Apr 19, 2024 - News

Gov. Katie Hobbs has set a new Arizona veto record

Photo illustration of Katie Hobbs with lines radiating from her.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Gov. Katie Hobbs set a record this week: most vetoes in Arizona history.

The big picture: After vetoing 13 bills this week, Hobbs reached a total of 185 vetoes since taking office in January 2023 — just 15 months ago.

  • Democrat Janet Napolitano, who served as governor from 2003-2009, vetoed a record 181 bills. The previous record was held by Democratic Gov. Bruce Babbitt, who vetoed 114 bills.
  • Last year Hobbs vetoed 143 bills, shattering Napolitano's single-session record of 58.
  • Napolitano had six years' worth of vetoes, while Hobbs isn't yet finished with her second legislative session.

Between the lines: The Republican-controlled Legislature has bombarded Hobbs, Arizona's first Democratic governor in 14 years, with conservative legislation on a number of hot-button issues, including elections, illegal immigration and transgender people.

Hobbs spokesperson Christian Slater told Axios that "radical legislators" should stop sending the governor bills that threaten abortion access, undermine democracy and "attack our basic rights."

  • She's vetoed 42 bills so far this year.

Yes, but: It wasn't all vetoes. Hobbs also signed 13 bills this week.

Zoom out: She has now signed 167 bills this session.

  • There are 22 left on her desk.

Her vetoes this week included bills to:

⚧ Replace the word "gender" in all state statutes with "sex," defined as a person's biological sex at birth.

  • Critics described the bill, which would have mandated that public entities separate athletic teams, bathrooms and other facilities based on biological sex, as anti-trans.
  • Republican Sen. Sine Kerr (R-Buckeye), the bill's sponsor, said it "provides much-needed clarity in our statutes and uniformity in the courts."

🗳 Require candidates in nonpartisan school board races to run in partisan primaries.

🚦 Make it more difficult for cities and other government entities to prohibit right turns at red lights.

🏫 Allow schools to display or recite the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms.

🚫 Bar local governments from prohibiting or restricting gun shows.

Among the bills she signed was legislation to:

👪 Prohibit courts from ordering controversial "reunification" treatment that forces children into contact with parents they've rejected during custody disputes.

🛍 Create an organized retail theft task force.

  • Hobbs referenced this bill in her veto of another piece of legislation that would have stiffened some repeat shoplifter penalties.
  • She said she looks forward to reviewing the task force's policy recommendations and working with lawmakers to "find balanced priorities for this matter."
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