Hobbs Vetoes Bill Prohibiting Discriminatory Teaching

March 10, 2023

By Daniel Stefanski |

Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs is giving her veto stamp a workout in the first two-plus months of the Arizona Legislative session, and Republicans are not pleased with her disdain for their policy proposals.

On Thursday, Governor Hobbs vetoed SB 1305, which was sponsored by Senator J.D. Mesnard. According to the purpose of the legislation provided by the State Senate, SB 1305 “prohibits a public school, school district or state agency that is involved with students or teachers of preschool or kindergarten programs of any of grades 1 through 12 (state agency), or an employee of a public school, school district or state agency, from providing instruction to students or employees that promotes or advocates for specified concepts relating to race and ethnicity.”

Senator Mesnard was not happy in the least about Hobbs’ veto of his legislation, issuing the following statement once her decision was official: “I’m deeply disheartened by Governor Hobbs’ choice to condone these discriminatory teachings our kids are being exposed to, by vetoing my bill. As lawmakers, we are called to protect the vulnerable, including impressionable and innocent kids. Her action today is a slap in the face to parents who came forward with serious concerns about the racism being taught in their children’s classrooms.”

The governor released a short explanation of her veto of SB 1305, writing, “It’s time to stop pushing students and teachers into culture wars rooted in fear mongering and evidence-free accusation. Bills like SB1305 serve only to divide and antagonize. I urge the Legislature to work with me on the real issues affecting Arizona schools: underfunded classrooms, a growing educator retention crisis, and school buildings in need of repair and replacement.”

The ACLU of Arizona agreed with Hobbs’ veto, tweeting, “Young people have a right to learn an inclusive and complete history in schools, free from partisan restrictions. We applaud @GovernorHobbs for vetoing #SB1305, the legislature’s latest attempt to censor Arizona classrooms and distract from real issues.”

Mesnard addressed Hobbs’ condemnation of Republican tactics and policies: “Contrary to Governor Hobbs’ accusation in her veto letter that we are not working on ‘real issues,’ Senate Republicans have so far passed a budget that would have provided assurance that schools, public safety, health services, child welfare services, transportation, and other government functions would not shutdown come July 1. We’ve passed a rental tax cut that would have provided much needed relief to our citizens struggling with housing affordability and crippling inflation. In fact, within the first two months of session, the Senate has passed more than 200 bills addressing a variety of issues important to the people of Arizona. We certainly have proven we know how to multitask, but unfortunately, we’re working with a Governor who is playing political games with lives and livelihoods.”

Hobbs’ veto of this bill risks the increased ire of a growing number of parents who are extremely concerned about what their children are being taught in district and charter schools. Over the past few years especially, educational curriculum and reading material has been under a massive amount of scrutiny and research, leading to heightened election contests and fiery confrontations at school board meetings around the country.

The veto of SB 1305 was Hobbs’ 16th of the legislative session. Many additional vetoes are expected as Republicans continue to pass bills out of the Arizona Legislature and transmit to the Ninth Floor of the Executive Tower.

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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