On Salmon’s Exit, Founder of Arizona’s State House Freedom Caucus Urges ‘Principled, Stalwart Conservatives’ to Support Kari Lake for Governor

In the wake of Matt Salmon’s exit from the Republican gubernatorial nomination race, State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) – founder of the Arizona Legislature’s House Freedom Caucus – issued a statement urging the former state representative’s supporters to switch their support to Kari Lake.

With Salmon out of the running, the Arizona race for governor is down to two major candidates on the Republican side.

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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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Arizona Legislature Considering ‘Build Back Broke’ Type of Budget with Earmarks, Funding for School Social Workers, and Government Employee Pay Raises

The Arizona Legislature is rushing to pass a budget before the 2022 session ends in a few days on June 30, but some Republican legislators are balking at agreeing to vote for the 12 budget bills due to the amount of spending, $17.9 billion. State Sen. Michelle Ugenti (R-Scottsdale) tweeted on Monday, “Arizona’s version of @JoeBiden’s Build Back Broke (aka the legislature’s introduced budget) is not fiscally responsible. You cannot spend your way out of a looming recession.”

She objected to the budget adding an extra half a billion dollars. “I can’t think of anything more fiscally irresponsible than spending recklessly on member pet projects while Arizonans struggle to keep up with crushing inflation,” she tweeted. The Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona called the budget “bloated and wasteful.” 

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Five Arizona Cities, Led by Queen Creek, Are Among 15 Fastest-Growing Cities in the Country

New census data reveals that Arizona has five of the fastest-growing 15 cities in the U.S.

The five areas are Queen Creek, Buckeye, Casa Grande, Maricopa City and Goodyear. While Phoenix was further down on the list, it was one of only two of the largest 10 cities in the country to gain residents.

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State Lawmaker Alleges House Speaker Bowers Is ‘Playing Games’ with Election Integrity as Key Bills Fall Short

State House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) considered sending armed Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers after two conservative legislators during remarks on the State House floor, despite State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) telling multiple members of House leadership and their staff that there would not be enough legislators present for a vote on Tuesday to hear election integrity bills.

“This is sadly just another in a long list of examples of systematically failed leadership and near-total dysfunction in the House under Rusty Bowers,” Hoffman told The Arizona Sun Times. “Leadership knew full well they would not have the votes to pass partisan bills, yet they chose to play games with one of the most important issues facing our state – election integrity. Any claim that leadership was unaware they would be missing votes is at best pure fiction, and at worst intentionally misleading.”

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Hoffman on Arizona: ‘We Are a Much Redder State than People Give Us Credit For’

Neil W. McCabe, the national political editor of The Star News Network, interviewed Republican state Rep. Jake Hoffman (AZ-12), the founder of the Arizona Freedom Caucus in the state’s House of Representatives, about the state of play for conservatives in the Copper State.

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11 Substantial Election Integrity Bills Were Signed into Law Last Year in Arizona; So Far This Year, Only One

A couple of Republican legislators have been holding up election integrity bills from passing this year, but there was plenty of groundwork made last year. The Arizona Legislature pushed hard to get 11 of these bills passed in 2021, in large part due to concern there was fraud in the 2020 presidential election. So far this year, Gov. Doug Ducey has only signed one election integrity bill into law. 

Along with a list of last year’s successful bills provided to Republican Briefs, State Sen. Vince Leach (R-Tucson) said, “For those of you who think that our legislature did nothing for election security, here are the actual bills passed this [past] session. … The rest will have to wait until we have a larger majority.”

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Report: Yavapai County Has Unmonitored Ballot Drop Box Despite Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Stating Drop Boxes Violate Felony Law

State Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix) was driving through Skull Valley in Yavapai County, Arizona, two weeks ago when she noticed an unmonitored ballot drop box in the parking lot of the U.S. Postal Service. Unmonitored ballot drop boxes have become a big concern lately due to the new Dinesh D’Souza documentary 2,000 Mules, which traced GPS cell phone locations to show that around 2,000 people may have illegally transferred handfuls of ballots repeatedly from left-leaning nonprofits to these drop boxes in swing states including Arizona.

Bolick tweeted, “Why does the Skull Valley, AZ US Post Office have an unmanned drop box for mail-in ballots in its parking lot when it has a blue mailbox in front of the post office that can already receive mail-in ballots?” She told The Arizona Sun Times she has a call scheduled with the Yavapai County Recorder Leslie Hoffman to discuss them.

