increased punishments for fentanyl manufacturers who cause injuries to children.

“We have been fighting the opioid epidemic not just in Arizona, but nationwide for decades,” said Kern. “The least we can do is try to protect our children and future generations from exposure to a deadly drug often laced into opioids. This bill had the support of many Democrats, yet Governor Hobbs continues to show her priorities are out of line.”

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Arizona State Senator Blasts Gov. Katie Hobbs for Vetoing Election Equipment Oversight Bill

Arizona Senator Majority Leader Sonny Borrelli (R-Lake Havasu) released a statement Tuesday blasting Gov. Katie Hobbs for vetoing his bill, SB 1074, which he claims would have provided oversight to the electronic equipment used in the state’s elections.

“This bill would have taken the politics out of the voting process and created a neutral party that works for the Legislature. Fair and honest elections are a bi-partisan concern, albeit only when Democrats are the ones to benefit. Hobbs’ obstructive and cavalier attitude has been part of the destruction of transparency and oversight within our elections,” Borrelli said.

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Extended Good Samaritan Law Immunizes Arizonans Seeking Overdose Care

A bill extending the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose law from State Representative Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott) was signed into law by Governor Katie Hobbs (D) on Thursday, prompting a statement of celebration from the lawmaker.

“This is an example of good policy getting passed even with divided government,” said Nguyen. “Prosecuting people who seek or provide lifesaving assistance in drug overdose cases can have a chilling effect and delay or even prevent timely help during a medical emergency.”

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Maricopa County Report Identifies Glaring Election Errors as Lake, Finchem Challenges Continue

While Maricopa County released a report on the election failures of the 2022 elections, Arizona election lawsuits continue as 2022 GOP nominees Kari Lake and Mark Finchem file motions for reconsideration in their respective races for governor and secretary of state. On Monday, Maricopa County released a report by former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor on the causes of the ballot printer issues that occurred at more than 70 vote centers on Election Day last year, which resulted in long lines as many voters’ ballots were unreadable by tabulator machines.

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Pro-Life Legal Nonprofit Blasts Katie Hobbs for Vetoing Bill Aiming to Protect Children

Scottsdale-based nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) released a statement Thursday putting Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) on blast for vetoing Senate Bill (SB) 1600, aimed at protecting a child born alive.

“Every human life is valuable, and every baby deserves to be protected. By rejecting critical legal protections for babies who survive abortions, Gov. Hobbs has made it clear: She would rather cater to the abortion industry than affirm the basic human rights of vulnerable children. Her failure to protect the lives of children once they are outside of the womb is unthinkable and inexcusable,” said ADF Senior Council Denise Burke. “We’re grateful to the Arizona lawmakers who took a strong stand for life by passing this vital legislation.”

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State Representative Applauds New Executive Order Banning TikTok on Arizona Agency Devices

Arizona State Representative Matt Gress (R-Phoenix) released a statement Thursday praising the newest Executive Order from Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) banning the social media app TikTok on state agency devices. Gress has a bill moving through the Legislature to achieve a similar result.

“I applaud the Governor for taking action to address the security and data collection threats posed by TikTok and similar apps. The Legislature still needs to act, and the Governor should sign HB 2416, a comprehensive plan to keep the state’s critical information secure and strengthen public safety. It would expand on the Governor’s order, codifying it permanently into state law, and apply to all government entities, employees, and contractors,” Gress said.

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Gov. Katie Hobbs Vetoes Bipartisan Ballot Signature Verification Bill Containing Her Own Policies

State Representative Alexander Kolodin (R-Scottsdale) made an announcement Wednesday that his House Bill (HB) 2322, relating to early ballot signature verification, has passed through the legislature and is now in the hands of Governor Katie Hobbs (D).

“The signature verification rules included in this legislation helps ensure that only ballots cast by lawful voters are counted,” said Kolodin. “These are the same rules that were written by Governor Hobbs when she was the Secretary of State.”

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Superintendent of Public Instruction Says Project Momentum Arizona Will Continue Under His Administration

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne (R) announced Monday that the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) would take up the funding needed to continue expanding Project Momentum Arizona (PMA) in state schools.

“My job is to make sure student learning increases and test scores improve. Project Momentum Arizona has proven to be remarkably effective where it has been implemented. Every school in the Avondale Elementary [School] District [AESD] is now either rated A or B, and students in the Buckeye Elementary District outperformed the state average in the latest statewide achievement test,” Horne said.

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Katie Hobbs Vetoes Four More Republican Sponsored Bills

Gov. Kaite Hobbs continues to strike down Republican-sponsored bills, announcing Monday that she vetoed four House Bills (HB), bringing her total to 24 this session.

