Arizona Politicians Reaction To SCOTUS Vote Overturning Roe v. Wade

Arizona Politicians Reaction To SCOTUS Vote Overturning Roe v. Wade

By Terri Jo Neff |

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Friday that there is no federal constitutional right to have an abortion despite the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. And the reaction was swift across Arizona’s political sphere.

Many of the comments focused on what most saw as a faulty ruling issued by the SCOTUS nearly 50 years ago to carve out a right to an abortion under the U.S. Constitution. Among them was Gov. Doug Ducey, who used Twitter to express his thoughts on that aspect of the SCOTUS opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito.

Another elected official who took to Twitter was State Rep. Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa) who retweeted an official statement released by U.S. Representative Andy Biggs.

State Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake) gave thanks to the six Justices who provided “victory for the unborn and states rights.”

Also reacting to the decision was U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema who expressed concern that government will stand between healthcare decisions she said are best made between a woman, her family, and her doctors. 

Sinema added that she will “continue working with anyone to protect women’s ability to make decisions about their futures.”

Others, like Maricopa County Attorney candidate Julie Gunnigle, immediately turned the ruling into a political battle cry. 

Similarly, current Arizona Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic nominee for Governor, Katie Hobbs used the ruling as fodder for her campaign.

However, Matt Salmon, a Republican candidate for Governor, took a moment to somberly reflect on what he called “a historic moment for the millions of Americans who believe in the sanctity of life.” Salmon,

Meanwhile, the question now for Arizonans is what impact Friday’s ruling with have here. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a statement advising that he expects the state’s newest abortion law to take effect in about 90 days. It bans the medical procedure 15 weeks after conception.

What the Supreme Court Ruling on Gun Rights Means For Arizona

What the Supreme Court Ruling on Gun Rights Means For Arizona

By Corinne Murdock |

On Thursday, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck down New York’s concealed carry restriction requiring individuals to prove that they required “a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community.”

In New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc., et al. v. Bruen, Superintendent of New York State Police, et al., opinion author Justice Clarence Thomas declared that New York’s “proper-cause requirement” violated the Fourteenth Amendment by “preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self defense needs” from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.

Arizona is one of the most gun-friendly states in the nation. However, nothing in this world is immune from change. This principle is most obvious with the makeup of the state legislature: the Republican majority has been shrinking over the past decade. A loss of the majority would likely result in an overhaul of current gun rights in the state.

At present, state law allows citizens 18 or older to openly carry a firearm without a permit, and individuals 21 or older may concealed carry a firearm without a license or permit (unless they’re active military or veterans aged 19 or older). The law also doesn’t require individuals to obtain a permit or registration for firearms, and it also doesn’t require a background check when purchasing a handgun from a private individual. Additionally, there aren’t any magazine size restrictions.

Though, it may not just be the loss of a majority that ushers in sweeping gun control measures. State legislators’ assessments of Thursday’s witching hour budget proceedings revealed that current Republican leadership may be willing to work with Democrats to reform gun laws. 

State Representative Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa) predicted that the budget’s bipartisan support was a harbinger of governing changes to come out of the legislature. Parker warned that current Republican legislators would back gun control measures, in what would be similar to their D.C. counterparts working currently with the White House to pass red flag legislation. 

This ruling is the latest in a series that conservatives chalked up as crucial victories for constitutional protections. Supporters of the gun rights ruling expressed fondness of Thomas’ explanation of how, historically, gun control laws were implemented to bar Black individuals from gun ownership. 

President Joe Biden condemned the ruling in a statement, claiming that the opinion of the court contradicted “both common sense and the Constitution.” Biden cited the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas as reasons why increased gun control was necessary. 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul insisted that SCOTUS should’ve determined its ruling by current affairs, not precedent or past constitutional arguments. Hochul pledged to act through their state legislature in the near future. 

Hochul also threatened to only allow muskets as a valid form of arms, despite the Constitution not specifying the type of arms that Americans may keep and bear. 

Shortly after his initial reaction to the SCOTUS ruling, Biden issued a follow-up statement addressing Congress’ progress on gun control legislation. If enacted, the federal government would enforce a swath of red flag laws. Critics of the increased gun control measure called it a “gun grab” and a direct affront to the Second Amendment. 

