Photo Radar Bill Sent To Governor Hobbs

Photo Radar Bill Sent To Governor Hobbs

By Daniel Stefanski |

An Arizona legislative attempt to prohibit photo radar has been sent to the Governor’s Office.

Last week, the Arizona House of Representatives passed SB 1234, sponsored by Senator Wendy Rogers, with a vote of 32-26 (with one member not voting and one seat vacant). The bill would “forbid the use of photo radar systems to enforce traffic law.”

Stopping photo radar has long been a focus of Senator Rogers, who forecasted her plans to introduce this legislation last summer. Rogers said, “The photo radar industry made its home base in Arizona. And that ends next year. We’re no longer going to allow government to spy on Arizonans for profit and trample due process rights.”

After the House approved the proposal, Republican lawmakers cheered its success on social media. Representative Rachel Jones tweeted, “This week, we passed SB 1234 to ban photo radar. These cameras are the biggest scam of all time, and completely unconstitutional. This was a huge win for freedom!!!”

Representative Joseph Chaplik wrote, “Photo radar is a corrupting scheme in our state and it needs to end now. I proudly voted yes for SB 1234 yesterday to ban it completely, just like 16 other states did.”

And Representative Austin Smith posted, “Photo radar is a racket and abuse of our 4th, 5th and 6th amendment rights. How politicians before approved this is shameful. I proudly voted yes to ban photo radar in Arizona. Good bill, Wendy Rogers!

Before passing the House last this month, this legislation had languished in the legislative process. The House Military Affairs & Public Safety Committee had considered the bill back on March 6, passing it with an 8-7 vote. Earlier in the session, the Senate Government Committee had cleared the measure with a 5-3 vote; and then the full Senate giving the green light with a 16-13 tally (with one member not voting).

Rogers had a dozen co-sponsors for the bill – all Republicans. Senators Ken Bennett, Sonny Borrelli, David Farnsworth, David Gowan, Jake Hoffman, Steve Kaiser, John Kavanagh, Anthony Kern, Sine Kerr, JD Mesnard, (President) Warren Petersen, and Janae Wadsack were the co-sponsors.

Representatives from the City of Chandler, the City of Avondale, the Town of Paradise Valley, the City of Mesa, the Arizona Chapter National Safety Council, the Arizona Public Health Association, and the League of Arizona Cities & Towns noted their opposition to the bill as it moved through the two legislative chambers.

Governor Hobbs is expected to veto this piece of legislation.

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

Hobbs Celebrates 100th Day In Office Despite Administration Missteps

Hobbs Celebrates 100th Day In Office Despite Administration Missteps

By Daniel Stefanski |

Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs marked her 100th day in office last week; and while she hasn’t accomplished much in her short tenure so far, she nonetheless celebrated this milestone.

Hobbs wrote an opinion piece for the Arizona Republic to kick off her day, stating that her “administration has hit the ground running to follow through on the promises I made during the campaign.” She championed the 22 bills that she signed into law and her work on the border and budget negotiations.

The governor didn’t just laud her own accomplishments, but pointed fingers at legislators, in large part, due to the “highly politicized confirmation process” for her nominees to lead state agencies. Hobbs argued that this perceived obstruction “has led agencies to slow walk critical initiatives that could save lives or support vulnerable populations for fear that any move, no matter how innocuous, will be interpreted negatively by certain lawmakers.”

Arizona legislators have been extremely frustrated over the Governor’s Office slow walking of nominees to the Senate for confirmation in the early going of her administration as is her legal responsibility. Though the Hobbs’ administration has appeared to have picked up the pace of transmitting her selections to the Legislature, a Senate source did tell AZ Free News that there are still a few outstanding from the Ninth Floor.

Unsurprisingly, the governor did not include any of her administration’s missteps and unfavorable headlines, including her decision to pull the nomination of her first appointee to serve as the Director of the Arizona Department of Child Safety, the lack of transparency over aspects of her Inaugural Fund, or the sudden resignation of her press secretary – among others.

Hobbs also tweeted that “We’ve accomplished so much these last 100 days and laid the groundwork for what’s to come.” She shared two graphics that highlighted what her administration has done “to move Arizona forward.”

On public safety and the border, the governor selected her Executive Order to establish the Independent Prison Oversight Commission and her roundtable discussion with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on migrant policy. On infrastructure, her speech at Lighting Up the Future, a benefit dinner for broadband expansion and digital equity. On Water and the environment, her establishment of the Office of Resiliency. On education, her Executive Order to create the Educator Retention Task Force. On health, her veto of Representative Matt Gress’s bill to enhance protections for pregnant victims. On housing, her Executive Order to reinstate the Arizona Governor’s Commission on Homelessness and Housing under new title. And on the economy, her International State of the State Address.

Mesa Mayor John Giles cheered on the governor’s first 100 days in office, writing, “In a divided government, Governor Hobbs has been forced to be a great defensive player. I appreciate that she’s also gone on the offensive for our shared priorities. She’s off to a great start, setting the right pace to tackle the issues impacting all Arizonans.”

