By Corinne Murdock |
Gov. Katie Hobbs says that her decision to not veto more bills represented her biggest missed opportunity this past legislative session.
In an interview with 12 News, Hobbs shared that her 143 vetoes weren’t enough in her eyes — a record-breaking total that far surpassed the 58 vetoes of the last female Democratic governor for the state, Janet Napolitano. Hobbs laughed, then clarified that vetoing for the sake of vetoing wasn’t her goal.
“I didn’t come here to veto bills,” said Hobbs.
In April, Hobbs celebrated breaking Napolitano’s veto record after killing a bipartisan bill to legalize more homemade food sales.
With June came a slew of vetoes on Republican-led and bipartisan bills addressing hot-topic issues.
Hobbs vetoed a bill requiring all child sex offenders to register within the state’s online database. A loophole in state law only requires child sex offenders to register if they’re not considered a high risk of reoffending. Hobbs justified that those child sex offenders didn’t need to be registered because they weren’t the “most dangerous.” Lawmakers denounced Hobbs’ veto, arguing that it allowed predators to remain undetected in communities built on trust, such as schools and sports teams.
Similarly, Hobbs vetoed a bill banning sexually explicit materials from classrooms. The governor derided the legislation as an attempt to ban books.
The governor also vetoed a revision of Proposition 400, which would’ve allowed voters to vote separately for roads and transportation funding. Last week, a bipartisan majority passed a version of Proposition 400 that reunited the two funding questions.
The governor also vetoed an election integrity measure prohibiting election officers, employees, or individuals overseeing elections operations from serving in the leadership of a political action committee. Hobbs claimed in the veto letter that there were too few of these cases to justify codification.
Hobbs also vetoed a bill requiring public schools to provide single-access restrooms and changing facilities for transgender individuals. The governor said the protective measure was discriminatory against LGBTQ+ individuals.
The governor also vetoed a bill requiring municipalities to require vagrants to remove their encampments. Hobbs said that the bill shouldn’t be allowed to take effect since it doesn’t address why the homeless decide to install unlawful encampments and offers the homeless no alternative to establishing the encampments.
In the preceding months, Hobbs vetoed several other key bills banning photo radar, prohibiting schools from using the incorrect pronouns to satisfy transgender perspectives, increasing punishments for those who make or distribute fentanyl to minors, increasing punishments for those who commit domestic violence against pregnant women, requiring employers to honor religious exemptions for vaccinations, prohibiting schools from teaching critical race theory, and prohibiting municipal taxes on rental or leased properties.
In the Sunday interview, Hobbs said that, despite the many vetoes and heightened political divisions, she has managed to push through significant legislation, citing the budget. Apart from the vetoes, the divisions are most evident in the fact that only a handful of her nominations have been approved.
Additionally, Hobbs took a jab at the state’s universalized school choice program. The governor said the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program was “unaccountable” and rife with “runaway spending.” Hobbs said that she would continue to look for ways to undermine the program, if not roll it back entirely.
The governor also advocated for greater action to counter alleged climate change. Local and federal Democratic leaders have appeared to have been moving in lockstep when it comes to characterizing the desert heat as a federal emergency, a classification that would come with increased funding for climate and social projects.
Hobbs also expressed confidence that a ballot measure expanding abortion access would come before voters next year.