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Gov. Ducey Signs 2022’s First Election Integrity Bill Which Closes Loophole on Non-Citizens Voting, Opponents Blast It

The whole country is watching Arizona to see if it will strengthen election integrity laws after fraud was highly suspected there in the 2020 presidential election. So far during the 2022 legislative session, the Arizona Legislature has referred one comprehensive measure to the ballot, the Arizonans for Voter ID Act, and sent its first bill to Gov. Doug Ducey to sign or veto. HB 2492, sponsored by State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), requires proof of citizenship in order to vote, with the exception of voting in congressional elections which is preempted by federal law. 

The law, which passed both chambers along party lines, establishes tough penalties for those who violate it; it is a felony for election officials to register voters without proof of citizenship. County recorders are required to regularly cross-reference registered voters with citizenship databases. It gives the Arizona Attorney General authority to investigate. 

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Arizona GOP Legislators and Gov. Ducey Drafting Legislation to Combat Initiative That Would Derail Historic Tax Cuts

Last year, Arizona enacted historic tax cuts, changing the state’s tax code law to mostly a 2.5% flat tax rate. But opponents collected enough signatures to put an initiative on the ballot this fall, Prop. 307, that would reverse the legislation. In response, Republican state legislators are working with Gov. Doug Ducey to pass legislation that would make the initiative null and void — and maybe implement even more striking tax cuts. 

State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), who sponsored legislation last year that would have repealed and replaced the historic tax cuts with an even more far reaching 1.5% tax rate, told The Arizona Sun Times, “I told the Governor’s office that the 2.5% tax rate he’s pushing for can only be the starting point. With yet another year of record budget surpluses of nearly $4 billion, the people of Arizona are being overtaxed. We must cut taxes even more during the budget process.” 

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Arizonans for Voter ID Act Makes Ballot, and 15 Election Integrity Bills Have Passed the Arizona House

The Arizona Legislature has voted to send the Arizonans for Voter ID Act to the ballot as a proposition this fall, and 15 more election integrity bills have passed the Arizona House. The Arizonans for Voter ID Act was initially launched as a citizens’ initiative by the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, which would have required 237,645 valid signatures to get on the ballot. SCR 1012, which passed along party lines, bypasses that time-consuming and often difficult process.

State Senator Kelly Townsend (R-Apache Junction), told the Arizona Sun Times, “Today the Senate Republican caucus met to discuss which bills they can support. We were able to get through much of what we have been proposing and received support from nearly all the members with two absent and not weighing in. I’m excited to see good election reform moving forward, ideas that will fortify election security so that voters can feel more secure about their votes. Bills deal with securing technology, ballot paper, chain of custody, removing drop boxes, improving signature verification, cleaning of the voter rolls, and many other items that we are looking to fix.”

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Attorney General Brnovich Says Arizona Can Act on Its Own on the Border Since There’s an Invasion

State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) asked Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich for a legal opinion on whether there is an “invasion” under the U.S. Constitution on the U.S. border with Mexico, allowing Arizona to defend itself. Brnovich responded affirmatively on Monday, saying it’s up to Governor Doug Ducey to initiate action. 

Hoffman told The Arizona Sun Times, “I’m glad to see that Attorney General Brnovich today agreed with my assessment that the crisis occurring on our southern border constitutes an invasion and a total failure by the Biden administration to fulfill its constitutional obligation to protect the people of Arizona.” 

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Arizona Republican Electors Suddenly Under Attack Now for Choosing Trump in the 2020 Election

People voting

Democrats are suddenly now attacking 11 Republican Arizona electors for choosing Donald Trump to receive Arizona’s electoral votes over a year ago, shortly after the 2020 presidential election. The Democrat-controlled U.S. House committee investigating the raucous protest at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 issued subpoenas on Jan. 28 for some of the Republican electors in seven swing states that submitted both a Republican slate of electors along with a Democratic slate, including two Arizona Republicans. 

A few of the electors have spoken up publicly in the last few days after it was made an issue, explaining they cast their votes believing Trump would prevail, since the election results were challenged in multiple lawsuits due to widespread belief there was voter fraud in Arizona and other swing states. The Arizona Sun Times reached out to several of them requesting comment, but they declined to respond, citing the legal risks. 

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Trump Salutes Maricopa County Audit, Atty. Gen. Brnovich, Teases AT&T Boycott at 45K-Strong Arizona Rally

President Donald J. Trump gave his full support to Arizona conservatives, who are still investigating the handling of the 2020 presidential election, and he expressed confidence that state Attorney General Mark Brnovich would take action on the findings of the Maricopa County audit and other investigations Saturday at his Canyon Moon Ranch rally in Florence, Arizona.

