Justice Bolick Swears-In Senator Bolick

Justice Bolick Swears-In Senator Bolick

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona’s newest state senator is ready for work.

This past Friday, Shawnna Bolick was sworn into office at the state senate. Bolick received the oath of office from her husband, Arizona State Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick.

After being installed as a state legislator, Bolick tweeted, “What a warm welcome to the State Senate! Thank you to our LD2 GOP PCs and my family who have made it possible to return to the Legislature to represent we the people. As many of my friends and supporters know, returning to politics was not on my dance card. On Thursday evening we returned from a very short trip to Prague, and I am slowly putting jet lag behind me. Thank you for all of the texts, emails, DMs, and phone calls. I am still responding to your thoughtful congratulatory notes and setting up meetings to get to work for Arizona!”

Bolick was also joined by two sitting senators for her swearing-in ceremony: Senate Pro Tempore T.J. Shope and Majority Whip Sine Kerr. Shope tweeted, “It was an honor to have Majority Whip Sine Kerr join me as Senator Shawnna Bolick was sworn into office by her husband, Justice Clint Block! Senator Bolick will undoubtedly serve the people of LD2 with distinction and will be a wonderful additional to our Arizona Senate Republican Caucus!”

Before Justice Bolick administered the oath to his wife, he said, “Sweetheart, you never cease to amaze me, and I am enormously proud of you. As you know, we’re in different branches of government; when you’re a candidate, I can’t campaign for you; I can’t endorse you. In the Legislature, I can’t give you any advice, but there are three things I can do. First of all, is to commend you for being one of the most amazing public servants I’ve ever known, and I mean that in the literal and best sense of the word. The second is I can swear you in, and the third is, after I swear you in, I can kiss you – and I don’t normally do that when I swear people in.”

Republican Representative Justin Wilmeth reacted to the moment of Bolick’s swearing in, writing, “Such an amazing video: I know people don’t wanna admit we’re actual normal people with emotions, but we are. Very touching moment here between one of my favorite couples out there. Damn proud to have Shawnna Bolick as my new state senator.”

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

Maricopa County Board Of Supervisors Pick Bolick To Replace Kaiser

Maricopa County Board Of Supervisors Pick Bolick To Replace Kaiser

By Daniel Stefanski |

The Arizona Legislature has a new member.

On Wednesday, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors selected Shawnna Bolick to fill the vacancy in the state legislature, which was left by former Senator Steve Kaiser.

Bolick quickly responded to the news, tweeting, “Thank you to the elected precinct committeemen of Legislative District 2 for placing me on a list of three names sent to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors last month to fill Senator Steve Kaiser’s vacancy. This morning, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors selected me to fill the remainder of Senator Kaiser’s term, and I will do so honorably. Thank you to everyone who contacted the precinct committeemen and the Board of Supervisors on my behalf. I very much look forward to getting to work for the people in Arizona as I demonstrated in my previous tenure in the House. I will always be one of the strongest advocates for freedom and liberty.”

The selection of Bolick brings the Phoenix lawmaker back to the Legislature, where she served for two terms in the state house (2019-2023). She did not run for re-election during the 2022 cycle, opting instead to campaign in the Republican primary for Secretary of State.

Senate President Warren Petersen welcomed the newest member of his majority caucus, saying, “We believe Ms. Bolick will be an incredible asset to her constituents, Maricopa County, and the state as a whole. Her experience in working with lawmakers of all backgrounds for the common good of our citizens will be a valuable resource to our Caucus as we continue our mission to keep Arizona a free state from the heavy hand of excessive government control. We thank Senator Kaiser for his passion and efforts in tackling some of the toughest issues our state is facing, and we are certain Ms. Bolick will be able to pick up right where he left off.”

Legislative District 2 is expected to be very competitive in November 2024, and at least one Democrat is already eyeing the Senate seat in the next General Election. Representative Judy Schwiebert wasted little time in staking a claim to a run for the Arizona Senate, tweeting on June 16 that she would be throwing her name into the Democrat primary for this district.

The Senate Republican Caucus noted that Bolick would likely be sworn into office on Friday at 2:30pm. Bolick will be joining a Legislature in the middle of summer and still in session with outstanding items to resolve, including agency nominations and a Prop 400 deal with the Governor’s Office.

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

LD2 Precinct Committeemen Choose 3 Nominees To Replace Kaiser

LD2 Precinct Committeemen Choose 3 Nominees To Replace Kaiser

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona’s Legislature is about to have a new member within its ranks.

This week, Arizona Republican Party Chairman Jeff DeWit sent a letter to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, informing them that “on Monday, June 26, 2023, the elected Precinct Committeemen of Legislative District 2 convened a meeting to nominate three qualified electors to fill a vacancy in the legislature.”

