Rep. Jennifer Longdon “Clearing Out And Saying Goodbye”

Rep. Jennifer Longdon “Clearing Out And Saying Goodbye”

By Daniel Stefanski |

The Arizona Legislature has another vacancy.

Late last month, Representative Jennifer Longdon transmitted a letter to House Speaker Ben Toma, informing him that she would be resigning her seat on Friday, January 26.

In the letter, Longdon said, “I am grateful for the trust and support bestowed upon me by the constituents of Legislative District 5. Serving Arizona as a member of Arizona’s legislature has been a profound honor. I take pride in the collaborative efforts that transcended party lines, resulting in meaningful bipartisan accomplishments. I remain humbled by the trust placed in me by the Office of the Speaker in naming me as Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Abuse and Neglect of Vulnerable Adults. I am proud of the accomplishments we have been able to achieve thus far.”

On her last day, Longdon shared a picture of her on the House floor, writing, “Clearing out and saying goodbye. I’ll leave a piece of my heart (and hope) here. Thank you all!”

Governor Katie Hobbs made sure to recognize Longdon’s exit from the Legislature, stating, “I’m sending my best wishes to Representative Longdon as she moves to her next chapter. Her dedication to fighting for the people of Arizona is an inspiration. I know she’ll bring that same passion & dedication to her next role. Good luck, Jennifer Longdon!”

Arizona House Democratic Leaders also released a statement to mark Longdon’s service and resignation. They said, “Representative Longdon has been one of Arizona’s most effective and compassionate leaders, both inside and outside the Legislature. On the issues of gun violence prevention and advocating for the rights of those living with disabilities, there is no stronger voice. On behalf of our caucus and the constituents she has served so well, we are grateful for her work and the lives she has impacted. We will miss her presence but we also know that her work will continue and that great things lie ahead.”

Longdon served long enough this session to see her bill HB 2595 receive approval from the House Government Committee. This bill would “authorize a memorial in Wesley Bolin Plaza dedicated to investigative reporter Don Bolles, who was murdered in 1976.”

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will now be tasked with filling the legislative vacancy in the near future.

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

House Democrats: Schools Don’t Need More Curriculum Transparency, Kids Should Transfer

House Democrats: Schools Don’t Need More Curriculum Transparency, Kids Should Transfer

By Corinne Murdock |

State Representatives Judy Schwiebert (D-Phoenix) and Jennifer Longdon (D-Phoenix) said during Monday’s House Appropriations Committee that schools don’t need curriculum transparency offered by SB1211, and that parents should switch schools instead.

In an exchange with Goldwater Institute Director of Education Policy Matt Beienburg, Schwiebert insisted that parents should just use school choice if they disliked lack of curriculum transparency. 

“Arizona is a school choice state, correct?” asked Schwiebert. “Parents could choose to go to another school. That could be their recourse, correct?”

Beienburg said Schwiebert made a valid point that further strengthened his argument.

“That’s a great point and illustrates part of the problem,” responded Beienburg. “A parent shouldn’t have to have their child in a school, find material that is clearly not academically appropriate, and now be faced with a decision of grumbling to a school board who may or may not be sympathetic to them, or take their kid out of school, away from their friends and their established environment.”

When she voted against the bill, Schwiebert said that parents already have the opportunity to engage with teachers. She insinuated that the blame lay with parents for not doing more, claiming that many teachers sit without any visitors at events like parent-teacher conferences and meet-the-teacher nights. 

Longdon seconded Schwiebert’s argument, telling parents and legislators to utilize the school choice they championed before claiming that teachers have the “best interest” of their students at heart. She insisted the bill would stymie teachers’ improvisation efforts in class.

“So, I’ve heard a couple of things here. First off, when it was mentioned with this bill there was school choice, there was pushback against that. Although, when it’s been mentioned on other bills from folks who share my particular philosophy, we’re reminded we have school choice. So, I’ll put that out there. If you’re unhappy with the curriculum, school choice exists here in Arizona,” said Longdon. 

Longdon also contended with Beienburg’s citation of the 1619 Project used in schools without parents’ knowledge, reminding Chairwoman Regina Cobb (R-Kingman) that the committee agreed not to discuss critical race theory (CRT) during the hearing at all. 

Schwiebert’s recent stances on curriculum content may explain her stance against further transparency laws. Early last month, Schwiebert voted against two separate bills to ban divisive and adult content from K-12 curriculum: HB2112 concerning CRT and HB2495 concerning sexually explicit material. 

Schwiebert argued that CRT imparted on children lessons of honesty, integrity, and freedom to pursue their dreams.

“When we teach history, it’s not about assigning guilt or blame. It’s about teaching young people to think deeply and critically themselves so we don’t repeat the same mistakes,” said Schwiebert.

Other Democrats said that they supported curriculum transparency but disagreed with the bill’s approach. However, State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) challenged their claims, arguing that their description of transparency efforts as “meddling” proved their disingenuity. Hoffman also dispelled certain rumors presented by bill opponents, such as requiring teachers to photocopy documents. He noted that educators couldn’t be trusted on their own, citing his struggle as a school board member to get transparency from his district — in one case, he had to wait over 10 months for a contract.

“The bill is very clear. It requires you adding what those resources are to a list so that parents can be informed and so that parents have the ability to know what’s going on in their classrooms,” said Hoffman. “This system is not set up for parents to be informed or empowered beyond the cursory information that they are allowed to have. This bill empowers parents.”

State Representative Kelli Butler (D-Phoenix) claimed that curriculum transparency already exists, and characterized the bill as an “attack” on teachers. 

“We need to stop tying the hands of our wonderful, dedicated classroom teachers,” said Butler.

State Senator Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) sponsored the bill; it passed out of the Senate along party lines several weeks ago, 16-13.

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

Dem Bill Would Require All Guns In Home To Be Locked Unless Carried Or Within Reach

Dem Bill Would Require All Guns In Home To Be Locked Unless Carried Or Within Reach

Six Arizona Democrats have introduced a bill that would amend the state’s criminal statutes by imposing a minimum $1,000 civil penalty on lawful gunowners who do not lock up their gun, carry the firearm on their body, or have it within “such close proximity” that it can be readily retrieved as if on one’s person while inside their home.

HB2582 would create Arizona Revised Statute 13-3123, entitled Misconduct Involving Storage of Firearms or Ammunition. It calls for a civil fine of at least $1,000 for each violation by a person in a residence they control for not having a firearm “in a securely locked box” or equipped with “a device that renders the firearm inoperable without a key or combination.”

The only exception would be if the person carries the firearm on his or her person inside the residence or has the gun “within such close proximity to his person that the person can readily retrieve and use the firearm as if it was carried on his person.”

The same lock it up, disable it, carry it, or have it readily retrievable mandate would apply to all sizes of firearms, including hunting rifles. It also applies to all ammunition, according to the bill sponsored by House Assistant Minority Leader Jennifer Longdon, along with Reps. Randall Friese, Daniel Hernandez Jr., Diego Rodriguez, Athena Salman, and Lorenzo Sierra.

There is no exemption in HB2582 for homes without children, for home-based businesses, or other situations where there would be no undue risk to others from placing one’s loaded but unlocked firearm in one room of a residence while the person is in another room.

The sponsors apparently do not consider it misconduct under their bill to have one’s gun unlocked in a garage or on a deck. The bill also does not address guests who bring an unlocked firearm or ammunition into someone else’s residence.

In 2016, it was estimated that Arizonans own nearly 6.9 million guns. That estimate is believed to have hit 7 million in 2020 based on gun industry sale reports.