Mar 18, 2024 - News

Hobbs says housing legislation talks doesn't need her involvement after veto

A woman speaks outdoors at a lectern with several microphones on it.

Gov. Katie Hobbs called the legislation "a step too far." Photo: Jeremy Duda

Unless her hands are wielding a signing pen or veto stamp, Gov. Katie Hobbs is taking a hands-off approach to negotiations over legislation to increase Arizona's dwindling housing supply.

The big picture: After vetoing a bill intended to facilitate construction of starter homes by removing some municipal authority over zoning restrictions, Hobbs told reporters Monday she wants to see cities, affordable housing advocates and other stakeholders negotiating solutions.

  • But she doesn't see a role for herself in those talks.
  • "I don't necessarily think it needs my involvement. They're the ones most closely involved in this issue," Hobbs said.

Why it matters: A legislative study committee in 2022 found that Arizona was short about 270,000 housing units.

Driving the news: The vetoed legislation would have prohibited cities from requiring certain aesthetic and design features on single-family homes and barred mandates that people form homeowners associations.

  • Hobbs called it "a step too far" and said it "would put Arizonans at the center of a housing reform experiment with unclear outcomes."
  • Mayors from across the state, as well as the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, opposed the bill.

The other side: Proponents of the bipartisan bill called the veto disappointing, and criticized Hobbs' assertion that her administration doesn't need to be involved in negotiations.

  • Bill sponsor Rep. Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu City) questioned why Hobbs didn't communicate with lawmakers earlier in the session about her problems with the bill.
  • He told reporters he wishes Hobbs were more involved, saying, "I know they're busy and I know they have a lot of things going on. But I think at the end of the day this is something that every Arizona citizen is asking for."
  • Rep. Analise Ortiz (D-Phoenix) told Axios that following Hobbs' veto, "It is her job as the leader of our state to propose alternative solutions for the biggest economic crisis facing Arizonans."

Yes, but: Hobbs signaled that she may sign other housing legislation that's working its way through the legislature, saying there's "great promise" in bills that would:

Flashback: Though housing is one of the biggest issues facing Arizona, reaching agreement at the Capitol on how to resolve it has proven tricky.


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