Petersen Calls For Meeting With Hobbs To Discuss Recent Administrative Actions

July 6, 2023

By Daniel Stefanski |

One of Arizona’s leading Republicans is seeking a meeting with the state’s chief executive over her recent actions over abortion.

Senate President Warren Petersen sent a letter to Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs, hoping to broker a meeting and a solution to the standoff the state finds itself in over consideration of her remaining nominations.

Petersen wrote, “I’m troubled by your recent administrative actions. My constituents and Senate colleagues are concerned by the slew of Executive Orders you have recently issued while we are in recess. These questionable actions and the role of your agency Directors, many of whom the Senate has yet to confirm, is worth discussion.”

The Senate President continued with his letter, requesting a meeting with the governor, stating, “While I believe it would have been productive for you to meet with my colleagues on the nominations committee who requested a meeting, I think a conversation between the two of us would be productive. Let’s see if we can find a way to move forward in a bipartisan manner that benefits all of Arizona.”

This plea from the east valley lawmaker follows a volley of reactions from both Republicans and Democrats after the governor’s Executive Order to “centralize all abortion-related prosecutions under the Attorney General to ensure differences in applications of the law by county attorneys do not restrict access to legal abortions.” Senator Jake Hoffman, the Chairman of the Committee on Director Nominations, announced that he was canceling the next hearing “with support of the Republican Majority serving on the committee to determine Hobbs’ future intentions to further act beyond her authority.”

The three Republican members of the committee – Hoffman, Sine Kerr, and T.J. Shope – requested a meeting with the Hobbs’ administration “to discuss any additional unlawful overreach (her) office intends to take requiring complicity from Executive Directors,” telling the governor that they have “grave concern that the direction (she) intends to provide to (her) nominees will not allow them to fulfill this obligation (of thoroughly and objectively evaluating nominees for their commitment to execute Arizona laws, rather than create new public policies that conflict with the constitutionally established separation of powers).”

Arizona Senate Democrats quickly pushed back on Hoffman’s revelation. Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Lela Alston issued a statement, writing, “Senator Jake Hoffman has once again shown his disregard for government and everyday Arizonans. By failing to schedule the confirmation hearings for the Governor’s nominees, he shows how ineffective and partisan the Republican party in Arizona truly is. I am disgusted by this move of extremism and call on his leadership to rectify his foolish actions.”

After a report circulated that this meeting was “not likely” to occur, Senator T.J. Shope tweeted, “Oh…so much for that Open Door Policy we’ve heard about over and over again. I guess Governor Hobbs would rather fight it out in an adversarial court setting as opposed to an adult conversation in an office setting.”

A Senate Republican Caucus spokesperson previously told AZ Free News that the chamber has received 21 director nominations from Hobbs, with 12 awaiting their confirmation hearings.

Just a day before the Senate President’s Letter to Governor Hobbs, his caucus tweeted, “Hobbs is setting a dangerous precedent by issuing illegal executive orders and attempting to seize power from county attorneys and the Legislature. Our Caucus is reviewing all legal remedies to ensure appropriate constitutional separation of powers.”

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

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