Democrats Facing Increasing Pressure To Override “Tamale Bill” Veto

Democrats Facing Increasing Pressure To Override “Tamale Bill” Veto

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona legislative Democrats are facing increasing pressure over Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs’ shocking decision to veto an overwhelmingly bipartisan bill – and an upcoming vote this week to override that veto in both chambers.

On Sunday, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) wrote a letter to Senate President Warren Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma, announcing their support for HB 2509 and for legislators’ “efforts to override the Governor’s veto.”

Last week, Governor Hobbs vetoed HB 2509, sponsored by Representative Travis Grantham, which deals with the sale and food preparation of cottage food – and now known as the Tamale Bill.

In her veto letter to the Arizona Legislature, Hobbs explained the reasoning behind her decision, writing, “This bill would significantly increase the risk of food-borne illness by expanding the ability of cottage food vendors to sell high-risk foods. It fails to establish sufficient minimum standards for inspection or certification of home-based food businesses, and could limit the ability of ADHS to investigate food-borne disease outbreaks. Nor does it provide a strong enough mechanism to ensure home kitchens are free of hazardous chemicals, rodent or insect infestation, or that equipment and storage of temperature-sensitive foods are adequate.”

Hobbs’ veto immediately drew bipartisan outrage, and legislative leaders plotted the path forward for veto overrides for this proposal. HB 2509 garnered 52 votes when it first passed the Arizona House, and 26 votes in the Senate – which amended the bill and sent it back to the House. The bill then obtained final clearance from the House with 45 votes before being transmitted to the Governor’s Office.

In her letter to the Arizona Legislature, NHCSL President Nellie Pou wrote, “For many Hispanic populations, selling homemade food is a family tradition passed down from generation to generation. Many low-income Americans need it to supplement their income in the face of disparities. It is a way to break the cycle of poverty. Today’s homemade food producers are tomorrow’s restaurant or nationwide prepared foods business owners….In Arizona this is especially important due to the significant Hispanic population and even more important to those who qualify under DACA or asylum seekers who have limited options when it comes to work.”

The NHCSL President did not hold back on Hobbs’ veto of this bill, saying, “By signing this bill, the Governor had an opportunity to support the Hispanic community and personal freedom that should be accessible to everyone. Our community should not fear legal repercussions for selling their homemade foods and we urge Arizona Legislators to do what is right and override her veto.”

As of now, it does not appear like the Legislature has enough votes to override the Governor’s veto on HB 2509. Even after providing a significant number of votes in both the House and Senate to send this legislature to Hobbs’ desk in the first place, Democrats have been reticent to sign on to the attempts to reverse the governor’s decision. Last week, the Senate Democratic Caucus issued a joint statement from its leadership team, announcing that “Senate Democrats will not be providing the required votes needed to override Governor Hobbs’ veto of HB 2509.”

The Senate Democratic leadership team added, “The bill, which we recognize has some benefits, also has some concerns brought forward by health advocates after the final vote. Our promise to Arizona is that we work to enact the best policy to protect consumers and sellers. As a Caucus, we stand ready to work with stakeholders to craft a bill, which could still be considered this session if Republican Leadership demonstrated that it is serious about addressing this issue. We were elected to solve the problems that are facing Arizonans daily, not to engage in political power struggles. It is our duty to serve the people and ensure that their voices are heard, and we are committed to fulfilling this responsibility with the utmost sincerity and diligence.”

The change of heart from some Senate Democrats who previously voted for the bill has not been lost on other neutral observers. Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts wrote Monday that she doesn’t buy the statement released by the Senate Democrats’ leadership team, saying, “Senate Democrats’ change of heart on the tamale bill isn’t about protecting the people from imagined illness. It is all about protecting a governor from embarrassment.”

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

Arizona Democrats Invite Members To “F–k The Fourth” Event

Arizona Democrats Invite Members To “F–k The Fourth” Event

By Terri Jo Neff |

Most Arizonans will spend July 4 watching fireworks after spending the day with family and friends appreciating the many freedoms they enjoy compared to citizens of every other country.

But the Tucson Women’s March has announced a “F**k The 4th” event for attendees to “bring their anger” to Reid Park at 7 p.m. The event was promoted Friday morning on Twitter by the Pima County Democratic Party, who quickly deleted the tweet and accompanied flyer.   

