2023 Sees Governor Hobbs’ Record-Breaking Vetoes for Arizona
By Hannah Lui
In April 2023, Democratic Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs broke the record for the most vetoes in a single Arizona legislative session. By the end of the session, she had blocked a total of 63 bills, surpassing former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano’s record of 58. As of July 2023, the number of Hobbs-vetoed bills has risen to nearly 150, according to the Phoenix New Times. Since her first moments in office, Gov. Hobbs has demonstrated a continued support for progressive policies, primarily vetoing Republican-backed bills yet echoing youth opinion on a diverse array of local and national issues. Here are a few of her most recent and contested vetoes.
March 9: Governor Hobbs vetoed SB1305, which prohibited K-12 public schools from teaching race-related curriculum, or any instruction suggesting that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or ethnicity, is inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.” In a letter to AZ Senate President Warren Petersen explaining her veto, Gov. Hobbs wrote that the bill served “only to divide and antagonize.”
April 6: SB1600, a bill mandating hospitals to report all abortions performed to the Department of Health Services. The bill also hoped to secure infants “born alive, including during the course of an abortion” the same rights as any person, regardless of its stage of development when born. The bill specified that doctors must provide life-saving care to the infant even if it had little chance of survival. Gov. Hobbs claimed that the bill was “uniformly opposed by the medical community” and that the state did not have the right to interfere in such medical decisions “between a patient and doctor.”
April 17: HB2332 and SB1331, two companion bills that would have required schools to provide firearm training to students in grades 6-12, while also permitting parents to carry guns on school grounds. Governor Hobbs contended that instructing students in firearms would not effectively address the issue of gun violence in schools and might further complicate law enforcement's response to active shooter incidents.
April 19: HB2509, dubbed the "Tamale Bill” by supporters, aimed to expand the list of homemade foods that can be sold commercially, including certain items containing meat and dairy. Vendors who continue to sell unapproved goods face potential consequences of a $500 fine and a prison sentence of up to six months. As a result, the veto has imposed constraints on the profits of street vendors who depend on selling homemade foods to make a living.
June 5: SB1314, which, if enacted, would require city officials to tear down encampments for unhoused individuals and charge their residents with criminal trespassing. According to Arizona’s Family KTVK, one of the country’s largest encampments is less than a mile from the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, harboring over 1,000 people.
June 8: SB1040, a bill barring transgender students from using bathrooms that align with their preferred gender identity. Gov. Hobbs stated her belief that the bill discriminated against LGBTQ+ children and reaffirmed her promise to veto “every bill that aims to attack and harm children.”
Governor Hobbs’ veto streak has faced severe pushback from the Republican party, granted that Republicans hold a majority in both the Arizona House and Senate. Nevertheless, as she approaches the end of her first legislative session, set to adjourn on August 11, 2023, she is expected to stand her ground. More so, Governor Hobbs stands with the support of youth voters who helped propel her into office at record numbers. Arizona youth have the power to vote with or against her in future elections, with a heavy veto record to weigh their decision.
Giles, B., Ryan, J., Hahne, G., & Schaudt, S. (2023, June 26). Here’s a list of all the Arizona bills Gov. Katie Hobbs has vetoed so far. KJZZ. https://kjzz.org/content/1842703/heres-list-all-arizona-bills-gov-katie-hobbs-has-vetoed-so-far
Caitlin Sievers, A. M. J. 8. (2023, June 8). Hobbs vetoes transgender bathroom bill, reaches 111 vetoes. Arizona Mirror. https://www.azmirror.com/2023/06/08/hobbs-vetoes-transgender-bathroom-bill-reaches-111-vetoes/
Weiss, E. (2023, June 27). Every Bill gov. Katie Hobbs has vetoed so far and why. Phoenix New Times. https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/every-bill-arizona-governor-katie-hobbs-vetoed-so-far-and-why-15984959
Gloria Rebecca Gomez, A. M. J. 5. (2023, June 5). Katie Hobbs vetoes GOP bills criminalizing homelessness, ranked-choice voting. Arizona Mirror. https://www.azmirror.com/2023/06/05/katie-hobbs-vetoes-gop-bills-criminalizing-homelessness-ranked-choice-voting/
Osmonbekov, M. (2022, Nov 28). Opinion: Mark Kelly and Katue Hobbs owe their victories to young voters. The State Press. https://www.statepress.com/article/2022/11/kelly-and-hobbs-owe-wins-to-young-voters#.
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