Arizona Senate Republicans Blast ‘Petulant Temper Tantrum’ from Gov. Hobbs over Confirmation Hearings

Arizona Senate Republicans fired back after Governor Katie Hobbs (D) withdrew her nominations for Arizona’s state agencies and declared she would deny oversight from the Arizona Legislature by appointing permanent “executive deputy directors” instead.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Hobbs called Arizona State Senator Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), who heads the Arizona State Senate panel to vet and interview Hobbs’ nominees, a “fake elector” guilty of creating a “political circus” in the Senate.

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Arizona Secretary of State Fontes Will Publish Public Comments on 2023 Elections Procedures Manual

A spokesperson for Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes told The Arizona Sun Times that the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office will publish all public comments on the 2023 Election Procedure Manual on the website after a review of comments has been completed.

“The comments will be made public after staff has a chance to review. Once that review is complete, it will be posted on the Secretary of State’s website,” the spokesperson told The Sun Times.

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Hamadeh Vows He ‘Won’t Stop Fighting’ as Top Arizona Republicans, America First Legal Rally Behind Election Challenge

Leading Republicans in the Arizona Legislature, alongside America First Legal (AFL), lodged amicus briefs on Wednesday, throwing their support behind Abraham Hamadeh’s petition to the Arizona Supreme Court for a retrial of his 2022 election contest. Hamadeh is petitioning for a fresh trial citing newly surfaced evidence, purportedly dubious rulings from the presiding Mohave County judge, and an effort to stave off protracted legal disputes over his election that could last well into 2024.

Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma filed an amicus brief in support of Hamadeh on the same day AFL filed its own. Hamadeh, whose race against Attorney General Kris Mayes was the closest in Arizona history with only 280 votes now stand between the candidates, celebrated the development.

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Arizona Republican Lawmakers Want Transparency and Publication of Public Comments on 2023 Elections Procedures Manual

Arizona Republican lawmakers demanded that Secretary of State Adrian Fontes publish all public comments on the 2023 Election Procedure Manual on the Arizona Secretary of State’s website to demonstrate his commitment to transparency.

This follows State Representatives Steve Montenegro (R-Goodyear) and Michael Carbone (R-Buckeye) requesting that Fontes extend the “extremely short” deadline for public comment on the 259-page manual, which he refused.

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Arizona Transgender Birth Certificate Lawsuit Given Class Action Status

A class action status has now been granted to a lawsuit alleging that Arizona’s laws concerning the alteration of birth certificates discriminate against transgender individuals, especially minors.

The lawsuit was originally filed against Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) on behalf of three Arizona families, and the court’s decision means its eventual ruling will now “apply to all transgender individuals born in Arizona” who wish to change their birth certificate to reflect their chosen gender identity.

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Arizona Political Candidates Line Up for 2024 Elections

Arizona Republicans and Democrats are lining up as candidates as the 2024 state election draws closer.

Republicans have a one-seat majority in the state House and Senate and some early candidates are vying for seats to determine which party has control of the legislature.

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Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen Promises Legal Action Against Biden’s Land Grab

Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) promises to take legal action against President Joe Biden’s “extreme government overreach” of seizing almost a million acres of land from Coconino and Mohave Counties to designate as a new national monument near the Grand Canyon.

According to Petersen, Republicans “Will use all legal options available to protect Arizona from this unacceptable and unconstitutional dictator-style land grab.”

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Candidate for Arizona House of Representatives Andrew Jackson Outlines Policy Commitments

Arizona Republican longtime Gilbert resident Andrew Jackson has outlined 20 policy commitments he will focus on during his run for the Arizona House of Representatives to represent Legislative District 14 (LD) in 2024.

This follows Jackson telling The Arizona Sun Times last week that he had officially announced his candidacy to represent Gilbert in the Arizona House of Representatives.

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Arizona Senate Republicans Continue Legal Fight to Protect Women and Girls Sports

Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) is increasing his legal efforts to protect women and girls from being required to compete in sports against biological males at public schools, colleges, and universities in Arizona.

This follows after Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) filed a motion intervening in a lawsuit in May that threatened to repeal the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” which tries to level the playing field for women and girls in athletics, was passed into law last year.

