On Tuesday, while hammering out the budget, members of both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees stripped Secretary of State Katie Hobbs of her ability to defend election lawsuits. Hobbs’ responsibility for the oversight of the Capitol Museum was also taken away.
The provision, which bars Hobbs from hiring outside counsel, would lapse on June 30, 2023.
Katie Conners, the Attorney General’s Public Information Officer, told the Yellow Sheet that the language is necessary because it would clear up confusion “created by the Secretary of State about who speaks for Arizona in court.”
The actions come in part from Hobbs’ failure to to pursue the defense of Arizona including in the case of its ballot harvesting law currently being challenged in federal court. The responsibility would go to the Attorney General’s Office.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich has defended the ballot harvesting law in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Almost two years ago, Hobbs, in what was seen as a clearly political stunt, snuck a gay pride flag into the museum and hung it from the balcony of the Capitol. No one objected to the flag itself, but to the manner in which she disregarded the Senate President and Speaker of the House who should have been consulted on the subject prior to taking any action.
Under the provisions of the new bill, care of the Capitol museum would be turned over to the Legislative Oversight Council.