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CEBV Weekly: April 10, 2023
Everyone gets a veto! (Lawmakers understand Hobbs can do that, right?)
With no more committee hearings to focus on, the pace of our lawmakers’ floor votes has accelerated — and so has the use of Gov. Hobbs’ veto stamp. She’s now vetoed more bills than she’s signed, including another nine CEBV-opposed bills in the past four days alone:
SB1009, making it a felony to damage or destroy a monument or statue
SB1074, banning electronic voting equipment unless all parts of it are made in the US (equipment which does not exist)
SB1428, preempting cities from prohibiting or regulating gun shows
SB1600, requiring “lifesaving” procedures on fetuses with no chance of survival
HB2472, banning "political discrimination" by banks (this doesn’t exist)
HB2477, declaring Arizona’s support of the electoral college system
HB2586, banning many messages on the dynamic signs over our freeways
Meanwhile, the actual issues facing our state are piling up: our water future, the twin specters of housing affordability and homelessness, a public education system in crisis, and a general fund that’s slated to wither over the next two years, just for starters. Yet our Republican-controlled legislature continues to focus on the performative nonsense of passing bills destined for the garbage heap — and, as evidenced by the Bills on the Floor section below, they show no sign of stopping.
In order to make laws, Arizona has always needed “31, 16 and 1” (meaning majorities of lawmakers in the House and Senate, plus the governor). That “1” has an outsized amount of power compared to the others. The governor’s power is a feature of the office; all previous governors in memory have also understood this and behaved accordingly.
It’s well past time for House Speaker Toma, Senate President Petersen and the rest to put aside their egos and dogmas, acknowledge the reality of divided government, lay off wasting time and taxpayer resources, and negotiate in good faith with the “1.” Only then will our government — people we elected to work for us and the good of all of Arizona — be able to get things done.
Next Saturday, April 22, will mark the 100th day of legislative session, the fabled finish line we haven’t seen in years. We urge our legislative majority to turn its attention to crafting a state budget. It’s the only real work remaining at this point in session and their only constitutionally mandated responsibility. We also recommend they review this video before making any more decisions. It might save them some time.
⏰ If you have 20 minutes: Act on the two Spotlight issues, below.
⏰⏰⏰⏰ If you have 60 minutes: Join us on Zoom at 4pm on Sunday for our next CEBV Happy Hour. This week we’re featuring our brand-new Civics 101 training.
Issue 1: Time for Some Thank-You Notes
Lawmakers behaving badly grab all the headlines while other lawmakers toil long hours to ensure our voices are heard and heeded. Now is a great time to thank them, both privately via email and publicly via social media, for protecting us day in and day out from the MAGA mess.
2️⃣ Then, share a word of appreciation for those who shepherded bipartisan bills through committees only to see Republican legislative leadership refuse to “give them a win” by advancing those bills any further. That’s incredibly demoralizing; they need to understand that people see and appreciate their work.
Issue 2: Veto-Proof Bills
We’re eternally grateful to have a governor who prioritizes common sense over MAGA mayhem. However, lawmakers can still go around her by passing legislative referrals. Unlike regular bills, these go directly onto the ballot to be approved or rejected by voters. We’ve got two already slated for the November 2024 ballot:
SCR1006, Gowan (R-19), boosting criminal penalties for assaulting a first responder and levying a new $20 fine on convictions in order to pay an extra $250,000 to families of first responders killed in the line of duty
HCR2033, Smith (R-29), enshrining our current direct primary system in the Constitution to block any reforms such as ranked-choice or top-two primary voting
There are more in the wings — and YOU can still stop them! CEBV opposes each of the following ten legislative referrals. Contact your senator (for HCRs) or your representatives (for SCRs) to ask they not clutter up our ballot with these bad ideas.
SCR1002, Kern (R-27), banning ranked-choice voting. Awaits House Rules.
SCR1015, Mesnard (R-13), making citizen initiatives vastly harder by requiring signatures from 10% of voters in each of Arizona’s 30 legislative districts for regular initiatives, 15% for constitutional amendments. Awaits House Rules.
SCR1018, Hoffman (R-15), amending the Constitution to ban government from charging anyone based on their vehicle miles traveled or monitoring miles traveled, because of an absurd conspiracy theory. Awaits House Rules.
SCR1023, Wadsack (R-17), amending the Constitution to repeal charter cities of 500,000+ (i.e., Tucson and Phoenix). Intended to preempt city regulations and get Republicans elected to the Tucson City Council. Awaits House Rules.
SCR1024, Wadsack (R-17), enshrining racism in the Constitution by preventing minority preference for hiring or state contracts, blocking teachers from discussing inclusion and equity issues, and banning certain content from being taught in schools. Awaits House Rules.
SCR1027, Wadsack (R-17), amending the Constitution to outlaw ranked-choice voting for city elections. Awaits House Rules.