But many legislative Republicans disagreed with Hobbs’ (and others’) characterizations of her early time in office. House Speaker Pro-Tempore Travis Grantham told AZ Free News that “There’s not much for her to celebrate. It’s clear she wasn’t prepared to govern, and her administration has been a mishandled from the start. But we can celebrate that because of the work by Republicans at the legislature in recent years, the State of Arizona is in a pretty good position. Consider that we now have universal school choice for families, a 2.5 percent flat income tax for everyone, and a balanced budget with billions of dollars in the bank in a rainy-day fund, all because of Republicans. And we are going to protect and defend those things.”

Arizona Senate President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope tweeted out a preview of an interview he participated in outside of the chamber, saying, “Special thanks to @Telemundo for having me on to discuss the lack of promised bipartisanship from @GovernorHobbs over her first 100 Days. From vetoing food/rental tax cuts, standing with murderers on Death Row instead of crime victims, standing with sex offenders instead of parents, to vetoes on bills that had over 2/3s support in both House & Senate to expand access to health care options, the partisan actions haven’t lived up to the bipartisan hype.”

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

Borelli Calls Out Hobbs For Veto Of Election Integrity Bill

Borelli Calls Out Hobbs For Veto Of Election Integrity Bill

By Daniel Stefanski |

It’s a tale as old as January 2023: Arizona’s Democrat Governor and Republican-led Legislature aren’t agreeing on much in this session; and they certainly aren’t coming together on issues of election integrity.

Governor Katie Hobbs recently vetoed SB 1074, sponsored by Senator Sonny Borrelli, which would have prohibited “the use of electronic voting equipment as the primary method for tabulating votes in any city, town, county, state or federal election unless the outlined requirements are met.” The legislation would also prescribe “requirements relating to the source codes for electronic voting equipment.”

The governor didn’t provide much information in her veto letter to Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen, writing, “The election equipment required by the bill, as well as the problem it purports to solve, does not exist. This bill neither strengthens our democracy, nor ensures that Arizonans can better exercise their fundamental right to vote. I stand ready to receive bills that do.”

The bill sponsor, Borrelli, was outraged at the governor’s decision, issuing a press release to “call out Governor Hobbs for her continued blatant political games after she vetoed a bill that would have established oversight, security and transparency on electronic voting systems.”

Senator Borrelli stated: “In her veto letter, Governor Hobbs stated the election equipment required by the bill does not exist. This is in fact a lie. The equipment exists, but the components are made in the People’s Republic of China and other non-friendly countries. She’s pushing the idea that the United States of America could not onshore the manufacturing of tabulation equipment, which is absolutely absurd. There is nothing the American workforce cannot do given the right opportunities.”

He continued, saying, “Furthermore, Governor Hobbs falsely stated that this bill purports to solve a problem that does not exist. I beg to differ. Any electronic device can be manipulated to have a certain outcome. You need source codes to determine this, but they’re not being provided with the current system. You would think the former Secretary of State would know that in 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security designated elections systems as critical infrastructure. This means these systems should be subjected to the same national security standards that the U.S. Department of Defense would apply to any critical infrastructure. Having a third-party vendor with total autonomy is not good for security, voter confidence, nor democracy. This bill would have taken the politics out of the voting process and created a neutral party that works for the Legislature. Fair and honest elections are a bi-partisan concern, albeit only when Democrats are the ones to benefit. Hobbs’ obstructive and cavalier attitude has been part of the destruction of transparency and oversight within our elections.”

SB 1074 originated in the Senate and was considered by the Elections Committee in February, where it passed by a vote of 5-3. The full Senate then approved of the measure in March, 16-13, with one member (Senator Gonzales) not voting. Borrelli’s proposal was then transmitted to the House and heard in the Municipal Oversight & Elections Committee, where it received six Republican votes compared to four Democrat votes (with Representative Jacqueline Parker absent for that vote). The full House then gave the bill the green light with a 31-27 tally, with two Democrat members not voting, making it possible for the legislation to be sent to the Governor’s Office.

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

Gov. Hobbs Ends Free Summer Camp, Hoards $37.5 Million For Equity Programs

Gov. Hobbs Ends Free Summer Camp, Hoards $37.5 Million For Equity Programs

By Corinne Murdock |

Gov. Katie Hobbs ended the free learning loss summer program established by her predecessor, former Gov. Doug Ducey. The remaining funds intended for Ducey’s program, $37.5 million, will now be doled out at the Hobbs administration’s discretion via grants.

While discussing the termination of Ducey’s summer program, an unnamed Hobbs spokesperson erroneously claimed to ABC15 that the free summer camp program, OnTrack, was designed to be a one-time arrangement. Yet, Ducey promised prior to leaving office that OnTrack would occur once more this summer.

Hobbs announced the grant solicitation last month. 

According to a pre-app solicitation video, the Hobbs administration will prioritize programs that lend themselves to equity-oriented outcomes. 

This would include programs that emphasize social-emotional learning (SEL) as well as those targeting students from low-income families, students of color, children with disabilities, English learners, migratory students, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth. 

