Mar 24, 2023 - Politics

Republicans send food tax ban to Hobbs for likely veto

Photo illustration of Katie Hobbs with lines radiating from her.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs' 17th veto is likely just around the corner after GOP lawmakers sent her a bill that would bar cities from taxing groceries.

Context: Hobbs has signaled she would likely veto the bill if it reached her desk, expressing concerns about its effects on cities' budgets.

Yes, but: The icy relationship between the Democratic governor and Republican-controlled Legislature got a boost Monday when the Senate Director Nominations Committee OK'd Hobbs' appointments of Jeffrey Glover to head the Department of Public Safety and Thomas Torres to run the Department of Forestry and Fire Management.

  • The full Senate must now approve the nominations.
  • Meanwhile, the committee rejected Hobbs' nominee for the Department of Health Services, put her pick for the Department of Administration on hold and grilled several of her picks for other agencies.

Zoom in: On a party-line vote, Senate Republicans approved SB 1700, which would require the Department of Education to compile a list of books to be banned in K-12 schools that are considered "lewd or sexual in nature" or are written "to promote gender fluidity or gender pronouns or to groom children into normalizing pedophilia."

  • Hobbs' spokesperson Josselyn Berry tells Axios Phoenix the governor will veto any bill she views as targeting the transgender community.

The intrigue: GOP lawmakers continued their push for what some deem "election integrity" bills inspired by mostly baseless allegations surrounding the 2020 and 2022 elections, with mixed results.

  • The Senate narrowly rejected SB 1695, which would require counties to hold new elections if as few as 1,000 voters in Maricopa County or 250 voters in smaller counties sign affidavits saying they were disenfranchised. That includes people who had to wait more than 90 minutes to cast ballots.
  • Sen. Ken Bennett, a Prescott Republican who served as Arizona's secretary of state from 2009 to 2014, was the lone GOP senator to oppose the bill, which could come back for another vote.

Of note: Hobbs is likely to veto any such election bills if they reach her desk.

The intrigue: As he told Axios he'd do, Sen. Steve Kaiser, R-Phoenix, introduced a new version of his housing bill, which stripped some of the more controversial provisions of a previous iteration.

  • The bill, which would force cities to allow casitas at single-family homes, eliminate some municipal parking requirements and mandate that cities allow people to rent single rooms to people ages 55+, passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee 5-2, with one Democrat and one Republican voting against it.
  • Lawmakers are also awaiting a proposal from the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, which lobbied against Kaiser's original bill.

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