DeWit revealed that the nominees were Shawnna Bolick, Josh Barnett, and Paul Carver.

Carver, the chairman of the Legislative District 2 Republicans, posted on his Facebook account that he is “honored to be among those chosen,” adding that “the meeting ran smooth and our LD did not disappoint with the Nominees. We are blessed in our LD to have so many amazing Patriots.”

Bolick, who served in the Arizona House before an unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State in 2022, thanked the precinct committeemen who nominated her as one of the individuals for this vacancy, writing, “I honorably served my constituents at the Capitol for four years. I know what it takes to win. I am the only candidate who can hit the ground running on day one. While I was at the Capitol, I led the charge in so many policy areas with many of my bills earning bipartisan support and becoming law making me the best nominee to effectively represent LD2. I look forward to meeting with the Board of Supervisors to discuss with them why I would be the best replacement to represent Legislative District 2.”

Before he earned a coveted nomination, Barnett, who had previously run for U.S. Congress in the 2022 Republican Primary, tweeted, “I’m the one that can win in 2024 and defeat Judy Schweibert. I have the knowledge, wherewithal, & grit to get things done for the People. Some have already lost to Schweibert in past races and some have no real understanding of our 51 Constitutions. I am asking for your vote tonight to let me show you what can happen when someone is actually standing up against corruption and unapologetically using the Constitution to its fullest extent to our advantage.”

The legislative vacancy came about due to the sudden resignation of former Senator Steve Kaiser, who announced his plans to step down from his seat earlier this month. Kaiser’s resignation was official on June 22, giving Republican precinct committeemen in Arizona Legislative District 2 the opportunity to handpick nominees for consideration by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

Legislative District 2 is expected to be very competitive in November 2024, and at least one Democrat is already eyeing the Senate seat in the next General Election. Representative Judy Schwiebert wasted little time in staking a claim to a run for the Arizona Senate, tweeting on June 16 that she would be throwing her name into the Democrat primary for this district.

The Arizona Republican Party’s Chairman thanked Carver and the precinct committeemen “for their professionalism, hard work, and dedication to ensuring a smooth, fair, and transparent process.” DeWit stated that “we anticipate a prompt appointment by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors so that the work of the Legislature can continue.”

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors’ role in selecting replacements for legislative vacancies has been a point of contention between them and some Republicans in the state legislature. Earlier this year, Senator J.D. Mesnard took to the floor of his chamber to address the Maricopa County Supervisors’ ongoing consideration of two legislative vacancies in both the House and the Senate. Mesnard’s frustrations boiled over on the Senate floor as he laid out his charge against the Supervisors’ alleged delay in filling the two vacancies for 19 (Senate vacancy) and 20 (House vacancy) days. He informed his colleagues that “the length of these vacancies is the longest, while we’ve been in session, in half a century – 56 years!” The East Valley lawmaker also said that 8.76 days is the historical average to fill the vacancy.

Senator Mesnard hinted that maybe his colleagues should take future action to change the statute to force the county board of supervisors to act with more urgency when filling vacancies during a legislative session.

The hint of legislation from Mesnard may be a reality in short order. On June 25, Arizona Senator Justine Wadsack tweeted, “I plan to introduce legislation that removes the power of the County BOS from choosing people to replace legislators who are Expelled or Resign. We must put the power in the hands of the PCs, who’s authority currently ends at presenting (3) candidates for the BOS to choose from.”

Freshman Representative Austin Smith suggested that this proposal could be presented to Arizona voters as a constitutional amendment – especially due to a Democrat governor who could be hostile to this idea from Republican legislators.

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

Five Tangible Pro-Liberty Goals for the 2023 Legislative Session

Five Tangible Pro-Liberty Goals for the 2023 Legislative Session

By Ben Beckhart |

In January, Arizona’s 55th legislature will convene with new challenges. Republicans managed to maintain slim majorities in both chambers, but what can we possibly accomplish with a Democratic Governor? It will certainly be more difficult to get pro-liberty legislation signed into law, but there are still tangible goals worth fighting for. We just have to be realistic and narrow down our agenda.

The Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona has published its top five priorities for the 2023 legislative session. These are pragmatic ideas to advance the principles of individual rights, limited government, and free markets, even under a Democratic Governor. Several of these goals were included in Senate President Warren Petersen’s plan to help Arizonans combat rising prices, which we fully support.

The first priority is the same for every legislative session: kill the bad bills. Moderate legislators will be looking for ways to compromise with our new Governor by promoting legislation that will expand the size and scope of government. Our primary focus will be to fight these bills in the legislature, preventing them from reaching the Governor’s desk.