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Gov. Hobbs’ Closed Door Task Force Recommends 20 Changes to Arizona Elections

The Elections Task Force (ETF) created via executive order by Governor Katie Hobbs has recommended 20 changes to Arizona elections, including moves to prevent ballot drop boxes from being observed by citizen groups and restore the voting rights of felons.

Hobbs’ ETF agreed to advance 20 of 22 total proposals it generated to consider during a Thursday meeting that was closed to the public, including members of the media. It was the second full meeting of the group, which Hobbs chairs, since she created it via executive order in January.

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Andrew Jackson Announces Candidacy for Arizona House of Representatives

Arizona Republican longtime Gilbert resident Andrew Jackson told The Arizona Sun Times that he officially announced his candidacy for a run for the Arizona House of Representatives to represent Legislative District 14 (LD) in 2024.

“Yes, it is now official. I’m running. I’m a candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives (representing Gilbert) in 2024,” Jackson told The Sun Times.

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Andrew Jackson Will ‘Soon’ Announce His Candidacy for Arizona House of Representatives

Arizona Republican longtime Gilbert resident Andrew Jackson told The Arizona Sun Times that he plans to make an announcement for a run for the Arizona House of Representatives to represent Legislative District 14 (LD) in 2024 “soon.”

“I am very close to running. There is just a process in our district of making sure I talk to everyone and prepare myself. I just want to make sure it’s the right decision. I want to give it time and not make a quick decision. If I’m going to represent Gilbert (Legislative District 14) I want to make sure that I will put in the effort. I expect to finalize my decision in two to three weeks,” Jackson told The Sun Times.

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Former Arizona State Representative Shawnna Bolick to Fill Vacant Senate Seat

Shawnna Bolick

On Wednesday the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors selected former Arizona House of Representative member Republican Shawnna Bolick to fill a seat in the State Senate for Legislative District 2 which represents areas of north Phoenix.

This follows former Republican Senator Steve Kaiser resigning last month to run a nonprofit policy group that he founded to support the Republican majority at the Arizona Legislature.

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Arizona Senate Republican Caucus Says Meeting with Governor Hobbs on Recent Administrative Actions ‘Went Well’

The Arizona Senate Republican Caucus said a meeting last week between Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) and Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs to discuss her recent abortion-related crimes executive order “went well.”

According to a session, update e-mailed to reporters by the caucus, after the meeting, Petersen (pictured above, right) was optimistic that the discussion between him and the Arizona Governor benefited the state.

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Senate President Pro Tempore Says Governor Hobbs Is ‘Out of Touch’ with Arizonans on LGBTQ Executive Orders

Arizona Senate President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope (R-Florance) said that Governor Katie Hobbs’ recent executive orders to provide insurance-covered sex change procedures and ban so-called “conversion therapy” are “out of touch” with the desires of the majority of Arizonans.

Last week, Governor Hobbs signed two executive orders one to require state employee health care plans to cover sex change surgeries and another to ban state agencies from funding, promoting, or supporting so-called “conversion therapy” for minors.

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Arizona Republican Lawmakers Oppose the Biden Administration’s Proposed EPA Regulations

Arizona Republican lawmakers are fighting back against the “disastrous impacts” the proposed changes to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules will have on Arizonans.

Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) and House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) sent two letters to the U.S. EPA in opposition to the EPA’s proposed regulations which would mandate a transition to electric cars and trucks from model year 2027 through model year 2032.

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Center for Arizona Policy Calls for State Supreme Court to Reinstate Arizona’s Pre-Roe Abortion Limitations

The Arizona Center for Policy (CAP) shared Wednesday that it has entered the legal battle surrounding Arizona’s territorial-era limitations on abortions with an amicus brief to the state Supreme Court.

“State lawmakers kept the state’s pre-Roe law on the books as they passed dozens of laws protecting life while Roe forbade them from going further,” said CAP President Cathi Herrod. “Allowing the lower court ruling to stand threatens thousands of lives a year, as well as the integrity of the judiciary, and the Legislature’s power to govern.”

