Two House Republicans Vote to Kill Bill Preventing Bank Discrimination

Two House Republicans Vote to Kill Bill Preventing Bank Discrimination

By Corinne Murdock |

Two House Republicans voted against a bill to prevent banks from discriminating against vendors or customers for their political affiliations or values determined by a social credit score. HB2656 failed 28-31; the bill sponsor, State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) voted against the bill alongside two of his Republican colleagues with track records for voting against bills supporting Republican Party values: State Representative Joel John (R-Buckeye) and State Representative Michelle Udall (R-Mesa). Hoffman changed his vote in order to file a motion to reconsider the bill within 14 days’ time, which was approved. 

John’s primary argument for not supporting the bill concerned the fact that he doesn’t engage in politics outside of the legislature, and that he doesn’t know of any real examples of banks discriminating against individuals for their affiliations or values. In doing so, John criticized his cousin, who reportedly called John to urge him to support the bill. 

“I’ve asked the sponsor to give me real world examples of why this bill is needed, and I didn’t get that. I even got a call from my cousin, who doesn’t live in my district, telling me that this bill is needed and to pass it right now and I said ‘why is it a problem man? Help me understand,’” said John. “For those of us who happen to be in this chamber, but don’t live, eat, and breathe politics 24/7, when I’m not in this chamber I’m out in a remote area working on some irrigation project, but my cousin said this is going to negatively affect farmers. This is going to affect our community, and I said, ‘Oh wow. Would you please do me a favor and talk to some of those guys as to why this is a problem. That would really help me. So, I never did hear back.”

One Republican representative rebutted to John’s assertion that there weren’t any real-world examples of this discrimination occurring in Arizona. State Representative Jeff Weninger (R-Chandler) relayed how multiple gun vendors statewide informed him that banks and financial services like Paypal won’t facilitate credit card transactions for items like guns due to their policies. 

“In my points, I’m not going to throw my cousin under the bus like somebody just did a minute ago,” said Weninger. “[Banking and other financial transaction discrimination] is something that is gaining steam and everywhere I go and talk to people, more and more people are knowing about it. But pretty soon it could be too late and have already run us over as a state.” 

Hoffman explained that his bill was prompted by the rise of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG): an enforcement method for authoritarianism advocated heavily by powerful globalist organizations like the World Economic Forum (WEF). The ESG concept is a part of a movement called “The Great Reset:” a goal to instill “stakeholder capitalism,” aka corporatism, a fascist rule globally. Hoffman explained that the ESG factor worked as a social credit score.

“It is an inside-outside strategy designed to force companies and individuals to adopt a woke and oftentimes globalist agenda primarily embraced by those in the ruling class. They do this by assigning an ESG score or sometimes known as a ‘social impact criteria score,’” said Hoffman. 

Hoffman added that the legislation was a moral imperative, citing the Canadian government freezing protestors’ bank accounts and financial apps in order to end their Freedom Convoy.

“Think it couldn’t happen in America? Think again. The top five banks in the US — the very same banks that US taxpayers bailed out in 2009 to the tune of 30 trillion dollars — have all admitted to using ESG scores to make decisions about customers. This means that if they deem your small business isn’t green enough, woke enough, or compliant enough, they’ll lower your ESG score which could hurt or eliminate your ability to access banking services, revolving capital, financing, and much more,” said Hoffman. “ESG discrimination is a freight train barreling down the tracks at the American people and it’s effects will be devastating, which is why I’m fighting like hell to protect the people of Arizona and stop this disgusting, anti-American practice dead in its tracks.”

This isn’t the first issue in which John and Udall didn’t agree with their fellow Republicans. Earlier this month, John voted with Democrats attempting to kill a bill expanding parental rights. 

John and Udall are also part of the Republican trio that killed a bill to expand school choice last year. Instead, John supported a bill this session to require additional testing requirements to access school choice, backed by the other two trio members: Udall and Joanne Osborne (R-Goodyear).

Last year, John voted against a bill to require disclosure of personal information on early ballot affidavits. He and Udall also voted alongside House Democrats to force a vote on a resolution allowing illegal immigrants who’ve resided in Arizona at least two years and graduated from an Arizona high school to receive in-state tuition. That measure will appear on the ballot this November. 

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

State House Moves Ahead With 2 Voter Registration Bills

State House Moves Ahead With 2 Voter Registration Bills

By Terri Jo Neff |

Two bills designed to tweak Arizona’s voter registration laws had third readings in the House on Tuesday, resulting in party line votes of 31 to 28.