The president said he was counting on state Attorney General Mark Brnovich to investigate how the 2020 presidential election was handled in Arizona.

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‘Total Breakdown’ of Electronic System for Collecting Candidates’ Petition Signatures Under Arizona Secretary of State Hobbs

Candidates running for office in Arizona are reporting difficulty collecting signatures online due to a “total breakdown” of Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ website, as Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Gaynor described it. Hobbs, a Democrat, is also running for governor. New redistricting maps have been established, and although candidates are allowed to collect signatures from either their old district or their new district, if they’ve filed to run in the new district, the E-Qual system will only accept signatures from the old district with that number — which might be a completely different area.

Labeling the technical difficulties a “total breakdown,” Gaynor said in a statement, “The breakdown of the E-QUAL system is a slap in the face to Arizona candidates and voters, and all the hard work that has been done during the AIRC process. Secretary Hobbs has utterly failed to protect our election process, and her mismanagement of the E-QUAL system is the latest indication that Arizona’s elections are not in safe hands.”

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Maricopa County Officials’ Response to Results of Arizona Senate’s Independent 2020 Ballot Audit Leaves More Questions Than Answers

Maricopa County officials have issued a 93-page response to the findings of the independent Maricopa County ballot audit of the 2020 presidential election, which was ordered by the Arizona Senate. Presented during a meeting of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Jan. 5, the officials claimed there were fewer than 100 questionable ballots out of the 2.1 million cast. 

Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward watched a portion of the meeting and expressed skepticism to The Arizona Sun Times, “The part that I’ve seen so far was a group of related good ole boys attempting to convince people that they ran a perfect election,” she said. “They want Americans to believe them over what we saw with our own eyes. Arizonans were totally justified in demanding an audit of the 2020 election — and we should actually audit everything so we can restore voter confidence that our elections have integrity.”

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Arizona State Rep. Jake Hoffman Denounces Arizona State University’s ‘Slap on the Wrist’ for Students Who Kicked White Students Out of Multicultural Center

Two minority students at Arizona State University posted a video on Instagram on Dec. 22 announcing that ASU has disciplined them for forcing two white students on September 23 to leave the university’s multicultural center, an event captured on video that went viral. ASU first charged undergraduate student Mastaani Qureshi and graduate student Sarra Tekola with two Code of Conduct violations in November, stalking and interfering with university activities. A third student, Mimi Arayya, was also charged with the violations, but ASU later dropped them. 

According to Qureshi and Tekola in their video response announcing ASU’s discipline, the university first gave them a warning, then required them “to write a 3-page paper on how next time we talk to white people about race in society, we will be civil.” Qureshi said she will not comply with writing the statement and does not regret her actions.

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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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Arizona State University Says Kyle Rittenhouse May Apply for Admission There, Despite Protests by Some Students

Arizona State University (ASU) officials say Kyle Rittenhouse may enroll for classes, notwithstanding radical student groups like the ASU Students For Socialism’s vows to demonstrate on campus Wednesday to demand the school prevent him from attending. Rittenhouse, who was recently acquitted of homicide for defending himself, has taken online courses at ASU previously and said after the acquittal that he intends to resume them.

Several prominent ASU graduates denounced the protest, and one, State Sen. Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa), pushed ASU for a response.

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Republican Arizona Legislators Plan to Introduce Bills on Election Integrity, Vaccine Mandates, and Other Issues This Upcoming Session

Fresh on the heels of the big GOP win in Virginia, Arizona’s Republican legislators are eager to stop dropping bills for the 2022 legislative session. They begin filling them on November 15. Here are a handful of bills some of them will be sponsoring.

Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) told The Arizona Sun Times he has over a dozen election integrity bills he plans to introduce. In addition to those, he will be dropping three other bills. “Heading into the 2022 legislative session, election integrity continues to be not only the civil rights issue of our day but also the most important legislative issue facing our nation,” he said. “In Arizona you can expect to see dozens of smart, common sense reforms that will ensure voter confidence for generations to come and greatly improve the overall security of Arizona elections.”

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Arizona Lawmaker Calls for Scottsdale School Board President’s Resignation, Prosecution Over Alleged ‘Enemies List’ Database 

On the heels of the exposure of an extensive database of personal and derogatory information local parents say was collected by Scottsdale School Board President Jann-Michael Greenburg, Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) told The Arizona Sun Times that Greenburg needs to resign.

