Arizona League Of Cities And Towns’ Lobbyist Fights For Right To Ban Gas Stoves

Arizona League Of Cities And Towns’ Lobbyist Fights For Right To Ban Gas Stoves

By Daniel Stefanski |

Republicans in the Arizona Legislature are taking action to protect their constituents from the environmental activism of the Biden Administration’s sweeping national agenda, and one House panel may have uncovered some information given during a hearing that supports the motivations for pursuing this legislation.

On Monday, the Arizona House Health and Human Services Committee considered a strike everything amendment to SB 1278. The amendment would forbid “municipalities and counties from prohibiting or imposing fines that restrict the manufacturing, selling or ownership of an appliance that uses the services of a utility provider.” The sponsor of the amendment, and chairman of the committee, Representative Steve Montenegro, explained that he was willing to take this action to “protect the ability for citizens to have such a simple use at a price they can afford” – when it comes to gas versus electric appliances. He opined that many families would not be able to afford the newer electric alternatives if gas options became extinct.

During Monday’s hearing, a representative from the Arizona League of Cities and Towns testified in opposition to the amendment, saying that “several cities expressed concerns about their participation in federal programs” (should this proposal be enacted into law). This comment sparked Chairman Montenegro to ask if these cities and towns were in support of banning gas appliances. The League’s representative responded that some cities have already implemented certain standards that they have to abide by – thus the reason for the opposition to the legislation. The representative later clarified that these standards primarily applied to water conservation programs, but he stated the position of these jurisdictions was that “they want to be able to require that those appliances can be energy or water efficient.” He also admitted that there were some cities and towns that would like to prioritize energy or water efficient appliances over gas appliances.

The Arizona efforts follow a months-long saga over reports that the Biden Administration is seeking to ban gas stoves. On January 17, 2023, The U.S. House Energy and Commerce (ENC) Committee wrote, “President Biden wants to control every aspect of our lives – from what kind of cars we can drive, how we can heat our homes, and now how we’re allowed to cook food for our families. Last week, it was reported that the Biden administration is looking to ban gas stoves from American homes across the country.”

This statement from the powerful Congressional committee followed a letter to the president, sent by Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers and dozens of her colleagues on January 13, calling on the Biden Administration to “cease all efforts at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and any other federal agency to ban natural gas stoves and other home appliances reliant on natural gas, and to affirm the importance of natural gas as an affordable and reliable energy and heat source for American homes, from our homes to our furnaces.” The letter detailed how, “according to recent news reports, a CPSC Commissioner has called for banning or restricting the use of natural gas stoves by Americans in their homes.”

In a January 13 letter from McMorris Rodgers to CPSC Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric, she noted that “the Energy Information Agency estimates that 35% of homes in the United States –

more than 40 million Americans – use a natural gas stove.” And “alternatives to natural gas stoves, such as electrical or induction stoves, face safety and economic challenges. In a study of home cooking fires, the National Fire Protection Association found that ‘although 60 percent of households cook with electricity, four out of five ranges or cooktops involved in reported cooking fires were powered by electricity.’ The report also indicated that ‘the civilian fire injury rate per million households was 4.8 times higher with electric ranges than in households using gas ranges.’” The ENC Chair argued that “if the CPSC would move forward to ban natural gas stoves, or other home goods reliant upon such fuel, it would increase the dangers facing families who depend on natural gas and can’t afford to replace their home appliances.”

Representative Matt Gress, in explaining his vote to clear the amended bill from committee, said that he “finds it fascinating that opponents of this measure have clearly articulated what (he sees) as a troubling trend across this country where cities, towns, and states are using health and safety concerns as a facade for implementing a radical, Green New Deal agenda.”

House Majority Leader Leo Biasiucci endorsed the efforts to protect Arizonans from environmental activism, telling AZ Free News, “The fact that certain liberal states, like California, are telling people what kind of utilities they can or can’t use is exactly why people are flocking to Republican run states like Arizona. We live in a free market where the consumer, not the government, should decide what they want or don’t want to consume. I’m proud to see the Republican Arizona Legislature pass these types of bills to protect our state from these woke policies.”

Senator Janae Shamp, whose bill was used for the strike everything amendment, also commented to AZ Free News about the recent action in the House, saying, “I welcome the amendment from Representative Montenegro and look forward to passing common sense protections that ensure the rights and freedoms of Arizonans. It is ridiculous, but no longer surprising, that these sorts of bills need to be passed to counter and block a radical and increasingly ludicrous left-wing national agenda. Liberals, whose devotion to the church of climate change trumps any pretense of helping people, do not care about the high costs that their proposals would pass along to lower income and working families. That is why they are willing to trade thousands of dollars in additional expenses for each Arizona family, in exchange for negligible potential benefits.”

The amended bill was approved by Montenegro’s committee with a party-line 5-4 vote. It now awaits further action by the Arizona House of Representatives.

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

Republicans Leading Historic Effort To Raise Teachers’ Salaries

Republicans Leading Historic Effort To Raise Teachers’ Salaries

By Daniel Stefanski |

Republicans are leading a historic effort to raise teachers’ salaries, while most Democrats are resisting the current approach in the Arizona State Legislature.

