Arizona Legislature to Delay Proof of Citizenship for Voting Bill

Arizona Legislature to Delay Proof of Citizenship for Voting Bill

By Corinne Murdock |

Enactment of the proof of citizenship requirement for voter registration will be delayed until 2023, following an amendment approved by the Arizona House on Monday. The amendment was tacked on to SB1638, a bill to provide accessible voting options for the blind or visually impaired. Governor Doug Ducey signed the original bill, HB2492, into law two weeks ago. The State Senate now must approve the amendment. Without the amendment, the legislation would go in effect at the end of June — 90 days after Ducey signed the bill. 

Arizona Free Enterprise Club Deputy Director Greg Blackie explained to AZ Free News that the delay was necessary to avoid having the requirement enacted between the primary and general elections, which would allow some individuals to vote in the primary and not the general election several months later. 

Blackie added that the two lawsuits seeking a preliminary injunction of the law were another factor for delaying its enactment. Such lawsuits were expected — promised, even, by the DNC’s Russiagate hoax lawyer Marc Elias.

“It was always going to be tied up in court, and the delayed effective date might actually prevent a preliminary injunction allowing the provisions to protect our voter rolls from ineligible applicants and the required investigation by the attorney general’s office of the federal-only voter list to go into effect after this election, instead of being on hold for a trial and decision that could come much later,” said Blackie. 

The law requires that individuals provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote. It also requires election officials to cross-reference applications with government databases to confirm citizenship. The law most heavily impacts federal-only voters, since they don’t have to offer proof of citizenship when voting. According to the bill sponsor, State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), there were over 11,000 Arizona voters in the 2020 election who didn’t offer proof of citizenship when voting. That number was about 1,700 in 2018. 

The amendment was approved mostly along party lines. State Representative Amish Shah (D-Phoenix) joined House Republicans to pass the amendment. 

The remainder of Democrats voted against the amendment. They held that the amendment was a fix for a “flawed” and “unconstitutional” bill. 

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

Four Senate Republicans Join Dems To Kill Ban On Local Government Lobbyist Reliance

Four Senate Republicans Join Dems To Kill Ban On Local Government Lobbyist Reliance

By Corinne Murdock |

The Arizona Senate kicked off their Monday with a show of bipartisanship. Four Senate Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in voting against a bill to prohibit local governments from using lobbyists: State Senators Paul Boyer (R-Glendale), Tyler Pace (R-Mesa), T.J. Shope (R-Phoenix), and Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott). The bill from State Senator Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert), SB1198, failed 12-17. 

The four senators didn’t explain their “no” vote; neither did the Democrats. The bill would’ve prevented counties, cities, towns, school districts, and any other political subdivisions from contracting with or spending money on lobbying services, with exemptions for employees of that local government entity, cities or towns with less than 75,000 citizens, or counties with less than 250,000 citizens.

Peterson explained during the Senate Government Committee that the end of lobbying at the state level several years ago allowed for a “greater balance” between citizens and the state government. 

A spokesman for Apache County, Greenlee County, Scottsdale, and Prescott said that the bill was a good idea philosophically but would result in higher costs for the cities and counties. He said that the local governments would have to hire full-time employees to fulfill duties normally filled by lobbyists contracted at lower costs. 

The League of Arizona Cities and Towns also opposed the bill. Their spokesman explained that their lobbyists alleviated the burdens of keeping up with the legislature for elected officials.

The Goldwater Institute National Litigation Director Jon Riches said the bill prevented taxpayer dollars from being spent on services that further government interests while ignoring the taxpayer.

“Tax dollars should not go to support status quo special interests at the expense of taxpayers, small businesses, and citizens who might not be able to afford a team of well-funded lobbyists, including lobbyists who often advocate against those taxpayers’ interests,” said Riches.

Arizona Free Enterprise Club Vice President Aimee Yentes concurred with Riches’ statement, insisting that it’s elected officials’ duty to take on the responsibilities that they pass on to lobbyists. Yentes is also a member of the Gilbert Town Council.

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

Transgender Surgery Ban for Minors Passes After Republican Senator Flips Vote

Transgender Surgery Ban for Minors Passes After Republican Senator Flips Vote

By Corinne Murdock |

The Arizona Senate passed a bill banning gender reassignment surgeries for minors late last week after State Senator Tyler Pace (R-Mesa) switched his vote. Pace voted against the original version of the bill during the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. At the time, Pace argued that parents should have the right to make those medical decisions for their children.

Pace agreed to support the bill after he authored a strike-all amendment modifying it, which the committee approved. The amendment removed language prohibiting physicians or health care professionals from referring minors to health care professionals for gender transition procedures. It also removed language prohibiting government funds from going to entities, organizations, or individuals that provide gender transition procedures to minors. 

When the committee reconsidered the bill as rewritten under Pace’s amendment, Pace cited the international standards of care of World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) to justify his changed mind, noting that they don’t support transgender surgeries for minors. Pace clarified that physicians who implement gender reassignment surgeries on minors would be in violation of international best standards of care and subject to sanctions otherwise.

“There’s a certain threshold of irreversibility that can happen during a gender transition. We acknolwedge as a state, and so does other very friendly transgender countries like Finland, like I brought up earlier, as well as the international organizations that say: when you get to this degree of irreversibility, it should not be made as a minor,” said Pace.

There was disagreement in the committee between State Senators Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) and Raquel Terán (D-Phoenix); Terán wanted to hear more public testimony, but Barto said that they heard almost 3 hours on the same subject the previous week

The final Senate version of the bill removed the amendment stipulation that a minor must not have lived continuously in the gender role congruent with their gender identity for 12 months in order for the surgical prohibition to apply.

During the Senate floor vote, Democrats said the legislation opposed equality and attacked minors. State Senator Christine Marsh (D-Phoenix) said the bill was an “unnecessary,” masked effort to choose “buzz-words out of thin air” for the true objective of attacking children.

State Senator Rosanna Gabaldon (D-Sahuarita) claimed that transgender procedures merely prevented puberty. Gabaldon didn’t broach the subject of reported adverse effects of hormone blockers and therapies or gender reassignment surgeries.

With the amended language, the bill passed along party lines — no Republicans objected to it.

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