During pro-abortionists’ attempted insurrection of the Arizona State Capitol on Friday, several Republican senators took up arms to defend their legislature. The Arizona Department of Public Safety (ADPS) noted that there were between 7,000 and 8,000 protesters at the Arizona State Capitol Complex on Friday.
In an interview with “Conservative Circus” host James T. Harris, State Senator Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) recounted how the senate was in the middle of approving universal school choice when pro-abortion protestors attempted to breach the Arizona Capitol. Townsend said that she and three other legislators retrieved their firearms to help secure the building.
“We got word that there was trouble in paradise, that people were trying to break into the capitol. We knew they were out there, but then they started trying to break into the doors,” said Townsend. “It was just surreal. It wasn’t traumatizing, it wasn’t dramatic. It was just, ‘This is really happening in our capitol.’ It was something that I will never, ever forget.”
Townsend also described the wide range of fellow members’ reactions to the insurrection threat: from those assuming leadership roles to those cowering and experiencing meltdowns. The legislator shared that she encouraged fearful members to take heart, sharing confidence in their safety due to being armed against the rioters.
“That’s the difference between AOC and us — when you’re armed, you are empowered to take care of yourself. You’re not traumatized. You are there to hold down the fort, right?” said Townsend.
The senator recounted that the only individuals traumatized by the event, by her observation, were the two children of a fellow, unnamed senator.
“When you saw who was out there, it was these petulant little 20-year-old girls. There was definitely some Antifa, and that was what caused DPS to act, but mostly it was just girls banging on the window and then coming out with their spray paint and then destroying these monuments with their graffiti — not destroying them but, you know, getting them messy,” said Townsend.
AZDPS reported that rioters committed “felony criminal damage” to the capitol. In their attempts to address the chaos brewing amid trespass and unlawful assembly, AZDPS explained in a press release that they resorted to deploying gas to clear the plaza. In response to criticism of their tactics with children present, AZDPS countered that it was unwise for individuals to bring children to such a protest.
“What began as a peaceful protest evolved into anarchical and criminal actions by masses of splinter groups. As groups realized the state legislature was in session, they attempted to breach the doors of the Arizona Senate and force their way into the building. The violence of their efforts literally shook the building and terrified citizens and lawmakers who occupied the building. As the glass doors bowed from attempts of forced entry, the occupants of the building were instructed to move to secure locations,” reported AZDPS.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich denounced the rioters’ attempts to undermine law and order.
Despite the antics of the weekend, Townsend said that she and other legislators showed up early to the capitol to clean up the aftermath of the pro-abortionists. She observed that some Gold Star mothers were outraged by the defacement of the Enduring Freedom Memorial. The rioters wrote “ABORT THE COURT” and “F**K SCOTUS” across multiple memorials.
“If you could put yourself in their shoes and your son’s name is on there, and these petulant children come and spray paint it because they’re not able to take their child’s life?” remarked Townsend.
On Wednesday, the Arizona Senate passed HB2008, which reforms the state’s high school learning standards to cast a positive light on America’s founding principles while exploring the dangers of other governing ideologies. The bill now heads to the House for review before submission to Governor Doug Ducey for final approval.
Under the bill, the State Board of Education (SBE) must update high school social studies standards to incorporate a comparative discussion of political ideologies. Communism and totalitarianism will be juxtaposed with American ideology, such as its founding principles of freedom and democracy.
“The academic standards prescribed by the state board in social studies shall include personal finance, American civics education, and a comparative discussion of political ideologies, such as communism and totalitarianism, that conflict with the principles of freedom and democracy that are essential to the founding principles of the United States,” states the bill. (emphasis added to reflect the new legislative language)
Specifically, HB2008 requires the learning standards to rely on source texts, oral histories from victims of ideologies like communism and totalitarianism. The SBE would develop resources from the Arizona State University (ASU) School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, the University of Arizona (UArizona) Center for Philosophy of Freedom, and the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy.
The SBE would have until this New Year’s Eve to establish a list of “portraits in patriotism” oral history resources supplementing the civic education and social studies standards.
The bill almost didn’t make it out of the Senate. It failed just the day before, on Tuesday, when Majority Leader Rick Gray (R-Sun City) joined Senate Democrats in opposing it since State Senators Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) and Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Scottsdale) weren’t able to vote. However, all Republican senators offered unified support for the bill the next day.
HB2008 passed in the House along party lines, with unanimous opposition from Democrats and unanimous support from Republicans.
Democrats have pushed back against efforts to portray communism in a negative light. Some, like State Representative and congressional candidate Daniel Hernandez (D-Tucson), have argued that ideologies like white nationalism pose a bigger threat than communism.
HB2008’s sponsor, State Representative Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott Valley), was a victim of communism himself. At 12 years old, Nguyen fled from the Communist Party of Vietnam a week before the Fall of Saigon in April 1975.
HB2008 was Nguyen making good on his promise late last year to ensure students learn about the evils of what he and others, such as House Majority Leader Ben Toma (R-Peoria), had suffered. Toma was nine years old when he emigrated from Romania in the 1980s, ruled at the time by communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu.
During a State Senate briefing on Tuesday, True the Vote — the election integrity nonprofit behind the research for election fraud documentary “2000 Mules” — recommended Arizona clean up its voter rolls. Just several days before, Governor Doug Ducey vetoed a bill purging non-citizens and non-Arizonans from voter rolls.
The election integrity researchers also proposed an end to the mass mailing of ballots and drop boxes, as well as an increase in penalties for voter fraud. If ending the use of all drop boxes wasn’t feasible, the researchers proposed real-time video surveillance.