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State Senator Lauds Passage of Upcoming Tax Rebates Coming to Arizonans

Arizona State Senator Jake Hoffman released a statement Friday celebrating the upcoming tax rebates Arizonans will receive based on the State Budget passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Katie Hobbs (D).

“Gas, groceries, housing, and energy prices have surged over the past three years since Democrats took control of the federal government,” Hoffman said. “This is the first time in at least 30 years our state lawmakers have been able to step up to the plate to provide a tax rebate of this magnitude for our citizens. I’m proud of the leadership of the Arizona Freedom Caucus, and for the support of our Republican colleagues, to dedicate $260 million to helping struggling Arizona families.”

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Arizona Lawmakers Rally Behind Solutions to Arizona’s Housing Crisis

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers met outside the State Capital Wednesday to build support for a potential solution to Arizona’s housing crisis, which involves reforming zoning regulations so more houses can be built.

“You additionally see it in red and blue states across the nation, right now this year, where zoning reform laws are getting signed by governors of every political party,” said State Senator Steve Kaiser (R-Phoenix), the lawmaker behind the policies at hand. “This is bipartisan in every state that it’s done in.”

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Legislative Leaders Step in to Defend Women’s Sports in Arizona

Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) announced Monday that he and House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) have motioned to intervene in a court case to defend a state law banning biological men from participating in women’s sports because Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) has refused to do so herself.

“Like it or not, it is Attorney General Mayes’ job to defend state law the Legislature passes. Because she won’t do her job, I feel an obligation as House Speaker, and as a father of five daughters, to intervene in this case and stand up for women and girls who should not be forced to compete in sports with biological males, who have obvious and unfair physiological advantages that cannot be overlooked,” Toma said in a statement emailed to The Arizona Sun Times.

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Arizona Legislative Leaders Continue Fight Against Federal Vaccine Mandates

Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) announced Wednesday that he, along with House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria), filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to halt any enforcement of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

“We will not allow President Biden to blatantly undermine the will of the Arizona State Legislature in the protections we’ve provided for our citizens to prevent a COVID-19 vaccine mandate from dictating employment opportunities,” said President Petersen. “The Biden Administration has made it clear that they are against any Americans who push back against this vaccine and will abuse their powers in order to force compliance as a stipulation of doing business with the federal government.”

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Arizona Homemade Food Bill Receives National Support While Senate Democrats Appear to Backtrack

Support for HB 2509, sponsored by Travis Grantham (R-Gilbert), to receive a veto override has reached nationwide, as the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) sent Arizona Legislative leaders a message Sunday sharing their support for this bill.

“By signing this bill, the Governor [Katie Hobbs (D)] had an opportunity to support the Hispanic community and personal freedom that should be accessible to everyone. Our community should not fear legal repercussions for selling their homemade foods and we urge Arizona Legislators to do what is right and override her veto,” wrote the NHCSL President, New Jersey Senator Nellie Pou (D-Paterson).

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State Senate Republicans Urge Democrats to Cooperate in Creating a Bipartisan State Budget for Arizonans

With the Legislative session winding down, one of the major tasks left for lawmakers to accomplish is creating a state budget, which needs to be in place before July, or a government shutdown could occur. However, Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) said State Democrats are inhibiting the process by not cooperating with budgeting requests.

“We are just weeks away from some government agencies running out of funding because legislative Democrats are stalling,” said Petersen. “I’m confident we would have already passed a budget had the Democrats spent the last seven weeks negotiating the budget with us, in good faith.”

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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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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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Judge Rules State Legislative Leaders Can Intervene in Lawsuit to Protect Arizona Abortion Ban

U.S. District Judge Douglas Rayes released an order Wednesday stating that Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) and House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) may intervene in a court case involving an abortion ban law enacted in 2021.

“When it became clear that Attorney General [Kris] Mayes [D] would not defend Arizona’s law prohibiting discriminatory abortions, the Legislature had to step in. I applaud the federal court’s order recognizing our legislative authority and granting our motion to intervene to defend the constitutionality of this law,” Toma said in a statement emailed to The Sun Times.

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Arizona Legislature Threatens Legal Action Against NAAG Regarding Use of Funds

Arizona State Legislators, House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) and Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) sent a letter to the National Association of Attorney Generals (NAAG) Wednesday, threatening legal action because of the association’s utilization of funding.

