Ducey Signs Bill Establishing Election Audit Committee But Stays Mum On Special Session Option

Ducey Signs Bill Establishing Election Audit Committee But Stays Mum On Special Session Option

By Terri Jo Neff |

A new committee tasked with reviewing Cyber Ninjas’ findings of the Senate’s ongoing audit of Maricopa County’s 2020 general election is one of the provisions signed into law last week when Gov. Doug Ducey put his signature on the Fiscal Year 2022 budget bills.

Formation of the Special Committee on the Election Audit was included by Senate President Karen Fann in an amendment to SB1819, one of the 11 budget bills. The committee will run through Jan. 1, 2022 and be made up of Democrats and Republicans who are members of the current Senate Government Committee.

The purpose of the committee, according to the new state law, is to recommend to the senate president “the appropriate legislative action based on the findings of the audit, including a call for a special session of the legislature to implement the special committee’s recommendations.”

The Fann amendment also provides leverage for pressuring Ducey to call a special session if it appears new election-related legislation is needed which cannot wait until next January’s regular session. Without an assured two-thirds vote margin in either chamber, the governor is the only option for calling lawmakers back into session to pass laws to take effect before the 2022 primary in August.

Ducey, however, has been reticent on the subject, leaving it to a spokesman to comment.

“We will wait and see what the committee recommends,” C.J. Karamargin said last month about the possibility of an election-related special session.

One reason a special session to address the election audit is so important to Republicans is that the majority of the election reform and election integrity bills introduced by GOP lawmakers during the regular session were either watered down or did not pass. And the main reason for that was the ongoing feud between Sens. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-LD23) and Kelly Townsend (R-LD16).

Ugenti-Rita chaired the influential Senate Committee on Government. She and Townsend butted heads throughout the session, often over the fact Ugenti-Rita refused to allow the committee to consider some of Townsend’s bills.

Then during the last week of the session, the women took turns voting against each other’s election bills, both of which contained reforms many Republican voters supported.

Senate Committee Passes Revised Sex Ed Parental Rights Bill

Senate Committee Passes Revised Sex Ed Parental Rights Bill

By B. Hamilton |

On Thursday, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, in a party line vote, approved HB 2035, legislation that will strengthen parental input in the Sex Education curriculum offered to their children. A previous version of the bill, SB 1456, passed this year, but was vetoed by Governor Doug Ducey.

According to Sen. Nancy Barto, sponsor of SB 1456, the issues brought forth in the governor’s veto formed the basis of the new version, sponsored by Rep. Gail Griffin. Griffin’s bill was turned into what is known as a “striker” or “strike-all-amendment” in order to attached the modified language of SB 1456.

HB 2305 “restricts sex education instruction for pupils in kindergarten through grade 4. Modifies requirements relating to sex education instruction, including curricula approval and parental permission and notification procedures.” In keeping with the governor’s recommendation, the specifies that age and grade appropriate classroom instruction on child assault awareness and abuse prevention is not prohibited.

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The bill does not prohibit or dictate any curriculum in grades 5-12; it “merely ensures that parents may opt their children into instruction on human sexuality,” according to supporters.

On April 20, 2021, the Governor issued an Executive Order related to sex education, which among other matters, requires a public review process to select sex education curricula, directs schools to make any approved sex education curricula available online and in-person and allows parents to review the materials before opting their child in to sex education courses, according to the legislative record.