The bill vetoed by Ducey, HB2617, received support from House and Senate Republicans. It would’ve required the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) to submit information to the secretary of state every month regarding driver’s license or non-operating licenses issued in other states. Within 10 days, the secretary of state would then submit that information to the relevant county recorders to purge their voter rolls.
HB2617 would’ve also required the county recorder to compare their voter registration database to the Social Security Administration database on a monthly basis. Additionally, the secretary of state would’ve been required to report to the state legislature on a quarterly basis the death counts and voter registration cancellation notices issued to county recorders. Jury commissioners and managers would’ve been required to inform the secretary of state and their county recorder about individuals who indicated they weren’t U.S. citizens or living within the county.
The House and Senate may override Ducey’s veto with a two-thirds vote.
Ducey’s spokesman, C.J. Karamargin, said that the bill sponsor, State Representative Joseph Chaplik (R-Scottsdale), “knows” why Ducey vetoed the bill. Karamargin didn’t elaborate further.
In an explanatory letter, Ducey shared a concern that the legislation lacked due process for voters whose eligibility may be challenged, and that bad actors would capitalize on that aspect of the bill.
He criticized the bill’s implementation method as “vague” and lacking guidance for county recorders to execute properly. Ducey further criticized the residency determination provisions within the bill as subjective and lacking protections against false claims of non-residency.
Ducey didn’t object to the bill in its entirety. He commended the provisions directing ADOT, the secretary of state, and county recorders to communicate on proof of out-of-state licenses, new addresses, and non-citizenship.
Arizona Free Enterprise Club Vice President Aimee Yentes disagreed with Ducey’s concerns that the bill lacked due process for voters and that it would empower bad actors. However, Yentes expressed hope that they could work with Chaplik to bring a modified version of the bill more palatable to Ducey.
“This is a multi-pronged endeavor. You don’t fix all the numerous issues we have with election processes overnight or in just one session,” said Yentes.
The day after the national observance of those who took up arms and gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect this country, State Senate Democrats hijacked traditional floor proceedings to push a gun control bill to a vote. The bill, SB1546, originally didn’t advance beyond its introduction in January. On Tuesday, it failed narrowly along party lines.
The legislation contrived by Minority Whip Martín Quezada (D-Glendale) would’ve required all firearms sales and transfers to be conducted by licensed firearms dealers. If neither the seller or buyer were licensed firearms dealers, then they would have to find a licensed firearms dealer in order to complete the transaction. The licensed firearms dealer would have to run a background check on the buyer; if the buyer failed, then the dealer would have to run a background check on the seller. If the seller failed, then the dealer would have to surrender the firearm to law enforcement within 24 hours.
Of all the exemptions carved out, the legislation included a provision allowing a temporary transfer of a firearm to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm — but only to the person receiving the firearm, and only if they’re not prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law.
Anyone who would violate SB1546 would be guilty of a class 5 felony, which carries a range of anywhere from six months in a mitigated sentence to two years and six months in an aggravated sentence.
Democrats excoriated Republicans for not siding with legislation they believed would curb future mass shootings comparable to the tragedy that occurred in Uvalde, Texas last Tuesday.
“We had a chance to enact common sense gun safety reform today and Republicans killed it — again. #EndGunViolenceNow,” wrote the Senate Democrats.
During an interview with “Conservative Circus,” State Senator Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) rebutted Democrats’ claims. He insisted that gun restrictions only take guns out of good actors’ hands, arguing that the better solution would be to arm security and willing teachers.
“The government did not stop the shooter. There were police officers that did nothing. Gun laws did not stop the shooter. He was in a gun-free zone. He walked right through that law. Criminals do not follow gun laws,” said Petersen. “It took a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun.”
Petersen repeated the viral false claim that an off-duty Border Patrol agent, Jacob Albarado, was the individual responsible for shooting and killing the Uvalde school shooter, Salvador Ramos. Law enforcement credited a tactical team for taking out Ramos. Albarado helped evacuate children from outside the school.
Petersen reminded host James Harris that Republicans only have a single vote that secures them as the majority.
State Senator T.J. Shope (R-Coolidge) announced on Monday that he was filing an ethics complaint against Senator Juan Mendez (D-Tempe) for being absent for almost the entirety of this legislative session. Shope accused Mendez of abandoning his duties in the senate.
“I have informed the chair of the Senate Committee on Ethics that I will be filing an ethics complaint against the member from district 26 for essentially abandoning his position here in this body. I will be doing so over the next few days,” said Shope.
Shope made his announcement during a vote on whether to expel State Senator Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff) from the Senate. That measure failed along party lines.
Both Mendez and his wife, State Representative Athena Salman (D-Tempe), have stayed away from the State Capitol almost entirely, save for Mendez’s visit in February and Salman’s visit in April. They’ve done so with the blessing of Republican House and Senate leadership, who furnished them with excused absences for the last five months.
House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) explained to The Arizona Republic that he gave Salman excused absences because he was “just trying to be nice.” Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) explained that Mendez had a doctor’s note recommending against the legislator’s return to in-person work.
The couple cited concerns about exposing their daughter to COVID-19, who was born in January. Salman requested to work remotely like the legislature had allowed during the last legislative session, but her request was denied.
Mendez and Salman argued to The Arizona Republic that they haven’t absconded from their responsibilities completely. Though they’re barred from voting remotely, the couple reported that they speak with the press and their constituents regularly as well as engage in the legislature by watching it virtually.