As Democrat incumbent U.S. Representative Tom O’Halleran continues to look vulnerable, Republicans are lining up to challenge him in the GOP primary for Arizona’s Second Congressional district.
The Arizona Sun Times previously reported that O’Halleran is considered one of the most vulnerable Democrat incumbents in the country and at least five candidates have declared against him.
Arizona State Representative Walt Blackman (R) hammered proponents of Critical Race Theory (CRT) Thursday for their hypocrisy in ignoring the “racism” and “oppression” experienced by the hundreds of black babies who are aborted each day.
In a floor speech prior to his vote of approval for a measure that would place on the ballot an amendment to the state constitution to prohibit the teaching of the concepts of CRT and ban any preferential treatment based upon race, Blackman asserted the “whole truth doesn’t come out” when the arguments about CRT are made.
America Pack, a grassroots movement “built to empower citizens to hold elected officials accountable, advocate for honest elections, support law enforcement, and fight for freedom and liberty,” has issued a list of its most important bills this session in the Arizona Legislature. The topics primarily address election integrity, education, and COVID-19. They must be scheduled to be heard in a committee by Feb. 18, or they will die.
Election Integrity – House Government and Elections Committee
HB 2023, sponsored by State Representative Mark Finchem (R-Mesa) with several co-sponsors, requires digital images of ballots to be posted publicly online after elections.
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.”
Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake) is running for Congress in Arizona’s first Congressional district. The seat, which encompasses much of the northeast part of the state, is currently held by Tom O’Halleran, a former Republican turned moderate Democrat.
“We need to get back to the rule of law of Arizona to protect its people,” the Arizona legislator said in a video discussing his run on July 18.
The Arizona Legislature wrapped up this year on Wednesday with a nearly record-long session, reaching 171 days. Lawmakers came to an agreement on most of the budget last Friday that contained historic tax cuts. Governor Doug Ducey signed that bill, HB 2900, also on Wednesday.
During the last few hours, the legislature approved the education budget bill, HB 2898, which included an expansion of the school voucher program. It reduces the length of time children must attend a public school before they are eligible for vouchers to use at a private school. Low-income children who live near poorly-rated schools will be eligible immediately, and others will only have to spend 45 days in the school, down from 100 days.
The Arizona House of Representatives passed a sentencing reform bill on Monday, but due to a Senate committee chair failing to bring a similar bill up for a vote in the Senate earlier this year, SB 1064, it’s not clear whether it will make it through the Senate. SB 1064 would relax sentencing laws, which are some of the strictest in the nation. According to Arizona Prison & Sentencing Reform, the state has the fourth highest incarceration rate. Inmates are currently required to serve 85% of their sentences, but the bill would reduce that to as little as one third of their sentences. Inmates who complete self-improvement programs such as substance abuse treatment and maintain good behavior while in prison can receive time off their sentences.
The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, with legislators voting 50-8 in favor. The previous version of the bill, HB 2173, didn’t get very far in the Senate, since Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) declined to hear the legislation in his committee. The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowfake), decided to get around Petersen with the new legislation by using a strike-everything amendment. He amended a bill that had already passed out of the Senate, so it can go straight to the Senate floor for a vote. However, it is up to Sen. President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) to bring it up for a vote. There is little time left, since the legislative session will likely end this week, according to the AZ Mirror.