The grant process also requires applicants to explain how their program would be “culturally competent” and “gender-responsive”: key words for SEL education. The former refers to acknowledging cultural differences and addressing cultural inequalities; and the latter refers to fixing gender inequalities. Both concepts lend themselves to the greater goal of equity.

Hobbs has committed her administration to advancing equity and social justice. Unlike equality, which proposes equal treatment that may result in unequal outcomes, equity proposes disparate treatment in order to achieve purportedly equal outcomes. 

Ducey launched the program in March 2022 with $75.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to offset the learning losses and mental health blows caused by COVID-19 pandemic remote learning. 

The program funded just under 700 summer camps offering over 110,000 camp opportunities statewide. Over 70,600 students participated in the free program, 68 percent of whom were from Title I schools. Campers reported positive outcomes on 86 percent of learning goals, and those in credit recovery programs earned nearly 5,600 credits.

Hobbs’ administration proposed an initial award distribution of 40 percent rural, 20 percent tribal, and 40 percent urban. However, they noted that this allocation structure could be changed to meet internal diversity quotas. 

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

Arizona GOP Legislators Use 2022 Budget for This Year To Ease Taxpayer Burden

Arizona GOP Legislators Use 2022 Budget for This Year To Ease Taxpayer Burden

By Corinne Murdock |

On Monday, the Arizona Senate Appropriations Committee approved reusing last year’s budget for the coming year, citing concerns over the current poor state of the economy. 

The budget bill, SB1523, passed along partisan lines, 6-4. The Republican majority of the committee insisted that this budget structure was a fiscally wise move, while the Democratic minority claimed that Republicans were merely unwilling to negotiate with them. 

Gov. Katie Hobbs criticized the budget as a “do-nothing” plan.

Republican legislators wondered whether Hobbs would close government-funded entities to obtain her ideal budget.

“[W]ill she veto the budget and threaten the possibility of closing our schools, law enforcement agencies, and health care services?” asked House Majority Leader Leo Biasiucci (R-LD30). 

During Monday’s Senate Appropriations Committee meeting, Democrats alleged that Republicans weren’t concerned about the economy. Rather, they said that their budget reflected a refusal to work with either them or Hobbs. 

Senate Minority Caucus Chair Lela Alston (D-LD05) called the budget a “phony bill,” a “power grab,” and a “Ducey budget” that avoided negotiations with Hobbs and Democrats. State Sen. Priya Sundareshan (D-LD18) claimed it was disrespectful to not give them more notice. The legislators received the bill on Monday evening. Sundareshan implied that last year’s Democratic legislators were only satisfied with the budget because they had several different Democrats in the legislature and didn’t have a Democratic governor in power.

“I understand that this budget may have been modeled after a bipartisan one last year, but that does not reflect the reality on the ground today. We have different legislators in the legislature today, we have a different governor, we have different circumstances on the ground,” said Sundareshan. 

State Sen. John Kavanagh (R-LD03), the committee chairman, countered Democrats’ claims that the budget was sprung upon them suddenly Monday evening. Kavanagh said that they had plenty of notice of budget proceedings over the past month. 

“It wouldn’t be a phony budget to the state employees, to those who rely on state monies come July when government shuts down. To them, this wouldn’t have been a phony budget, this would’ve been a lifesaver budget, including schools and teachers,” said Kavanagh.


State Sen. Anthony Kern (R-LD27) said that the budget was “skinny” and “responsible” since the state and nation are living in times of economic uncertainty. State Sen. Jake Hoffman (R-LD15) concurred. He questioned why Hobbs would veto the budget when she knew how a Republican-led legislature would structure the budgets in response to their constituents.

“We are going into times of economic uncertainty, and this budget is going to keep the lights on,” said Hoffman. 

Senate Democrats criticized the budget for being too similar to last year’s version. However, last year the caucus praised the budget as a “historic and rare opportunity” for schools.

In a press release following the Senate Appropriations Committee advancing their version of the budget, House Minority Leader Andrés Cano (D-LD20) claimed that Republicans were “afraid” of Hobbs, and needed to “grow up.” Similarly, Senate Minority Leader Raquel Terán (D-LD26) said that Republicans needed to “act their age” to improve the budget.

Following the Senate advancing its version of the budget, House Republicans introduced their version on Tuesday. State Rep. David Livingston (R-LD28) expressed confidence that all 13 of his introduced budget bills would pass during Wednesday’s House Appropriations Committee meeting, which he chairs.

In a press release, Livingston called Hobbs’ budget plan an “irresponsible,” “left-wing” wish list

“In this time of political division and economic uncertainty, that won’t work for Arizonans, and it won’t pass at the legislature,” said Livingston. 

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) report of the budget forecasted $17.6 billion in ongoing revenue for the upcoming fiscal year, nearly $15 billion in ongoing expenditures, and nearly $858,000 in one-time expenditures.

The budget includes $183 million in one-time funding for building renewal grants, $78 million from the state general fund for a one-time deposit in the new schools facility fund, and $200 million from the state general fund for the superintendent.

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