SCR1034, Mesnard (R-13), automatically and permanently extending the previous year’s state budget if lawmakers don’t pass one in time, removing the only real motivation for them to work together. See mirror bill HCR2038, Livingston (R-28). Awaits House Rules.
SCR1035, Mesnard (R-13), instituting automatic, permanent income tax cuts following any year Arizona has a budget surplus. Awaits House Rules.
HCR2038, Livingston (R-28), automatically and permanently extending the previous year’s state budget if lawmakers don’t pass one in time, removing the only real motivation for them to work together. Thanks to mirror bill SCR1034, Mesnard (R-13), awaits House COW, then the ballot.
HCR2039, Chaplik (R-3), requiring lawmakers to approve emergency declarations monthly, including when the legislature is out of session. Arizona’s 41 open state disaster declarations must be in place before we can receive federal funding. Awaits Senate Rules.
And don’t forget: lawmakers can pass more of these next year, too. 🤯 These are a great topic for Letters to the Editor. Visit our LTE Hub for templates, messaging advice, submission links and more!
These bills are scheduled for a floor vote on Monday. COW and Third Read floor calendars are released only the night before, so we don’t yet have information for Tuesday through Thursday. Contact your senator or representatives directly, as applicable, on bills you care about.
SB1028, sponsored by Anthony Kern (R-27), would classify drag performances as “adult cabaret” (a category historically limited to strip shows) and ban them from public property or anywhere else a minor may be able to see them. This could ban everything from drag story hours for kids to performances of Cabaret, Rent and Peter Pan. A first violation would carry to up to 6 months in jail; a subsequent violation would be a felony. Part of a package of bills to ostracize LGBTQ people, perpetuate false and offensive narratives, and marginalize or shutter dozens of businesses. Similar attacks on free expression have been proposed in at least 10 states this year. Scheduled for a House floor vote, Monday. OPPOSE.
SB1030, sponsored by Anthony Kern (R-27), would mandate that counties change their zoning laws to define businesses that hold “drag shows” as adult-oriented, and would also ban the beloved Sunday drag brunch. Part of a package of bills to ostracize LGBTQ people, perpetuate false offensive narratives, and marginalize or shutter dozens of businesses. Polls show Americans from every political ideology and age group oppose anti-trans legislation. Scheduled for a House floor vote, Monday. OPPOSE.
SB1040, sponsored by John Kavanagh (R-3), would ban trans kids from using the school bathrooms, changing facilities and “sleeping quarters” that align with their gender identities. It would create a situation where trans kids couldn’t use any facilities at all without undue scrutiny of their bodies, calling that a "reasonable accommodation." Anyone who “encounters” a trans person in a bathroom could file suit against public schools. A federal court found that these policies violate the US Constitution and Title IX, so in addition to being monstrously cruel and creating harm from continued anti-trans rhetoric, this would open Arizona to a host of lawsuits at taxpayer expense. Polls show that Americans from every political ideology and age group oppose anti-trans legislation. Scheduled for a House floor vote, Monday. OPPOSE.
SB1106, sponsored by Wendy Rogers (R-7), would ban social media platforms from willfully "deplatforming" or “shadow banning” a candidate. Inspired by a conspiracy theory that right-wingers, candidates in particular, are being persecuted by Big Tech via settings which let the user post and browse the site normally but limits their posts’ reach to other users. Scheduled for a House floor vote, Monday. OPPOSE.
SB1135, sponsored by John Kavanagh (R-3), would force voters who try to return their early ballots at the polls on Election Day to stand in line, surrender their early ballot, show ID, and then wait their turn to fill in a fresh ballot. In November 2022, this was nearly 1 in 5 voters. SB1135 would also end “emergency voting,” or in-person voting the weekend before Election Day. The sponsor says he is trying to “stop voter fraud,” which is exceedingly rare. The bill has also been amended to stop Arizona from participating in ERIC, a multi-state system that weeds out duplicate, deceased or suspicious voter registrations. The ERIC system is one of the strongest safeguards against voter fraud for election officials; there’s no viable replacement. Part of a package of anti-elections legislation. Scheduled for a House floor vote, Monday. OPPOSE.
HB2332, sponsored by Selina Bliss (R-1), would require public district and charter schools to provide students with firearms training between grades 6 and 12. Training would focus on safe handling of firearms, identifying danger signs or careless handling of firearms, and proper storage. Parents or a student's IEP team would be allowed to opt children out. Disturbingly, the bill also allows schools to accept in-kind donations of materials, equipment or services to be used in the trainings from any person or legal entity, with no safety provisions. Some critics have characterized the bill as “an attempt to give the NRA a foothold into classrooms” and to “pull kids into gun culture.” Nearly identical to a bill from last year. Part of a package of bills trying to force guns into schools. Scheduled for a Senate floor vote, Monday. OPPOSE.