“Issuing vetoes is easy. Actual leadership requires hard work, and Republicans in the legislature will continue to pass good public policies that make the state better for working Arizonans and families,” said Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) in a statement emailed to The Arizona Sun Times.

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Signature Verification Software Used by Maricopa County Says 10 Percent is ‘High-Confidence’ Match

With Kari Lake’s legal complaint alleging systematic signature verification failures in Maricopa County remanded by the Arizona Supreme Court to trial court, closer examination of the signature verification software used by the county reveals a strikingly low threshold for signatures to qualify as “high-confidence” matches.

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Arizona State Senator Blasts Gov. Katie Hobbs Following Veto of Vaccine Religious Exemption Bill

Arizona State Senator Janae Shamp (R-Surprise) released a statement Thursday stating her disappointment with Gov. Katie Hobbs (D), who vetoed her Senate Bill (SB) aiming to ensure health professionals can get religious exemption from taking a vaccine.

“I spent my entire career as a nurse, being an advocate for my patients and ensuring that their beliefs are respected and protected,” said Shamp. “The reason I’m here at the Senate, is because I was fired from my job as a nurse after refusing to get the experimental COVID-19 vaccine. My top priority is this bill because during the pandemic, Americans’ medical freedoms were taken from them, myself included. For me, the Governor’s veto is personal.”

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GOP State Legislators Disappointed by Arizona Gov. Hobbs’s Decision to Veto Grocery Tax Cut Legislation

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) announced several legislative actions on Tuesday, including the veto of Senate Bill (SB) 1063, sponsored by State Sen. Sonny Borrelli (R-Lake Havasu), which would have prevented Arizona municipalities from enforcing a tax on groceries.

“This veto is a disgraceful windfall for cities and an absolute gouge for families,” said Majority Leader Borrelli. “We’re not only paying inflated prices to feed our families, but we’re also paying more in taxes as the cost of food rises. Food is not a luxury; it is a necessity. A tax on our groceries is regressive and hurts everyone.”

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Bill to Cut Grocery Tax in Arizona Arrives at Katie Hobbs’s Desk

The Arizona State House passed Senate Bill (SB) 1063 by State Sen. Sonny Borrelli (R-Lake Havasu), which aims to eliminate the grocery tax across the state, sending it off to the governor’s desk for a final decision.

“At a time when thousands of Arizonans are already struggling to make ends meet, government shouldn’t be contributing to higher costs for basic necessities like food,” said State Rep. Matt Gress (R-Phoenix) following his vote in the bill’s favor. “With Arizonans facing one of the highest inflation rates in the nation, I’ll never stop fighting to lower costs for families, seniors, and our most hard-hit fellow citizens.”

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Arizona Legislative Leaders Join in Legal Battle over Capital Punishment for Aaron Gunches

Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) and House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) announced they are fighting back against Gov. Katie Hobbs’s (D) opposition to executing death row inmate Aaron Gunches.

“Governor Hobbs’ unilateral decision to defy a court order is lawless and should not be tolerated by the Judiciary,” said Toma in a statement emailed to the Arizona Sun Times. “We filed this amicus brief because the Governor is not above the law and simply cannot choose which statutes or court orders to follow. Moreover, I’m proud to stand with the victims in this case. Governor Hobbs’ actions have been a flagrant insult to the Price family, denying them of their legal rights as crime victims, and of the justice they are very much due.”

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Arizona State Representative Calls on Governor Hobbs to Improve Arizona-Mexico Commission to Optimize National Trade

Arizona State House announced Monday that Rep. David Cook (R-Globe) is attempting to work with Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) to improve the Arizona-Mexico Commission (AMC) and the state’s foreign trade capabilities.

“As we continue to build on a global economy, we look at strengthening partnerships with Mexico and Arizona to better our regions for the world markets in the 4th Industrial Revolution of the 21st Century,” Cook wrote in a letter to Hobbs. “It is our common interest to further promote our close friendship with Mexico and its states and to adapt to current global paradigm shifts.”

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State Sen. Jake Hoffman Urges Hobbs to Reinstate Previous Arizona Department of Child Safety Director Mike Faust

Arizona State Sen. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) sent a letter to Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) Thursday, urging her to reinstate former Department of Child Safety leader Mike Faust as the department is in need of a new leader.

“There are few executive agencies in Arizona as important as the Department of Child Safety,” Hoffman wrote. “Ensuring appropriate, experienced, and well-vetted leadership running the agency that seeks to protect the most vulnerable children in our society should be of utmost concern to us all.”