Our second priority is one of Senate President Petersen’s priorities: to repeal the municipal rental taxes on residential properties. These are taxes imposed on residential rental properties by cities and towns. The cost of housing has skyrocketed in recent years, especially in Arizona. As many municipalities sit on massive surpluses, they should be looking for ways to cut taxes and alleviate the cost of housing. Sadly, few cities have done this. It’s time for the legislature to change Arizona statute by revoking the cities’ authority to tax residential rental properties. Rep. Shawnna Bolick ran a bill last session to repeal this tax, and it passed the House with bipartisan support. With support from multiple Democratic lawmakers, this is something Governor Hobbs might sign.

Priority number three is also one of Senate President Petersen’s priorities: eliminate the food tax. One of the reasons why cities are seeing record high revenues is because inflation forces people to spend more. This means more sales tax revenue. Food is a necessity and a tax on food is a regressive tax that especially hurts the middle and lower class who are already struggling with inflation. Some Republicans might object to a repeal of food sales taxes because sales taxes are less invasive than income or property taxes. While we agree a reduction to income or property taxes would be preferable, we should be looking to cut any and all taxes wherever there is a consensus for it. By amending statute to prohibit municipalities from taxing food, we would compel local governments to address the rising cost of living by cutting an unnecessary, regressive tax. We can try to pass this as a normal bill, but if the Governor vetoes it, we could also pass it as a referral that goes to the ballot for the voters to decide, bypassing the Governor’s pen. High inflation has decreased the appetite for taxes, as seen by the rejection of Proposition 310 and many failed bonds and overrides. If placed on the ballot, a repeal of the food tax would likely pass.

Our fourth priority is to prohibit the Governor, or any state agency, from shutting down private businesses under the guise of an emergency declaration. Last session, Governor Ducey signed Sen. Warren Petersen and Rep. Leo Biasiucci’s bill to ban cities and counties from shutting down private businesses. Now we must ensure that the state government cannot impose lockdowns. The Governor would surely veto this bill, but the legislature can instead pass a measure to put this on the ballot in 2024. Once again, this would allow the legislature to go around the Governor. It’s unclear if the voters would pass this measure, but with a leftist Governor, we must do all we can to reign in the powers of the executive branch. We cannot allow our private businesses to be shut down by petty tyrants.

Finally, priority number five is a criminal justice reform that would allow simple drug possession offenses to remain undesignated, allowing the court to designate the offense a misdemeanor upon completion of probation. This is not soft on crime because it would only apply to first-time, victimless drug possession charges, and the offense would still be designated a felony if the individual fails to complete probation. By giving people a chance to avoid a permanent felony, this would be a huge incentive for first-time drug offenders to complete probation and become productive, law-abiding citizens. The end result would be reduced recidivism and less taxpayer spending. This bill was sponsored by Rep. Neal Carter last session, and it passed the House unanimously before getting stuck in the Senate. With new committee chairs and bipartisan support, this reform has a real chance at passing.

This is not an exhaustive list, but these are the top five priorities of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona heading into 2023. This legislative session will look different, but there is always work to be done to advance liberty. We must remain vigilant as we fight to keep Arizona a free and prosperous state!

Ben Beckhart is the Vice-Chair for the Arizona chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus and the Secretary for the national Republican Liberty Caucus board.

Brophy Mandates Experimental COVID Vaccines, Masks

Brophy Mandates Experimental COVID Vaccines, Masks

By Corinne Murdock |

The private school Brophy College Preparatory (Brophy) announced Wednesday that it would mandate the experimental COVID-19 vaccine. Their take on the mandate mirrored President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal employees and contractors – if an individual isn’t fully vaccinated, they must adhere to masking restrictions, social distancing measures, and frequent testing.

In a letter to parents, Brophy Principal Bob Ryan explained that there wouldn’t be a hybrid learning option for students. Therefore, students needed to adjust accordingly to create a safe learning environment. According to Ryan, Brophy students and faculty may choose to not be vaccinated; however, they would have to be tested regularly and be prohibited from overnight retreats and school travels outside of the metro area.

“Over the last six months, it has become increasingly clear that the most effective way to contain the spread of the virus is to have a vaccinated community,” wrote Ryan. “Therefore, effective September 13, every student, teacher, and staff member will need to have proof of vaccination on file with the school or get tested for COVID regularly. Additionally, effective Monday, August 9, and for the foreseeable future, any student who wishes to participate in overnight retreats or any school-related travel outside of the Phoenix metro area will be required to have proof of vaccine on file.”

Brophy will resume classes next Thursday.

Earlier this summer, Governor Doug Ducey signed the bill prohibiting K-12 mask and vaccine mandates into law. Both of Ducey’s sons are Brophy graduates.

It is unclear whether private schools like Brophy are exempt from the law. The COVID-19 vaccine is still under emergency use authorization (EUA) only from the FDA.

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