“It is time that Arizona’s laws and regulations start applying to NAAG and that this unaccountable slush fund activity stop now,” the legislators wrote in the joint letter. “At this point, litigation is reasonably likely between us. Consider this letter a litigation hold notice.”

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Arizona Republican Legislative Leaders Reach Out to Gov. Hobbs to Negotiate a State Budget

With a potential government shutdown looming on the horizon, State House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) and Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) sent a letter to Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) Tuesday requesting a meeting to discuss ways to compromise on the state budget.

“In our first and only meeting to discuss the budget, your office stated it was unwilling to receive feedback or take questions. Obviously, we need some level of agreement to pass a budget. We believe we can achieve most of our priorities and including yours that are reasonable,” the Legislators wrote in their joint letter.

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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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State Representative David Livingston Seeks Further Transparency from Gov. Katie Hobbs on Inauguration Funds

Arizona State Representative David Livingston (R-Peoria) sent letters Monday to Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) and her campaign manager Nicole DeMont seeking further transparency regarding the funds Hobbs received for her inauguration events.

“To that end, I have serious concerns relating to the procurement of funds that appear to have been solicited and donated for the purpose of sponsoring Inauguration events hosted at the Capitol in early January,” Livingston wrote. “It is my understanding that you or your campaign manager publically disclosed some of the donors and the amounts of their donations several weeks ago, but this disclosure is incomplete.”

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Arizona State Legislature Officially Lifts Spending Cap on Public Schools After Senate Vote

The Arizona State Senate has officially passed Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 1009, sponsored by Sen. Ken Bennett (R-Prescott), which lifts the spending limits placed on public schools by the aggregate expenditure limit. This lifting will allow schools to spend a nearly $1.4 billion surplus in allocated funds.

“Senate Republicans have an uninterrupted history of always allowing our K-12 public schools to spend the money appropriated to them by the Legislature, and this year is no different,” said Bennett. “By far, our public education system receives the most money annually from our state budget.”

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Republican Legislators Oppose Participation in Katie Hobbs’s Election Task Force Nominations

Arizona State Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) and House Speaker (R-Peoria) sent a letter to Governor Katie Hobbs Monday, outlining their concerns with the Elections Task Force (ETF) created through Executive Order 2023-03.

“We agree that election reform is necessary. But we question whether your unilateral decision to appoint a task force and direct it to address this subject of paramount and statewide importance is an appropriate exercise of your authority,” according to the letter.

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State Sen. Jake Hoffman to Lead New Senate Committee on Director Nominations

State Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) announced Thursday that there would be a new bipartisan Director Nominations Committee in the Senate to make decisions regarding Governor Katie Hobbs’s Executive Appointments.

“Agency directors have a tremendous responsibility to administer necessary government functions as directed by state law, without attempting to legislate from the executive branch or expanding the reach of big government,” said State Sen. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), who is appointed to lead the new committee.

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New Bill from Senate President Warren Petersen Aims to Increase Housing Supply in Arizona

Arizona State Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) aims to shorten the administrative approval process, which may speed up the rate of home building in the state.

“20 years ago, the homebuilding process from start to finish would take approximately six months. Today, that process can take up to four years,” said Petersen. “I believe this action will soon provide relief for our citizens that are hurting from sky high housing prices by quickly increasing supply. I’m thankful for the collaboration on this bill from the League of Arizona Cities and Towns to help ensure our communities will have the tools they need to increase the number of homes being built so that our hardworking citizens are able to secure affordable housing in a timely matter, while also protecting our groundwater.”

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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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Arizona Senate Republicans Introduce Tax Cut Bills for Groceries and Rent Payments

State Senate Republicans have introduced two bills that target Arizona’s grocery and rental taxes to give local families a financial break. Kim Quintero, the spokeswoman for the Senate Republican Caucus, told The Arizona Sun Times that it would be unwise for Governor Katie Hobbs (D) to veto bills like these should they pass the legislature.

“It would not be wise of the Governor to veto the food tax bill, as this will provide immediate inflation relief to those living paycheck to paycheck, and it’s something that resonates with a large portion of her voter base,” Quintero said via email.

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