Hoffman Bill Aims To Identify Companies That Facilitate or Promote Abortions

Hoffman Bill Aims To Identify Companies That Facilitate or Promote Abortions

By Daniel Stefanski |

For a number of years, the Grand Canyon State has been home to some of the most pro-life and pro-family lawmakers, officials, and advocates in the nation, giving Arizona a superior reputation for protecting life and parental rights. Even with a drastic change in values from the state’s new governor, some legislators are still seeking to augment their state’s pro-life standing.

Senator Jake Hoffman introduced SB 1146, which “requires the State Board of Investment to identify U.S. companies that donate to or invest in organizations that promote, facilitate or advocate for abortions for minors or for the inclusion of, or the referral of students to, sexually explicit material in grades K-12,” according to the purpose of the bill provided by the Arizona Senate. Hoffman’s legislation would require “the State Treasurer to divest from the identified companies.”

SB 1146 has eleven co-sponsors: two in the Senate (Senators Anthony Kern and Justine Wadsack), and nine in the House (Representatives Joseph Chaplik, Justin Heap, Rachel Jones, Alex Kolodin, Cory McGarr, Barbara Parker, Jacqueline Parker, Beverly Pingerelli, and Austin Smith). Earlier this month, it passed out of the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by J.D. Mesnard, with a party-line 4-3 vote. Senators Mesnard, Steve Kaiser (Vice Chairman), Janae Shamp, and David Gowan voted to approve the bill; while Senators Lela Alston, Brian Fernandez and Mitzi Epstein voted to oppose.

In an exclusive interview with AZ Free News on why he sponsored this bill, Senator Jake Hoffman said, “There is no excuse for Arizona taxpayer resources being used to prop up woke corporate oligarchs that are funneling their profits into far-left extremists groups working to undermine our state’s pro-life and pro-family policies. We are in a war for the minds and souls of our future generations, and we should not sit idly by while the ruling class ‘elites’ force feed them a radical agenda that is antithetical to the values of the majority of Arizonans.”

Democrat Senator Mitzi Epstein strongly disagrees with this legislation, saying, “It would violate people’s First Amendments; their various rights to have an abortion, which is legal in Arizona or their various rights to learn about things from places that provide those materials. The Senate Democrat Caucus also warned about this bill before the Finance Committee took it under consideration this week, tweeting, “SB 1146 interjects politics into our money management where there is currently no problem. Further demonizing age-appropriate sex education and abortion care is not popular policy. We cannot afford more Republicans games.”

Should this bill pass both chambers of the Arizona Legislature, it would likely find an open door on the Ninth Floor for an expedient veto from Governor Hobbs, who made abortion rights one of the themes of her State of the State address to the Legislature in January.

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

Parental Right To Know Teacher Training Bill Passes Out of House Committee

Parental Right To Know Teacher Training Bill Passes Out of House Committee

By Daniel Stefanski |

Over the past three years, many parents in a number of school districts across the nation have demanded more transparency and involvement with their children’s education. The Republican-led Arizona Legislature has been working on solutions, and Members have introduced new bills this session to give parents the access and information that they have been requesting.

Representative Justin Heap has introduced one of those bills, HB 2786, which deals with requirements for parental notification for teacher training. The bill “mandates a school district governing board develop parental notification and access procedures if the school district is involved with a training for teachers or administrators,” according to the bill overview provided by the Arizona House of Representatives. If passed by the Legislature and signed into law, the bill would “require a school governing board to notify parents of these trainings and give parents access to any printed or digital materials used for the training.” It also stipulates that the governing boards adopt “a policy to provide parents the information contained in its parental involvement policy in an electronic format.”

In an exclusive interview with AZ Free News on why he introduced this legislation, Representative Heap stated, “Transparency will have the added benefit of bringing school district and school boards back into alignment with the values of the parents of the students they serve. The knowledge that their training materials must be made public will discourage school districts from implementing policies that are hateful to the parents of students in their districts. If any school district official, any school board member, principal, or teacher believes that what is going on in their schools should be hidden from the parents in their district, then they have no business being involved in education.”

The legislation currently has ten co-sponsors: Representatives Neal Carter, Lupe Diaz, Liz Harris, Rachel Jones, Teresa Martinez, Cory McGarr, Barbara Parker, Jacqueline Parker, Michele Peña, and Beverly Pingerelli.

On Tuesday, February 14, HB 2786 cleared the House Education Committee with a 6-4 party-line vote. Republican Representatives David Cook, Liz Harris, Lupe Diaz, Michele Peña, David Marshall, Sr (Vice Chairman), and Beverly Pingerelli (Chairman) voted in favor; while Democrat Representatives Jennifer Pawlik, Laura Terech, Judy Schwiebert, and Nancy Gutierrez voted against passage.