House Bill 2237 stipulates that a department, division, agency, or political subdivision of Arizona—or any person acting on behalf of one—may not register a person to vote on an election day and then deem that person eligible to vote in the same election. Doing so would be a Class 6 felony which carries a presumptive one-year prison sentence.

Under current law, someone seeking to register to vote must meet several criteria, such as being U.S. resident, being a resident of Arizona for 29 days before the election, and being at least 18 years of ago on or before the next election following registration.

There is also a deadline in Arizona for registering to vote – 29 days before the election.

However, some people are allowed to cast a provisional ballot on Election Day. The provisional ballot includes information for registering the person to vote going forward if it is determined the person is not already registered.

Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-LD12) introduced by HB2237 to ensure the information included with the provisional ballot is not used to register the voter until after election day. Otherwise, Arizona’s 29-day registration deadline could be circumvented.

A second bill introduced by Hoffman, HB2243 would add a simple advisory statement to all new voter registration forms. The advisory informs the person registering to vote that if they permanently move to another state after being registered in Arizona, then their Arizona voter registration will be cancelled.

Supporters of HB2243 say it will help keep Arizona’s voter database up-to-date. In addition, it would reduce the opportunity for fraud if the moved voter was on the early balloting list or lives in a community with vote-by-mail elections.

Hoffman had 11 co-sponsors on each of the two bills.

House Committee Passes Bill Barring Illegal Immigrants From Voting

House Committee Passes Bill Barring Illegal Immigrants From Voting

By Corinne Murdock |

The House Government and Elections Committee passed a bill prohibiting illegal immigrants from voting, HB2492, on Wednesday. The bill would require those registering to vote to prove their residential address, date and place of birth, and affirmation that they are a citizen using a U.S. Election Assistance Commission form. 

If an applicant fails to offer satisfactory proof of citizenship, then the county must attempt to verify the applicant’s citizenship status within 10 days using, at minimum, information from the Department of Transportation (ADOT), Social Security Administration (SSA), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program, National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems Electronic Verification of Vital Events, and any other databases that the elections official has access to within the state, city, town, county, or federal government. 

Election officials that refuse to reject a registration form would be subject to a class six felony. If officials find proof that the applicant isn’t an American citizen, then they must notify the applicant of their rejection and refer the case to both the county attorney and attorney general for further investigation. However, if an election official can’t find any citizenship information whatsoever, then they will only notify the applicant of their rejection and offer them 30 days to respond with evidence of citizenship. 

The bill would impact federal-only voters — those who made a substantial impact in the 2020 election — because applicants without satisfactory citizenship proof wouldn’t be qualified to vote in federal elections. Exemptions would be carved out for those under the Uniformed And Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), such as military members.

Furthermore, the bill requires that county officials make records of all their efforts to verify an applicant’s citizenship status. They must also present a list of all individuals who registered to vote and haven’t provided satisfactory evidence of citizenship by Halloween of this year. At that point, the attorney general would have until the end of next March to determine each applicant’s citizenship status and submit a report to the secretary of state, senate president, and house speaker.

The legislation sponsor, State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), explained that the number of individuals who hadn’t shown Documentary Proof of Citizenship (DPOC) went from 1,700 in 2018 to over 11,000 in 2020. 

Hoffman worked with the Arizona Free Enterprise Club to draft the bill, whose deputy director, Greg Blackie, offered testimony to the committee recounting Arizonans’ history of supporting citizenship requirements for voting, citing the state’s approval of Prop 200 in 2004: the Arizona voter-approved initiative that made citizenship a qualification to register to vote. 

Both the federal and state government worked to undermine Prop 200. Although the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) requires states to use its federal form for voter registration, Blackie explained that the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) must consult with each state to include tailored instructions on that state’s voter qualifications; however, the EAC hasn’t included Arizona’s requirement of proof of citizenship. In 2013, the Supreme Court overturned Prop 200, ruling that the NVRA preempted Arizona’s proof of citizenship requirement. In 2018, Arizona’s secretary of state and the Maricopa County recorder agreed to a consent decree ignoring Prop 200. 

“The result has been the complete proliferation of the federal-only voters list,” stated Blackie. “This bill really is necessary to safeguard our voter rolls, ensuring only qualified applicants are properly registered and voting in our elections, restoring confidence and ensuring in Arizona it’s easy to vote, hard to cheat.”

In announcing her vote against the bill, State Representative Sarah Ligouri (D-Phoenix) argued Arizona’s voter registration processes and ID processes are “completely secure.” Liguori said that Arizona should strike down this bill, as Kansas and Alabama did for similar bills.

“I think this legislation is unnecessary and impunitive to newly-registered and new citizen voters,” said Liguori. 

The bill passed 7-6 on party lines. 