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Katie Hobbs Announces Commitment to Flip Arizona House and Senate, Legislators Fire Back

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs shared Tuesday that she is committing $500k to a fund aimed at securing a Democrat legislative majority when 2024 comes and alleged this was because Republicans are not cooperating in getting necessary policy changes enacted in the state.

“The current GOP legislative majority can play their political games – AZ Democrats are ready to get to work moving our state forward,” Hobbs tweeted. “Help us build on this exciting momentum by pitching in a couple bucks to our Flip the Leg Fund!”

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State Senator Justine Wadsack Bolsters Vote Against Katie Hobbs’s Health Services Director Nominee as Support for Constituents

The Arizona State Senate turned down Gov. Katie Hobbs’s nomination for the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Director, Dr. Theresa Ann Cullen, in a vote Tuesday. Following the rejection, freshman State Sen. Justine Wadsack (R-Tucson) celebrated her vote against Cullen as a push for her constituents.

“When I decided to run for the Senate and represent Legislative District 17, I had one objective in mind: to improve and ease the lives of my constituents while protecting their constitutional right to freedom,” said Wadsack.

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Republican Legislative Leaders Request Katie Hobbs Give Leftover Inaugural Funds for General Use

State House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) and Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) sent a request to Gov. Katie Hobbs Thursday, requesting she transfers the remainder of her inaugural fund to the state for general use.

“We appreciate your commitment to transparency in releasing the list of 120 donors and the amounts of each donation to the ‘Katie Hobbs Inaugural Fund,'” the legislators wrote. “We urge you to follow in your predecessors’ footsteps and transfer any monies left over in the Inaugural Fund to the Protocol Fund.”

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Hobbs, Mayes Temporarily Halt Death Penalty in Arizona

Gov. Katie Hobbs issued an executive order on Friday to review the death penalty process in Arizona, while a stay from Attorney General Kris Mayes halts it for the time.

Hobbs will be selecting an “independent review commissioner” to investigate “all components” of the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation, & Reentry’s “execution process for lethal injections and the gas chamber,” the order states.

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Arizona Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Abolish the State Income Tax

Although Arizona’s state income tax recently dropped to one of the lowest in the nation, a rookie lawmaker disagrees with the concept of having an income tax at all.  Rep. Austin Smith, a West Valley Republican, filed House Bill 2395. He said taxpayers have struggled to make ends meet due to the current economic environment. 

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Runbeck: Election Firm Involved in Maricopa County’s Alleged Chain-of-Custody Violations

As Republican Kari Lake appeals a legal defeat in her lawsuit challenging certification of her narrow loss in Arizona’s Nov. 8 gubernatorial election, she is alleging that ballot chain-of-custody issues occurred at Runbeck Election Services, a company that municipalities across the country use for outsourcing election operations.

Lake is appealing a ruling against her last month in her suit against former Secretary of State and current Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs and Maricopa County election officials demanding the election result be set aside due to alleged failures and misconduct by the county. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson found that Lake failed to meet a legal standard of clear and convincing evidence that intentional misconduct changed the outcome of the election.

In her appeal, which challenges the legal standard applied by the trial court, Lake alleges that Maricopa County’s “massive violations of law and maladministration” included violating Arizona law’s chain-of-custody requirements by not having Election Day dropbox ballots counted at Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC) before going to Runbeck.

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Arizona Gov. Hobbs’ New Budget Defunds Border Strike Force, Universal School Choice Program

If the reaction from Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs’ first budget proposal is any indication, she and lawmakers are likely in for a long spring. 

Hobbs announced her $17.1 billion spending proposal Friday afternoon, saying it lowers costs, invests in public education, secures the state’s water future and addresses the affordable housing crisis. 

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Arizona Republican Legislators Respond to State of the State Address, Say Political Games Will Not Sidetrack Them

Following the State of the State address from Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, Majority Leaders State Rep. Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu) and Sen. Sonny Borrelli (R-Lake Havasu) released a video responding to the speech.

“You heard from Governor Hobbs; she does not want a policy discussion but a hasty action for political points. Our founding fathers set up the legislative process that works,” said Borrelli. “We will not be sidetracked or bullied for political games. It [the legislative process] is divinely inspired by our founding fathers. We will stick to the mission.”

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Arizona State Senate Majority Caucus Promises to Keep Republican Values at the Center of Legislation Going into New Session

The Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus (Caucus) released its 2023 Majority Plan on Thursday, outlining priorities and approaches to strengthening the state and tackling important issues. Kim Quintero, director of communications for the Caucus, told The Arizona Sun Times that the elected officials would do their best to honor the Republican values they ran on while working under newly sworn-in Gov. Katie Hobbs (D).

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