HB2394, sponsored by Austin Smith (R-29), bans Arizona and its cities and counties from enforcing any tax on firearms or ammo, on the grounds that it “might create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens.” The federal government has taxed these items since 1919. It seems some lawmakers need pocket copies of the US Constitution and knowledge of the “supremacy clause”: the legislature’s nonpartisan rules attorneys say it’s unconstitutional. Scheduled for a Senate floor vote, Monday. OPPOSE.
HB2722, sponsored by Gail Griffin (R-19), would allow county elections officials to hand count all of the ballots for any election. In November, the courts blocked Cochise County, where the sponsor lives, from hand-counting all midterm ballots. Elections advocates testified that such a move would put ballot security at risk, create counting errors, and damage voter confidence, ushering in a cascading series of events that would seriously undermine election integrity. Cochise County’s elections director resigned, citing a physically and emotionally threatening work environment. Scheduled for a Senate floor vote, Monday. OPPOSE.
The stakes are higher now. All of these bills have been through committees and a full floor vote in their chamber of origin, as well as committees in their crossover chamber. From here, the path to the governor’s desk is much shorter: only a single floor vote remains.
Bills in Rules Committees
Rules exists only to consider whether a bill is constitutional and in the proper form for passage; the committee doesn’t take testimony and won’t read comments.
These bills will likely proceed to caucus (separate partisan meetings of all Democrats and all Republicans) and from there to a full floor vote, which could happen this week. Bottom line: Treat these as bills that could get a full vote at any time. Contact your senator for Senate bills, your representatives for House bills.
SB1001, sponsored by John Kavanagh (R-3), would ban teachers from using a student’s chosen pronouns without written parental permission. Trans youth are twice as likely to consider suicide as their peers; gender-affirming care, which may include using a person’s chosen pronouns, lowers suicide risk. The bill continues the recent Republican theme of pushing manufactured, divisive culture-war issues for political profit. The bill further politicizes teachers, which will deepen Arizona’s ongoing teacher retention crisis. State lawmakers in 34 states are flooding the zone this year with almost 300 bills targeting LGBTQ rights; two-thirds of those relate specifically to transgender rights. The Legislature’s nonpartisan rules attorneys have told them the bill is unconstitutional. Part of a package of bills that ostracize LGBTQ people and perpetuate false offensive narratives. Scheduled for House Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.
SB1410, sponsored by Justine Wadsack (R-17), is now subject to a striker from Lupe Diaz (R-19) that would require public school boards (but not charter schools or ESA-funded voucher schools) to establish the equivalent of Supt. Horne's "teacher snitch line" for parents to report purported violations of their rights. School boards would have to designate an administrator at each school to receive parent complaints; these administrators would then have to prepare quarterly reports for ADE. Scheduled for House Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.
SB1660, sponsored by Sine Kerr (R-25), would create a whole new category of treated wastewater specifically for manufacturers. Water experts say that could drain Arizona's groundwater, threatening the quality of city tap water. The issue is a new Phoenix-area Nestlé plant that will need more water than available. This change in law would effectively cut out state-licensed public and private water providers. Nearly every Valley city, numerous water officials, and multiple business associations oppose the bill. Scheduled for House Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.
HB2312, sponsored by Rachel Jones (R-17), would allow shelters to refuse to hire “biological male” employees to serve women or minors who live there, and would attempt to exempt shelters from existing gender discrimination statutes. This is a blatant attempt to allow discrimination against transgender people, who are affected by domestic violence and sexual assault at much higher rates than the general population. State and federal law both explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of sex. Scheduled for Senate Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.
HB2502, sponsored by Matt Gress (R-4), would force courts to retroactively apply child support for pregnancies. This so-called “fetal personhood” bill is an attempt to give fetuses the same legal rights as people. Driven by anti-abortion crusaders who want to see a constitutional ban on reproductive freedoms, this incredibly unpopular, anti-scientific concept would also criminalize IVF and many forms of contraception. The US Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge forcing fetal personhood in October. Scheduled for Senate Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.
HB2544, sponsored by Lupe Diaz (R-19), would exempt firearms or ammunition that are "modified" in Arizona from federal regulation. These “modifications” could be cosmetic or functional, making this a giant loophole to exempt guns from safety provisions. The Legislature’s nonpartisan rules attorneys say the bill is likely unconstitutional. Scheduled for Senate Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.
2023 Session Timeline
Legislative majority leadership can change bill deadlines at any point. The budget deadline, however, is set in stone because it is tied to the state’s fiscal year.
Saturday, 4/22 100th Day of Session (the stated end goal; can be changed) Friday, 6/30 Last day to pass a budget before the government shuts down
Use Request to Speak. Our elected officials need to know what we think!
Attend our Happy Hours. This week’s Zoom RTS Happy Hour will feature our brand-new Civics 101 training. As always, we’ll also have legislative info and Q&A with Melinda. We’ll meet every Sunday at 4 PM through the end of session; sign up in advance here.
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