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

AG Asserts Ducey Has Authority To Protect Arizona From Cartel Invasion

AG Asserts Ducey Has Authority To Protect Arizona From Cartel Invasion

By Terri Jo Neff |

The State of Arizona is getting no support from the White House against an ongoing invasion by Mexican cartels, which gives Gov. Doug Ducey the authority to deploy the Arizona National Guard in self-defense, according to a legal opinion released by Arizona Attorney Mark Brnovich on Monday.

“The federal government’s failure to secure the border and protect Arizona from invasion is dangerous and unprecedented,” the 25-page opinion states.   “Thankfully, the Founders foresaw that States might need to protect themselves from invasion and made clear in the Constitution that States retain the sovereign power to defend themselves within their own territory.”

The attorney general’s opinion was prompted by an inquiry submitted in October by Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-LD12) about whether the Biden Administration “has failed –intentionally or unintentionally– to uphold its obligations” under Article IV of the U.S. Constitution to protect Arizona from invasion.

The opinion contends the federal government “has lost or severely degraded its operational control” of Arizona’s 372-mile border with Mexico, where cartels and gangs are openly trafficking in drugs, weapons, and human beings while engaging in attacks on Arizonans and acting “as if they are above the law.”

Among the issues the attorney general examined in response to Hoffman’s inquiry was the definitions of “actually invaded” and “invasion” as used in the State Self-Defense Clause and the Invasion Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

ARTICLE I, SECTION 10

“…No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”

ARTICLE IV, SECTION 4

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

The examination also included whether a state has constitutional power to defend itself from “hostile non-state actors” such as armed cartels or only an invasion by a foreign power. Finally, the attorney general had to determine whether the current crisis at the Arizona / Mexico border satisfies the definitions of “actually invaded” and “invasion.”

“The violence and lawlessness at the border caused by transnational cartels and gangs satisfies the definition of an ‘invasion’ under the U.S. Constitution, and Arizona therefore has the power to defend itself from this invasion under the Governor’s authority as Commander-in-Chief,” the opinion states, adding that an  invasion “permits the State to engage in defensive actions within its own territory.”

The legal questions addressed by the attorney general have not been adjudicated in court with factors similar to the situation in Arizona. However, the opinion was welcomed by Hoffman, who called on Ducey to utilize the powers afforded to him by the U.S. Constitution to immediately secure the border.

“I’m glad to see that Attorney General Brnovich today agreed with my assessment that the crisis occurring on our southern border constitutes an invasion and a total failure by the Biden administration to fulfill its constitutional obligation to protect the people of Arizona,” Hoffman said.“The human smuggling, cartel drugs and violence, sex trafficking, and other illicit activity must end.”

Ducey’s office did not issue a formal comment on whether the governor agrees with the opinion’s legal conclusions of his authority as commander-in-chief. Since April 2021, several dozen National Guard soldiers have been rotated in and out of border county sheriff’s offices to perform administrative, non-law enforcement functions.

This has been well-received by the sheriffs as it frees up deputies to respond to the increase in reported crimes along the border. 

ASU President Silent On Controversies Plaguing Campus

ASU President Silent On Controversies Plaguing Campus

By Corinne Murdock |

Arizona State University (ASU) President Michael Crow faced questioning from State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) concerning the root of some of the university’s controversies that made national headlines. However, it wasn’t Crow’s fate to face Hoffman’s inquisition alone — he found an intercessor in Chairwoman Regina Cobb (R-Kingman).

Hoffman posed questions during Wednesday’s House Appropriations Committee meeting relevant to ASU’s funding. The legislator’s first question pertained to the cancellation of a fundraiser for a conservative program at ASU: the Political History and Leadership (PHL) program. 

As AZ Free News reported last week, ASU’s initial response to the event cancellation was murky. Out of the three reasons given to various individuals involved in the situation, Crow asserted that an unnamed staff member’s failure to follow planning policy was the reason for the event cancellation, which he insisted was really a postponement. At the time, ASU spokesman Jerry Gonzalez concurred with that statement. 

“The event at the Desert Botanical Garden was canceled due to a breach of scheduling protocol by a faculty member in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies,” stated Gonzalez. “The university welcomes the opportunity for this event to be rescheduled following the required protocols.”

However, several of the scheduled speakers for the event were informed by ASU officials prior to publication of our report that the event was canceled due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases. Those speakers were informed that Crow wasn’t aware of the event or its cancellation at the time. Others reported that the choice of speakers was deemed too controversial: Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) and former Utah congressman and Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz.

Hoffman addressed this most recent controversy first in his line of questioning for Crow. The representative’s question flowed seamlessly with Crow’s closing request: that the legislature afford more funding for ASU’s “Freedom School”: the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership (SCETL). Hoffman applauded SCETL, but asked about the treatment of the PHL program.