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

GOP Legislator Tells All: $18 Billion Budget Will ‘Bankrupt’ State, Leadership ‘Bought’ Dems with $6 Billion

GOP Legislator Tells All: $18 Billion Budget Will ‘Bankrupt’ State, Leadership ‘Bought’ Dems with $6 Billion

By Corinne Murdock |

With one week to go before the end of the fiscal year, the Arizona legislature managed to reconcile enough differences to pass a finalized version of the budget. However, Republican legislators opposed to the historic $18 billion budget have reported that the controlling party made the budget more palatable for members across the aisle rather than those of their own party. 

Although Democratic legislators initially expressed great frustration about the budget, it appears that they may have feigned their opposition — the overwhelming majority of Democrats voted for the budget. 

State Representative Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa) was one of the legislators that voted against the budget. In a Thursday interview with “Conservative Circus,” Parker talked openly about the backdoor proceedings that went on over the last week, claiming that GOP leadership and Governor Doug Ducey gave Democrats what they wanted at the cost of Arizonans’ best interests.

All throughout Thursday’s voting, Parker offered updates on floor proceedings. She noted the shared levity between the Republicans and Democrats as the total expenditures added up with each bill passed.

Parker also noted that the budget received near-unanimous support from Democrats — unique, since Democrats normally have opposed past Republican-majority budgets. 

Contrary to assurances from House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Regina Cobb (R-Kingman) that the budget would enable the state to “weather the storm” of a future recession, Parker said that the budget provisions would bankrupt the state in a recession.

“Spending is colossal, there are no massive tax cuts, and it’s exceeding our actual fiscal revenues. We’re looking at, probably, future bankruptcy as a recession comes forward,” said Parker. 

Parker said that several others brought these concerns to Republican leadership prior to floor votes, but that they were ignored. The representative reported that the leaders were more interested in pleasing Democrats than with working out a conservative budget.

“Leadership essentially just said, ‘It’s easier to just go buy Democrats,’” recounted Parker. “They bought them to the tune of six billion more dollars.”

Although school choice advocates touted the universal expansion of the state’s Empowerment Account Scholarship (ESA) Program, Parker reported that Governor Doug Ducey subverted those efforts. Parker said that she and other unnamed legislators received a 2 am call warning that the ESA expansion came with a “poison pill” from the Ninth Floor. 

“Ducey has made an agreement with the Democrats that if they don’t refer the ESA bill to the ballot or challenge it in court within the 90 day period, they’re going to extend the aggregate expenditure limit forever, indefinitely,” said Parker.

Parker warned that this secret deal would lead to education expenditures that would break past the 50 percent limit and possibly take over the entire budget.

One of the contentious aspects of the budget was the expansion of homeless shelters throughout Arizona suburbs. State Representative Joseph Chaplik (R-Scottsdale), another one of the lone Republicans who opposed the budget alongside Parker, lamented that the budget policies would turn the state into another California. 

Another was the tax credits to entice the film industry to come to the state. The last similar tax credit program bled the state of millions of dollars leading up to the 2008 recession. 

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

Arizona House Leadership Considered Using Troopers to Get GOP Legislators’ Votes

Arizona House Leadership Considered Using Troopers to Get GOP Legislators’ Votes

By Corinne Murdock |

The Arizona Capitol was astir on Wednesday after House leadership entertained the notion of dispatching law enforcement to track down two Republican members needed to pass three election integrity bills. Ultimately, the idea was nixed, the legislators never came back, and the three bills failed — but leadership and the two lawmakers are at odds as to who was to blame.

House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) and Majority Leader Ben Toma (R-Peoria) contemplated dispatching Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers to locate State Representatives Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) and Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa) in order to pass three bills: SB1013, SB1260, and SB1362. Though the bills failed, all three will be reconsidered. 

Hoffman accused Bowers and Toma of engaging in intimidation tactics. On “The Conservative Circus” radio show, Hoffman claimed that Bowers knew days in advance that he was missing multiple Republican votes for certain election bills, but decided to wait to utilize law enforcement on the day of voting. He said that was why Bowers and Toma were to blame for the three election integrity bills’ failure.

“The bottom line is that Rusty Bowers and Ben Toma knew they were missing Republican votes yesterday, yet they decided to put up election integrity bills up for vote so that they would fail,” said Hoffman. “Rusty Bowers chose to play petty political games with critical election integrity bills, and then attempted to wield the power of tyrants to send armed men to his own conservative members to clean up his mess.” 

