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Today's newsletter is 939 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: A new veto record by Hobbs

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

While abortion took center stage at the Legislature this week, Gov. Katie Hobbs also made news by setting a record: 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 to 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.

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 the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms.

Go deeper

2. GOP rep drops out amid forgery allegations

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Arizona Republicans will have to rely on a write-in campaign to hold a safe House seat after first-term incumbent Rep. Austin Smith (R-Surprise) ended his re-election campaign amid allegations he forged signatures on his nominating petitions.

Why it matters: The GOP is trying to maintain its one-vote House majority this year, and it can't afford to concede any safe districts.

Zoom in: Each district elects two at-large representatives. Only two Republicans — Smith and fellow incumbent Rep. Steve Montenegro — filed to run in the West Valley-based Legislative District 29.

  • Two Democrats are also in the race for the overwhelmingly Republican district.
  • In his withdrawal announcement, Smith said James Taylor, a Republican who worked at the Palo Verde Generating Station for nearly 30 years, has agreed to run as a write-in.

Catch up quick: Democrats filed a legal challenge to Smith's candidacy this week alleging a number of his petition sheets contain signatures "that appear to have been written by the same person" and that many "bear a striking resemblance" to Smith's own handwriting.

What he's saying: In a statement on X yesterday, Smith denied forging signatures and called the complaint part of an "intense effort" by the Democrats to "get me."

  • He said some allegedly forged signatures were for Democratic voters, and questioned why anyone would forge the signatures of Democrats not eligible to sign Republican petitions.

What's next

3. Suns have the edge over Timberwolves

Devin Booker passes the ball against the T-Wolves' Rudy Gobert on Sunday. Photo: David Berding/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns have momentum on their side as they head into the NBA playoffs hoping to validate the big expectations they started the season with.

The big picture: The Suns' quest for their first championship starts tomorrow at 12:30pm in Minneapolis, where they face the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

State of play: The team is healthy, including its big three of Bradley Beal, Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.

  • After starting the season with high hopes and a revamped roster, the Suns were plagued by injuries and struggled to keep up in a stacked Western Conference early on.
  • But things picked up midway through the season, and the Suns ended the season on a high note, going 7-3 in a brutal 10-game closing stretch against other playoff teams.

Between the lines: Phoenix is 3-0 against the Timberwolves this year, including a win on Sunday to end the regular season.

What's next: Whoever wins the Suns-Timberwolves matchup will face the winner of the first-round series between the defending champion Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Painful flashback

4. Chips & salsa: Coyotes' SLC move is official

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🏒 The NHL approved the $1.2 billion sale of the Coyotes to Utah Jazz owners Ryan and Ashley Smith yesterday, making the team's Arizona exodus official. (AP)

🥪 More than 260 Arizona schools are now offering free breakfast and lunch to all students, regardless of household income. (AZcentral)

🔎 The Secretary of State's Office found probable cause that state Rep. Justin Heap (R-Mesa) violated campaign finance laws by failing to report contributions, and referred the matter to the attorney general. (KJZZ)

5. Arizona's 420 travel hotspots

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. cities that blazed the marijuana legalization trail now have a high concentration of 420-friendly vacation rentals, a new study by Upgraded Points shows.

Why it matters: Cannabis-cations are one piece of the growing multibillion-dollar weed economy. But in Phoenix and Scottsdale in particular, it'll cost you.

By the numbers: They have the second- and third-priciest nightly pot-friendly rentals in the country after San Diego, with Scottsdale rates averaging about $309 and Phoenix averaging about $304.

Scottsdale's prices are tied to its upscale resorts, spas and golf courses, the study's authors wrote.

  • "The city's approach to integrating cannabis with luxury tourism means visitors can enjoy the finer things in life, including top-tier THC products and experiences, reflected in the rental prices."

Zoom out: Scottsdale ranked fourth across the country for highest concentration of pot-friendly rentals, per the study.

  • Unsurprisingly, Boulder, Colorado was first, followed by Burlington, Vermont and Las Vegas.

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Editor's note: The chart in item 3 of yesterday's newsletter was corrected to reflect that the athletes' salaries are average annual salaries.

📺 Jeremy will be a guest on the Journalists' Roundtable today on PBS' "Arizona Horizon." Be sure to tune in at 5 or 10pm to catch up on the week's political news.

🎤 Jessica will be on the "Politics Unplugged" podcast that drops Sunday.

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

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