“I’m wondering how you feel about the political history and leadership program that you canceled the event on?” asked Hoffman. “How come that doesn’t get the same level of praise considering its disproportionate impact on the department?”

Crow responded that the event was delayed, not canceled, and blamed an unnamed faculty member for not following proper schedule procedures, which he didn’t elaborate. He promised that the event was rescheduled.

“This is an event I’m very familiar with. We’re very happy to host that event, we’re very happy to host all of the individuals that are coming to the event,” said Crow.

When Hoffman attempted to follow up with another question, Cobb said Hoffman’s line of questioning wasn’t appropriate for the subject.

“That’s a question that shouldn’t have been asked, so don’t do a follow-up on that one,” said Cobb.

Hoffman responded that they could discuss the subject later and insisted he wasn’t done. 

“Well, you’re only addressed to when I addressed you,” said Cobb.

“Which you have already authorized,” responded Hoffman.

“I said ‘Don’t follow up,’ and you said, ‘Okay, then.’ Do you want a different question, Mr. Hoffman?” asked Cobb.

“I want less hostility from my chairman. That’s what I’d like,” responded Hoffman.

Cobb repeated whether Hoffman would like to ask a different question, and Hoffman confirmed. Hoffman then asked what Crow was doing about the multiple incidences of high-profile racism on his campus.

“Unfortunately the racism that we’re seeing is permeating from a cultural and institutional level[,]” asserted Hoffman.

Before Crow could respond, Cobb intervened with an assertion that Hoffman’s question wasn’t  relevant to their budget material being reviewed that day. Cobb would only interrupt Hoffman as he attempted to ask her if or when the committee would bring Crow back for questioning on the subject of additional funding.

“Are you going to have him back to testify in front of us so we can ask him that question? Because if you expect us to sign off on more funding for ASU…” said Hoffman.

Cobb ignored Hoffman and called on State Representative Lorenzo Sierra (D-Avondale), who lavished praise on Crow for his work. When Sierra said to Crow that he only had one question for him, Cobb chimed in to say, “Thank God,” and chuckled to herself. At that point, a soft, inaudible exchange occurred between Cobb and an unknown male as Sierra continued to address Crow. It is unclear whether that exchange was related to Cobb’s next response; after Sierra finished asking Crow about what work ASU was doing with the state’s economic agencies, Cobb chimed in again to accuse legislators of grandstanding.

“Again, that’s off the subject. I really want to stick to the appropriations. We got a lot of people here to speak today, we can grandstand all we want to —” said Cobb.

Hoffman interrupted Cobb to call a point of order.

“This is not grandstanding from Sierra or myself. These are things that will impact how we vote on funding for this man’s school,” insisted Hoffman.

Cobb seemed to agree.

“And what we’re talking about is the funding right here, okay…” said Cobb.

“Correct. And he’s standing in front of us and we have material questions for Arizona State,” responded Hoffman.

Cobb disagreed. She insisted that she determined neither Sierra or Hoffman’s questions were relevant to the task at hand, but refused to elaborate why. Hoffman insinuated that there was no point to the committee’s presence, if what Cobb said was true. 

“So this is just a dog and pony show?” asked Hoffman.

“No, this is to let us know what their initiatives are this year. That’s what they’re here to do, is to let us know what their education initiatives are coming forward to this year,” said Cobb.

When Hoffman attempted to insist that Crow should answer to “substantive questions, like issues of racism on campus,” Cobb threatened him with removal from the committee if he didn’t stand down.

It appeared that Cobb’s refusal to allow any substantive questions caused the remainder of the committee to dare not pose any questions of their own. Several questions from State Representative John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) were permitted prior to Cobb shutting down the subject: Kavanagh asked about foreign enrollment and online learning trends.

In a statement to AZ Free News, Hoffman expressed disappointment that Crow didn’t step up and answer for the controversies plaguing ASU.

“Michael Crow’s refusal to answer for the extremely concerning allegations of institutionalized racism, viewpoint discrimination by professors, and rampant wokeism at Arizona State University during yesterday’s House Appropriations Committee is yet another glaring example of his utter disdain for any level of transparency, oversight and accountability,” stated Hoffman. “Under his watch, racism and wokeism by professors and staff has led to an increase in high profile incidents of discrimination on campus, yet when questioned during his testimony in front of the state’s top appropriators he chose to hide behind Ms. Cobb, the committee chairwoman.  Mr. Crow’s appalling behavior has given legislators merely one more in a long line of reasons to oppose any new funding for his university.”

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