Hoffman said that Bowers issued disparate treatment in sending DPS after him, noting that Bowers refused to send DPS after Democrats last year who staged a walkout during budget voting.

“Last year when Democrats all over the country, including right here in Arizona, were weaponizing their legislative attendance to try to kill election integrity legislation, when they were running and hiding in an attempt to prevent a quorum, the conservatives were the ones who asked Rusty Bowers last year to send DPS in a legitimate government role to bring them back to the capitol, and he refused to even consider it every single time it was brought up,” said Hoffman. 

Hoffman claimed that Bowers and Toma were “playing games” with election integrity bills. He insisted that the pair forced every House representative to sit around for an hour as they planned to send officers to his and Parker’s homes. 

In response to Hoffman’s accusations, Bowers explained that Hoffman and Parker walked away from the House floor to influence voting in the Senate. He blamed Hoffman and Parker for the failure of the three election integrity bills. 

“House rules permit us to compel members back to vote,” stated Bowers. “Let me be clear, sending DPS was discussed but was never deployed in any fashion. Any notion otherwise is a lie. Because we were missing votes, 3 election integrity bills failed on the House floor.”

Parker made light of media coverage of the situation. She alluded to live reporting from Arizona Republic reporter Mary Jo Pitzl, who relayed that Parker and Hoffman were called “Bonnie and Clyde” by those on the floor and stated falsely that DPS was dispatched.

“Bonnie and Clyde? Is the same press that called us ‘fiscal hawks’ last year now comparing us to bank robbers? More like Robin Hood & Lil John standing up to King Rusty & Sheriff of Nottingham Toma,” wrote Parker. “Just wait until the budget comes out & the real bank robbers are exposed!”

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

Removal of State Bar Membership Mandate for Arizona Attorneys Passes House Committee

Removal of State Bar Membership Mandate for Arizona Attorneys Passes House Committee

By Corinne Murdock |

Arizona attorneys may no longer have to have membership within the State Bar of Arizona in order to practice law in the state. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill prohibiting the Arizona Supreme Court from requiring attorneys to have any organization membership in order to become or remain a licensed attorney. Like the bill’s passage in the Senate, the bill passed along party lines in committee. 

State Senator Vince Leach (R-Tucson), the bill sponsor, shared that Attorney General Mark Brnovich had to hire an attorney to litigate a case because his attorneys were under State Bar investigation due to complaints from Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Leach said that the secretary of state was “weaponizing a tool within the legal system.” However, he noted that those 12 bar complaints disappeared after he introduced the bill.

Leach added that many attorneys who wanted to speak on the bill didn’t show up because they were afraid of upsetting the status quo.

“They won’t come here because the State Bar, which is designed to protect the industry, and — if this is a word, if it’s not a word, I’m still going to say it — lawyering to look out for the good of the legal profession. You have members that are forced to pay $500-and-some-odd, don’t want to come here and say ‘Yeah there’s a problem with the bar,’” said Leach.

Leach encouraged the committee to view the State Bar as a corporation, and to question their practices and lobbying activities. 

State Representative Neal Carter (R-Queen Creek) asked Leach if union membership was required for the practice of other professions in the state, to which Leach replied no — Arizona is a right to work state.

State Bar of Arizona President Jennifer Rebholz expressed opposition to the bill, arguing that the Arizona Supreme Court should have its decision to require bar membership respected as a matter of separation of powers. The representative insisted that the state bar wasn’t a union, but rather a conduit for the will and disciplinary authority of the supreme court. 

Carter recounted the history behind state bars, pointing to the feudalist systems which required a state bar of sorts to act as an intermediary between the courts and the people. He expressed concern about the fact that attorneys didn’t testify on the bill out of fear of retaliation from the State Bar. 

“It seems to me the whole system was borne out of a kind of restricting access idea and that today it drives up cost for legal services, so that those who need it the most — indigent people, people accused of crimes and so on, particularly adversely affects minorities and others than those who have the money to pay for lawyers because it drives up costs,” said Carter. “I also think it makes it harder for those people to join the profession themselves. It really is a sort of anti-democratic, anti-American, anti-equality, anti-access to justice system.”

State Representative Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) insisted that individuals weaponize the bar and that it should function more as a service organization, not a labor union. State Representative Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa) added that the State Bar was far from unbiased.

In their opposition, committee Democrats concurred with Rebholz’s perspective that the State Bar was crucial to the separation of powers.

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