By Terri Jo Neff |
Several Republican lawmakers opted to walkout or turn their backs as a sign of protest during Monday’s State of the State address by Gov. Katie Hobbs. And the same group intends to move forward with plans to initiate a lawsuit challenging Hobbs’ first executive order.
The protests were organized by the Arizona Freedom Caucus, whose members are committed to upholding the Constitution and preserving personal freedom. Their actions at the State of the State event came just hours after a press conference was held to discuss a lawsuit they intend to file against Hobbs.
The lawsuit will challenge the constitutionality of Executive Order 2023-01, which seeks to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ+ individuals seeking employment in most state offices and state contractors. Hobbs’ order, however, has come under attack for likely violating an Arizona law which protects the religious autonomy of organizations that work with state agencies.
Sen. Jake Hoffman said during Monday’s press conference that Hobbs believes “she has the ability to legislate with the power of the pen, attempting to create law that simply does not exist.” The lawsuit hopes to rein in the type of policy changes Hobbs seeks to implement through executive orders.
Hoffman is one of the lawmakers who later left the House of Representatives chamber during Hobbs’ speech.
State Rep. Jacqueline Parker is a founding member of the Arizona Freedom Caucus. She explained her protest action in a press release issued after Hobbs’ address.
“We could not sit idly by while she repeatedly declared her intention to advance her woke agenda that stands at odds with the people of our state,” Parker said.
“The Arizona Freedom Caucus will never back down in the face of Katie Hobbs’ attempts to implement her fascist agenda in our state,” vowed Rep. Joseph Chaplik.