Axios Phoenix

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🌡️ Today's weather: Sunny and 94 — our first, but certainly not last, 90-plus degree day.

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Today's newsletter is 950 words — a 3.6-minute read.

1 big thing: Republicans stop repeal effort

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Republican lawmakers blocked an attempt to repeal the state's ban on nearly all abortions, one day after the Supreme Court ruled that it's the law of the land.

Why it matters: Abortions could become unavailable within two months if the ban isn't repealed. If it is repealed, a 2022 law allowing abortions through 15 weeks of pregnancy would go into effect — though that likely wouldn't be for a few months.

  • "We've got the eyes of the world watching the state of Arizona," state Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton (D-Tucson), who sponsored the repeal, said in a floor speech yesterday.

Driving the news: Rep. Matt Gress (R-Phoenix) introduced a motion to force a House vote on Stahl Hamilton's bill yesterday. He was the lone House Republican to support the effort.

  • Rep. David Livingston (R-Peoria) then made a motion to adjourn and stall the vote, and that motion passed.
  • Stahl Hamilton tried to move the repeal again in the afternoon, but Republicans again adjourned.

In the state Senate, Republicans blocked a similar attempt by Democrats, though two GOP senators have called for a repeal.

The big picture: Democrats' slim minorities mean they need at least two Republicans in each chamber to pass anything.

The other side: House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Glendale), who opposes a repeal, told reporters yesterday that there's no reason to rush a vote on an emotionally charged issue.

  • Waiting will give lawmakers "some time to calm down a bit, really process and think through, listen to their constituents, talk to each other," he said.

Between the lines: Toma noted that regardless of when a theoretical repeal passes, it wouldn't go into effect until 90 days after the session ends.

  • There's no set time limit on the session, and the only deadline lawmakers face is passing a budget by June 30.

What's next: Both chambers are adjourned until next Wednesday.

Go deeper

2. ⏮️ Abortion position backtracking

Abortion rights protesters Tucson in 2022. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images

Some Arizona Republicans — facing a new political reality — are claiming they did not realize a bill they supported in 2022 would open the door for a near-total abortion ban.

Catch up quick: The 2022 law, which passed prior to the reversal of Roe, made it illegal to perform an abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

  • Yes, but: The bill language also explicitly stated that it did not repeal the Arizona statute — adopted in 1864 — that prohibits all abortions except when needed to save the life of the mother.

In its Tuesday opinion, the Arizona Supreme Court said this language proves the Legislature's "unequivocal intent" to keep the 1864 law on the books.

Zoom in: Former Gov. Doug Ducey posted on X he signed the 15-week bill because it was "thoughtful conservative policy" and that he was disappointed by the state Supreme Court's decision.

  • State Sens. T.J. Shope (R-Coolidge) and Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), who both supported the 2022 bill, called for the repeal of the 1864 law Tuesday.
  • State Rep. Matt Gress (R-Phoenix) — who worked for Ducey when he signed the bill — said in a video that the court's decision "cannot stand," before leading the attempt to repeal the 1864 law Wednesday.

Bill sponsor weighs in

3. 👀 A rush to the middle

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg, John Moore/Getty Images

Arizona has become an overnight ground zero for the hottest political issues shaping the 2024 election cycle — abortion bans and the border crisis.

Why it matters: Our swing state will be critical in crowning the next president and determining control of the Senate in November — causing both Republicans and Democrats to rush to the middle on key issues.

Driving the news: The Biden campaign plans to surge its spending on Arizona ads focused on abortion in the coming days and weeks, a campaign official told Axios.

The flip side: Lake's Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, has been forced to moderate on immigration.

  • Gallego late last year called on President Biden to issue an emergency declaration on the southern border and emphasized Arizona's need for more federal resources.

What they're saying: "This issue to some extent is going to ... affect possibly millions of people," Sen. Mark Kelly, a Democrat, told Axios on the abortion ruling.

  • He said similarly that as a border state, the immigration issue has real-life impacts on Arizonans.

Zoom out

4. 🔥 The big 9-0

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Phoenix is forecast to hit temperatures above 90° today for the first time this year, with an expected high of 94.

The big picture: We actually got a couple more mild weeks than expected — the first 90-degree day typically arrives March 27, per NWS Phoenix.

Yes, but: NWS Phoenix meteorologist Gabriel Lojero tells Axios Phoenix our delayed warm-up does not mean we're in for a cooler summer.

What we're watching: Our first triple-digit day will be here in no time.

  • On average, we hit 100° by May 2, Lojero says.

Last summer's historic heat

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5. Chips & salsa: Suggs faces charges

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Former ASU star Terrell Suggs was arrested on charges of threatening and intimidating after police say he pointed a gun out of a car window during a dispute at a Starbucks drive-thru in Scottsdale. (ESPN)

🏛 The Phoenix City Council appointed Carlos Galindo-Elvira to fill a vacant seat. (KJZZ)

🏒 Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega walked back some of his criticism of the proposed Arizona Coyotes arena in Phoenix near the border with Scottsdale. (AZcentral)

6. 🍕 Score Cibo pizza!

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Our weeklong giveaway is going strong. We want to celebrate our members and gain 50-plus more by tomorrow.

😋 Today's item: A $75 gift card to Cibo Urban Pizzeria!

All members are automatically entered to win.

📕 Jeremy somehow didn't know until very recently that "A Gentleman in Moscow" had been turned into a Netflix series. He loved the book and can't wait to watch it.

☎️ Jessica's had George's answering machine jingle from "Seinfeld" stuck in her head for two days.

This newsletter was edited by Emma Hurt and copy edited by Jay Bennett.

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