On Monday, the Arizona House moved HB 2800, sponsored by freshman Representative Matt Gress, closer to a final vote in the chamber, amending it in the Committee of the Whole session. This bill “mandates each school district and charter school increase the base salary of all eligible teachers as prescribed.” It also “creates the Pay Teachers First Fund and appropriates a total of $1,100,000,000 in FYs 2024 and 2025 to the Fund for required teacher salary increases.”

According to figures provided by House Republicans, HB 2800 would give Arizona teachers the fourth highest ($50,554) starting salaries in the nation, compared to a current ranking of 27th ($40,554).

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne previously announced his strong support of this bill and appeared at a press conference at the state capitol last week with Gress and other lawmakers to tout the legislation’s movement through the House.

When asked by AZ Free News about why he supported HB 2800, Superintendent Horne replied: “I support HB 2800 because no school is better than the quality of the teachers in the classroom. Our surrounding states pay more so we lose good teachers to them, and we can no longer afford to do that.”

Representative Gress thanked Superintendent Horne for his support of the bill, writing, “Thanks @RealTomHorne for your advocacy on #HB2800. Raising teacher pay is key to recruiting and retaining excellent talent. We will not be deterred by the unions who are actively pressuring House Democrats to kill a $10,000 pay raise for teachers.”

Gress submitted a floor amendment to his bill Monday, which passed. The changes, in part, “removes the stipulation that an eligible school may receive the prescribed per teacher base salary increases from the Pay Teachers First Fund only for the lesser of the number of eligible teachers that a) are employed by the school; or b) would be employed by the school if the school had 15 students per eligible teacher.” It also tweaked elements of the proposed school online transparency portal, school districts facilities master plans, and appropriations.

Though both Republicans and Democrats campaign on adequately funding public education in Arizona, Representative Gress’s proposal has met with fierce resistance from many Democrats and school & teacher organizations around the state. Five Democrats voted against the bill in the House Appropriations Committee, and representatives from the AZ School Administrators Association, AZ Education Association, Save Our Schools Arizona, and AZ School Boards Association have registered their opposition.

In the lead-up to Monday’s deliberations, the House Democrat Caucus ardently campaigned against HB 2800, calling it a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and “deeply flawed.”

Should the bill pass the House, it will soon head to the Arizona Senate for consideration and a potential vote in that chamber in the near future. If it clears the Senate, Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs will be forced to decide between giving teachers a $10,000 raise or denying them this much-needed increase.

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

Protection Of Pregnant Women Bill Sparks Interesting Exchange

Protection Of Pregnant Women Bill Sparks Interesting Exchange

By Daniel Stefanski |

An Arizona Republican’s legislative proposal to enhance protections for pregnant women is meeting resistance from Democrats – and created an interesting exchange in a Senate committee last week.

HB 2427, sponsored by Representative Matt Gress, deals with sentencing standards for domestic violence against pregnant victims. According to the purpose of the bill provided by the State Senate, HB 2427 “classifies, as aggravated assault punishable as a class 3 felony, assault against a pregnant victim if the person knows or has reason to know the victim is pregnant and circumstances exist that classify the offense as domestic violence.”

In January, this legislation passed the House Judiciary Committee with a 5-2 vote (with one Democrat voting ‘present’). It later passed the Arizona House at the end of February with a party-line 31-28 vote (one Democrat not voting). The Arizona House Democrats strongly warned about this bill before it was approved by that chamber, writing, “Bad bills heading to the House floor this morning: Rep. Matt Gress’ attempt to sneak extreme anti-abortion fetal personhood language into domestic violence and child support statutes. Don’t be fooled, HB2502 and HB2427 are about entrenching ideological language into law.”

After voting for the bill, Republican Representative Austin Smith tweeted: “You shouldn’t harm pregnant women. All Democrats voted NO on Matthew Gress’s HB2427.”

Last week, HB 2427 was considered in the Senate Judiciary Committee and led to a noteworthy exchange between a member and a witness. The chairman of this committee, Senator Anthony Kern, asked a witness if men could get pregnant – and received an answer in the affirmative. He then pressed the witness to give her definition of a “woman” but received pushback from the witness and his colleagues on the other side of the aisle for the relevance of that question. The witness finally answered that “there are people who identify as different genders who are capable of getting pregnant” and added that she was not going to “feed into the bigotry of that question.”

The Arizona Senate Republican Caucus wasted no time in responding to what they had heard in the committee, saying: “During testimony given at committee today on HB2427, there seems to be confusion over which gender can have a baby. HB2427 would increase penalties on those guilty of domestic violence against PREGNANT WOMEN. This is the difference between Republicans and Democrats.”

Senator Mitzi Epstein voted no on the bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee and explained that she was against the legislation because she had heard from people who help victims of domestic violence that this bill could “make some victims more hesitant to call for help because it makes the penalties worse for their partners.” She subsequently noted her desire to protect “people” who are vulnerable.