The tweet, however, was seen and saved by many people, including leaders of the Arizona Democratic Party. And while party leaders insisted they did not agree with the language used to publicize the event, they did not reject the intent behind it.

In another tweet, the Arizona Democratic Party also supported the event’s “let’s mourn” theme even though attendees are set to arrive at the popular park at 7 p.m. while it will be full of families celebrating the holiday.

By Friday afternoon the Pima County Dems returned to Twitter in a series of tweets which vacillated between an apology and a statement of defiance in support of the “F**k the 4th” event. 

“The event was organized to help women in our community grieve for the loss of their bodily autonomy, which we consider an elemental right,” one of the group’s tweets read, while another conceded the graphic nature of the flyer advertising the event “was in poor taste.”

But a third tweet on the subject appeared to take a “the end justifies the means” position.

State Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita expressed disgust at the event being held in conjunction with Independence Day celebrations.

And Ben Petersen of the Republican National Committee used Twitter to ask if several Democratic Party leaders in Arizona planned to attend the event or intended to denounce it. 

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Linked to International Political Bribery Scandal

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Linked to International Political Bribery Scandal

By Corinne Murdock |

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Marco Lopez has ties to a massive foreign corruption scandal involving a global construction conglomerate Odebrecht and its bribes to politicians globally. According to an investigative report from Arizona Agenda relying on case information from anti-corruption news organization Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad, Lopez’s company, Intermestic Partners/International Strategic Solutions, received $35,000 from Odebrecht for his several months of work on former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s 2012 campaign. Ultimately, Odebrecht shelled out $800 million through its secretive business department tasked with bribing all levels of government officials across the world, the “Division of Structured Operations,” earning a minimum criminal fine of $4.5 billion in 2016. 

Peña Nieto’s former campaign lieutenant, Emilio Lozoya, connected Lopez’s $35,000 to a $3 million bribe from an Odebrecht shell company: campaign money for public works contracts. Lozoya’s shell business, Latin American Asia Capital Holdings, received the $3 million from Odebrecht before redistributing tens of thousands to Lopez. 

According to Lozoya, the invoices that Lopez and others submitted were bogus. Lopez claimed to have worked on something called the “Colombia Project.” Lopez refused to speak with the Arizona Agenda about his ties with Odebrecht and the Peña Nieto corruption. 

By all accounts, Lopez would qualify as a career politician. As a teen, Lopez served as a congressional page for former Arizona Congressman Ed Pastor. In his early 20s, Lopez worked on Al Gore’s presidential campaign. In 2001, Lopez was elected mayor of his hometown, Nogales, Arizona, becoming one of the youngest mayors in American history at the time. 

Another two years after his election, former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano appointed Lopez to be the executive director of the Arizona-Mexico Commission. Lopez took on a Latin American policy advisory position within Napolitano’s cabinet. After three years, Napolitano promoted Lopez to serve as her senior advisor on foreign affairs and trade. Napolitano again promoted Lopez in 2008 to direct the Arizona Department of Commerce. 

It appears Napolitano didn’t forget Lopez when the White House came to bring her into the Obama Administration in 2008. Not long after Napolitano’s appointment as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Lopez was appointed chief of staff for Customs and Border Protection (CBP). He remained in that position until 2011, before focusing his attention on business ventures of his own. That year, Lopez established the Phoenix-based business and investment advisory group linked to the Odebrecht scandal, Intermestic Partners. Additionally, Lopez began to serve as senior advisor to Forbes’ 2010-2013 richest person in the world: Carlos Slim Helu. 

For a decade, Lopez abstained from taking on a political office. Then in March of last year, Lopez announced his candidacy for Arizona governor — the first to do so. 

After the report broke, Lopez denied his involvement. He claimed the report was inaccurate because it was heavy with “innuendo, racial stereotypes and falsehoods.”

Indicating any knowledge of Odebrecht’s bribing operations could be a deadly maneuver. Odebrecht’s former vice president, Henrique Valladares, was found dead in his Rio de Janeiro apartment in September 2019, shortly after entering a plea bargain with state prosecutors to reveal who was in on the company’s bribing system. Valladares was one of the key informants in the case. According to state police, the cause of his death was “undetermined.”

Odebrecht was implicated following a smaller Brazilian anti-bribery investigation codenamed “Lava Jato,” or “Car Wash,” that began with the arrest of Brazil’s former national oil company executive, Nestor Cerveró.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to