“Parents in Scottsdale and across the state are mad as hell over this situation, and rightfully so,” he said. “These allegations are gravely concerning and should be investigated to the fullest extent. If true, Scottsdale Board President Jann-Michael Greenburg should resign in disgrace and be prosecuted for abuse of power. It is unacceptable and anti-American to compile dossiers on your political enemies, especially when those so-called enemies are the very people you were elected to serve.”

Parents of children in the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) discovered that the president of the school district’s school board, Jann-Michael Greenburg, has a Google Drive database containing personal information about some of the parents he’d had conflicts with. Greenburg (who is shown to have edit permissions for the Drive) and his father, Mark (who is listed as the owner of the Drive) told The Scottsdale Independent they had no involvement or knowledge of the database.

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20 Arizona Republican Legislators Denounce ASU Video of White Students Kicked Out of Multicultural Center, Considers Defunding

Arizona State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) and 19 other legislators issued a statement following a video that went viral of three black students kicking two white students out of Arizona State University’s multicultural center. They demanded accountability and threatened to withhold funding from the university.

They announced, “It has come to light following the racially-motivated harassment of two students and their subsequent removal from one of the campus’ study facilities that ASU has allowed a culture of institutionalized racism and neo-segregation to take hold on its campus. The racially-charged removal of these students from the multicultural center begs the question of why Arizonans are being forced to spend tens, potentially hundreds, of millions of their hard-earned tax dollars on a building at a public university that some of our citizens are not allowed to use?”

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Arizona GOP Leaders Respond to Biden Kicking Trump’s Appointees Off Military Boards

The Biden administration told 11 Trump-appointed individuals they must resign or be fired from their positions on military service academy boards of visitors, and leading Arizona Republicans are speaking up about it. The appointees include former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, former senior counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, and former director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought. Others include top former military brass.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who served in the National Guard reserves, including as a Command Staff Judge Advocate, told The Arizona Sun Times, “It is abundantly clear that choosing the right people to lead our nation’s military is not the Biden Administration’s strength. Categorically removing distinguished men and women who have faithfully served our military boards for years is a shameful example of how the Biden Administration continues to put its radical politics above the safety of all Americans.”

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Demand for Gov. Ducey’s School Vouchers to Leave Arizona Schools That Mandate Masks or Require Unvaccinated Students to Quarantine Exceeds Funds

Doug Ducey

Just three weeks after Gov. Doug Ducey announced that school districts issuing mask mandates or requiring vaccinated students to quarantine would be penalized by diverting money to students to use as school vouchers to attend elsewhere, demand has exceeded the $20 million he allotted by twice the amount. Ducey announced on August 17 that money the state received from the federal government through the pandemic-generated American Rescue Plan to boost per-pupil spending would not go to any of those schools.

Ducey made the announcement immediately following a demand on August 11 from Republican state legislators to take action regarding those school districts. They suggested that Ducey could withhold federal funds and offer vouchers, which he did, but he did not go so far as following their recommendation of suing the school districts.

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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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Four People Indicted for Fraud at Higley Unified School District in Gilbert

After an investigation by the Arizona Auditor General into alleged financial mismanagement at Higley Unified School District in Gilbert, a grand jury indicted four people for fraud. Dr. Denise Birdwell, a former superintendent of both Higley and Scottsdale Unified School Districts, was indicted on 18 felony counts related to reportedly misusing $6 million of public monies, including conspiring to get around school district rules in order to make sure Higley’s $2,557,125 contract went to a certain vendor. Birdwell’s domestic partner, Hartwell Hunnicutt, and two men from the vendor, Gary Aller and Steven Nielsen, were indicted on related felonies. 

State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), who served on the Higley school board from 2013-2015 while much of this took place under Birdwell, said he was attacked and stonewalled by district administrators as he and another board member fought to get to the bottom of serious concerns and suspicions that many people had at the time.

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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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Arizona Gov. Ducey Signs Bill Banning Critical Race Theory in Government

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed HB 2906 on Friday, banning government agencies from requiring critical race theory, known as CRT. The budget bill he signed last week, HB 2898, banned critical race theory in schools. Ducey also signed 22 other bills, including one restricting sex education in schools, HB 2035. He has until Monday to sign or veto 11 remaining bills. 

“I am not going to waste public dollars on lessons that imply the superiority of any race and hinder free speech,” Ducey declared. The law prohibits the state, cities and counties from requiring employees to participate in orientation, training or therapy that suggests an employee is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously. 

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