Representatives from the Secular Coalition for Arizona, Arizona Center for Women’s Advancement, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, AZ National Organization for Women, and the American Civil Liberties Union of AZ all registered in opposition to HB 2427 during the ongoing legislative process.

Senator Kern had the final word – both in committee and on Twitter, writing: ALERT: The democrat left says men ‘can’ get pregnant, and they ‘cannot’ define what a woman is. TRUTH: Men cannot get pregnant and real MEN protect real WOMEN!”

HB 2427 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 4-3 partisan vote, and is expected to be considered by the full chamber in the near future. It is assuredly dead on arrival with Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs should the Senate pass the legislation onto the Ninth Floor of the Arizona Executive Tower.

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

Arizona Lawmakers Join In On March For Life

Arizona Lawmakers Join In On March For Life

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona may no longer have a pro-life governor, but Republican legislators are working hard to champion family values at the State House and Senate – and they turned out en masse to this week’s Arizona Right to Life March in downtown Phoenix.

Senate President Warren Petersen attended the event and issued the following statement before the March: “Today we will MARCH FOR LIFE! One of the key reasons I am republican is because we believe in the sanctity of life.

The Arizona Senate Republican Caucus tweeted, “Every life is precious and deserving of protection. As pro-life advocates, we believe in upholding the dignity and value of human life from conception to natural death. At today’s #MarchForLife at the Capitol, Republican Senators and Representatives showed their support and assured Arizona residents that we will continue to fight for the most vulnerable.”

House Speaker Ben Toma also attended the March for Life, saying, “Honored to address today’s March for Life at the State Capitol. As the Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, I will ALWAYS fight protect the good laws that we have passed in this state to safeguard the sanctity of life!”

House Majority Leader Leo Biasiucci released a photo from the stage of the rally at Wesley Bolin Plaza, showing all the Arizonans who showed up to stand for life.

Representative David Marshall tweeted a picture of him on the March for Life sage, stating, “Thousands came out to support the unborn, Praise the Lord!”

Representative Matt Gress pledged his support to pro-life causes and laws at the rally, saying, “What an amazing day at the Capitol! We marched with thousands of Arizonans who believe life is a sacred human right. We will do all that we can to fervently protect that right.”

Senator Wendy Rogers tweeted a picture of her and her colleagues standing on the rally stage with the caption, “Honored to stand for #MarchForLife at the Arizona Capitol today.”

Senator Justine Wadsack shared photos of the March for Life rally, including one with her LD17 seatmate.

Representative John Gillette thanked all the individuals who attended the rally and March for Life: “We are grateful for the support and the thousands that turned out in support, and a big thanks to Majority Whip Martinez for getting the word out.”

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

TikTok Ban Passes Arizona House Committee

TikTok Ban Passes Arizona House Committee

By Corinne Murdock |

TikTok may soon be banned from Arizona’s government devices, according to a proposed bill that passed out of committee on Wednesday. The House Government Committee passed the legislation unanimously. 

State Rep. Matt Gress (R-LD04) introduced the ban through a strike-everything amendment rewriting HB2416. Gress coordinated with House Government Committee Chairman Tim Dunn (R-LD25) to craft the legislation. 

During the committee hearing, Gress relayed remarks from FBI Director Christopher Wray issued last year concerning national security concerns on government devices with TikTok. Wray warned that the Chinese government is capable of controlling recommendation algorithms to implement influence operations, or control software on devices with the option to possibly compromise personal devices. 

Gress reminded the committee that other bad actors rely on TikTok besides the Chinese government, such as the Mexican cartels. The ban would include specific carveouts for law enforcement addressing cartels relying on the app.

“The cartels use TikTok to recruit many of their contractors to wreak havoc in the United States,” said Gress.

In a Tuesday press release ahead of the committee approval of the legislation, Gress reminded Arizonans that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which controls TikTok, is capable of gathering data on American citizens’ internet activity through the app. 

“When I was sworn into office, I took an oath to defend my constituents and all Arizonans from enemies both foreign and domestic,” said Gress. “This legislation fulfills this promise as the security risks associated with the use of TikTok — an application owned and operated by the Chinese Communist Party with the capabilities of gathering crucial details about personal, private internet activity — can’t be ignored.”

The legislation would require the Arizona Department of Administration (ADOA) to remove TikTok from all information technology devices used for state business and public services within 30 days after enactment.

25 states have banned TikTok on all state devices, with three states banning the app from certain state devices. The states that have banned the app from all state devices are Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Florida, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia banned the app from certain state devices. 

Last November, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the House Homeland Security Committee that the parent company of TikTok, ByteDance, could monitor Americans through the app.

“There’s a number of concerns there as to what is actually happening and actually being done,” said Wray. “That’s probably something that would be better addressed in a closed, classified setting, and I could see what information we might be able to share that way, but that’s probably not much more than I could add to that, other than to say it is certainly something that’s on our radar, and we share your concerns.”

ByteDance also revealed to U.S. reporters last year that it had planned to use TikTok to monitor the physical location of specific Americans for surveillance purposes.

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