By Corinne Murdock |
Gov. Katie Hobbs had a major drafting error in last week’s emergency declaration over the summer heat: it expired weeks before its announcement.
It appears that the governor had the emergency declaration drafted for release on or around June 30, but opted to wait until after the state legislative session ended.
The timing of Hobbs’ emergency declaration further evoked curiosity when contrasted with the release of another breaking news story concerning the governor: emails revealing Hobbs’ years-long coordination with social media companies to control online speech.
The evidence of Hobbs’ cozy relationship with social media companies came out on Thursday. Late Friday evening, Hobbs issued her emergency declaration to address the summer heat, which she called “extreme.”
In an interview with KJZZ, Hobbs called the revelation a “sideshow.” The governor didn’t deny allegations of maintaining unscrupulous relationships with major social media companies. Rather, Hobbs laughed off the discovery as a means for her desired ends: water conservation, public housing expansion, and public education growth.
“I’m glad we’ve solved water, the public housing crisis, and public education — and have time for this sideshow,” said Hobbs.
This latest email trove revealing Hobbs’ coordination with social media companies prompted elected GOP leadership to take action. House Speaker Ben Toma announced the Ad Hoc Committee on Oversight, Accountability, and Big Tech.
The committee, led by State Rep. Alexander Kolodin (R-LD03) will review legal standards and issues concerning censorship arising from government working with social media, as well as conduct any relevant investigations into state officials and executive officers falling short of fulfilling their constitutional duties.
State Rep. Neal Carter (R-LD15) and a Democrat, yet to be announced, will also serve on the committee.
The committee will first convene on Sept. 5.
As of this report, the erroneous emergency declaration remains listed on the governor’s website.
In addition to the emergency declaration, Hobbs also issued an executive order directing:
- the Governor’s Office of Resiliency to develop an Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan by March 1, 2024, propose legislation to counter heat, and administer $13.3 million in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act federal funding;
- the Director of the Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting to allocate an unspecified amount of financial resources to counter “extreme” heat;
- the Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services to contribute to the Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan, compile data reports on heat-related issues and infrastructures such as emergency room visits and cooling centers, and create public awareness materials on heat;
- the Director of the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to contribute to the Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan with plans to coordinate resources and emergency response systems, and how to quantify and define heat-related emergencies;
- the Director of the Arizona Department of Administration to contribute to the Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan by identifying state-owned assets and equipment that could be appropriated for heat relief efforts, staff state employees at cooling centers and heat relief efforts while receiving their regular duty pay, and amend the State of Arizona Accounting Manual to allow the purchase of heat relief-related supplies;
- the Director of the Residential Utility Consumer Office to contribute to the Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan with plans to coordinate with utility companies and energy cooperatives on heat relief efforts;
- the Director of the Department of Economic Security to contribute to the Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan with proposed improvements to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program;
- the Director of the Department of Housing to contribute to the Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan with arguments on the importance of housing for all;
- and the Director of the Industrial Commission of Arizona to contribute to the Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan with the results of their newly-created state emphasis program ensuring availability of water, rest, and shade in at-risk workplaces.