Representative Pingerelli gave the following statement to AZ Free News on why she decided to hold a hearing on this bill in her committee: “Parents should have information readily available about what teachers are learning as part of their professional development programs. Are they receiving instruction about better ways to teach reading, math, or science? Or, as was pointed out during the February 14 hearing and testimony, are the topics covered controversial, ideological or morally objectionable to parents? As I’ve always stated, the focus in K-12 education should be academics. Since it is a reasonable assumption that the training teachers receive is translated into classroom instruction, parents should have the right to be informed. That’s why I decided to hear House Bill 2786 in my committee.”

HB 2786 generated much opposition leading up to and during the hearing in the Education Committee, starting with the Arizona House Democrats. They posted that Representative Heap’s bill demands that “parents get to review every type of training teacher gets (including copyrighted materials),” adding that “he was upset when he learned teachers can get training about equity, inclusion and cultural sensitivity. The Arizona Education Association tweeted that “teachers need to focus on students’ learning – not spend all their time trying to satisfy the demands of people who see our classrooms as a way to score political points.”

Representative Heap disagrees with these analyses of the bill, saying, “I believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant. My bill does not ban this teacher training, or any training, which a school district wishes to implement. It simply requires that if a school district requires, endorses, recommends, funds, or facilitates teacher training programs then they must make all those materials used (Digital or Physical) in that training available for parents to review.”

Due to the partisan breakdown of HB 2786s support and opposition in the early stages at the Arizona Legislature, it is highly likely that Democrat Katie Hobbs would veto this bill should it pass through both chambers and reach the Ninth Floor later this session.

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

Hobbs Tells FOX News She Wants End of ESA Expansion

Hobbs Tells FOX News She Wants End of ESA Expansion

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs has made no secret of her desire to dismantle the state’s school choice benefits for tens of thousands of children and their families, and this weekend, she was challenged on her desires by Fox News Sunday host, Shannon Bream, during an exclusive interview leading up to the Super Bowl in Glendale.

During the interview, Bream asked the governor why all students shouldn’t have a chance to have the educational opportunities that she had growing up – a reference to Hobbs’ high school graduation from Seton Catholic Preparatory. Governor Hobbs appeared to embrace the rhetoric of school choice proponents as she searched for justification for her positions, responding that her parents “made that choice” and that they “sacrificed a lot” to give her the chance at a private education.

Hobbs went on to say that she wants every student in Arizona to have access to high-quality public education – access that she claimed would not happen under Arizona’s historic Educational Scholarship Account (ESA) program, which was passed last year by the Arizona Legislature. Bream followed up by asking the governor if students should not have a chance to go elsewhere if their school system was failing. Hobbs’ reply was that “the schools are failing because we are failing to invest in them.”

But Governor Hobbs’ rampant claims of the ESA program bankrupting and failing Arizona schools were met with facts from several individuals. Corey DeAngelis, one of the nation’s premier “evangelists” of school choice, tweeted thanks to Shannon Bream for citing his January Wall Street Journal article, showing that Arizona’s ESA program could actually save the state more than $100 million.

And Andrew Clark, Executive Director of Yes. Every Kid. Foundation, tweeted, “The average cost for a family to homeschool is year is about: $2k per kid. Micro-schools and pods are about $5k. Private schools average $10k, charters around $12k. Public schools clock in around $15k. But sure it’s a spending problem for public schools…let’s ignore the facts…”

Governor Hobbs’ answers on school choice quickly went viral after the recorded interview went live Sunday morning, and Arizona Republicans, who are at the front lines of protecting the landmark ESA program, wasted no time in making their thoughts known.

The Arizona Senate Republicans Twitter account posted: “.@GovernorHobbs response makes absolutely zero sense, other than reinforcing why expansion of ESA school choice is so desperately needed.”

Senator Justine Wadsack tweeted, “So #HypocriteHobbs attended PRIVATE school, and her parents made “sacrifices” to put her there. Even found themselves on food stamps! Had #ESA/#SchoolChoice existed back then, her parents would have been given $7,000 to help with the cost of Katie’s education.”

Representative Quang Nguyen stated, “So if your parents afforded you this great opportunity, shouldn’t you make it possible for other parents to give their children the same opportunity you received as a child? Asking for Arizonans.”

Representative Cory McGarr disagreed with Governor Hobbs’ characterizations of district school funding, saying: “Our government schools are failing because we are supposedly starving them of resources?? 73% increase in funding since 2016… Perhaps they are failing because they focus on woke sexualization, feelings and racism and have no accountability because of politicians like this.”

Representative Matt Gress underlined the foundation of the school choice argument, writing: “.@GovernorHobbs’ parents struggled to provide her with an education THEY thought best. It’s unfortunate she wants AZ families to choose between being on food stamps or sending their kids to the school they choose. Let’s help families. Give them a choice, not push them down.”

Representative Austin Smith said, “Booed at the Phoenix Open, health nominee failed in the senate committee and called out for her hypocrisy on school choice on national Sunday show. Bad weekend for Hobbs. Is there anyone who thinks she’s actually an effective leader?”

Representative Justin Heap tweeted: “@katiehobbs is committed to ending Az’s ESA program which allows thousands of Arizona children to receive the same private school education she received. Katie Hobbs definitely believes in pulling the ladder up behind her.”

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