By Daniel Stefanski |
Last week, Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed SB 1264, sponsored by Senator J.D. Mesnard. The bill would have prohibited “an election officer or employee or person who oversees any significant aspect of election operations from being a chairperson, treasurer or member of a political action committee.”
In a customary veto letter to the Senate President, Hobbs wrote, “There are few, if any, examples of election-related issues created by elected election officers or their appointees being involved in political action committees. For this reason, I have vetoed SB 1264.”
Mesnard was not pleased with the governor’s action, releasing a statement soon after her decision was made public. He stated, “The fact that individuals who have the sacred duty of overseeing the integrity of our elections are also permitted to simultaneously influence those elections through a Political Action Committee is disastrous public policy. Allowing such a conflict of interest to persist seriously undermines public trust. This legislation not only had bipartisan support, it was an absolute no-brainer.”
The bill’s sponsor went on to address the governor’s statement in her letter, saying, “In her veto letter, the Governor claimed, ‘There are few, if any examples of election-related issues’ from current policy, but in fact, examples do exist. And even one is too many. Regardless, why wait for there to be ‘issues’ when the conflict of interest is obvious and is itself a problem? Again, this is terrible public policy and allows for both parties to play games, which I fear will only escalate in light of her misguided veto.”
Earlier this year, Mesnard’s proposal cleared the Senate with a 16-14 vote, after passing through the Senate Elections Committee with a 5-3 tally. After being transmitted to the House of Representatives, the piece of legislation was first approved by the Municipal Oversight & Elections Committee with a bipartisan 7-3 vote before easily sailing through the chamber with a 42-16 vote (with one member not voting and one seat vacant).
Back in February, a representative from the Arizona Secretary of State indicated that the Office took a neutral position for the bill.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.