Katie Hobbs vetoes GOP bills criminalizing homelessness, ranked-choice voting

The governor has now rejected 106 bills in her first year

By: - June 5, 2023 4:08 pm

Gov. Katie Hobbs has now vetoed 106 bills in 2023. In this picture, she is vetoing a Republican-backed "skinny budget" proposal on Feb. 16, 2023. Photo courtesy Arizona Governor's Office

Gov. Katie Hobbs has officially racked up more than 100 vetoes, rejecting Republican-backed bills on Monday that criminalized homelessness and banned ranked-choice voting. 

With seven measures added to her tally on Monday, 106 bills have now met their end by Hobbs’ veto stamp, far surpassing the rejection rates of her predecessors. Former Gov. Janet Napolitano last held the record, at 58 vetoes. 

Senate Bill 1413 would have forced city officials to tear down homeless encampments and charge people living in them with criminal trespassing — a misdemeanor charge that, depending on the severity, can be punished with jail time and fines. Sen. Justine Wadsack, R-Tucson, justified the measure by saying unhoused people shouldn’t be treated compassionately because they aren’t “our neighbors” and don’t pay taxes. 


In an emailed statement denouncing Hobbs’ veto, Wadsack doubled down, accusing homeless Arizonans of being the source of rampant crime and calling Hobbs’ decision an “irresponsible” move against public safety. 

In her veto letter, Hobbs criticized the bill for ignoring the core causes of homelessness and failing to advocate for any real solutions besides punishment. 

“People become and remain unsheltered for a variety of reasons,” she wrote. “This legislation addresses none of those root causes, offers no pathways to assistance and effectively criminalizes experiencing homelessness. I invite you to join me in pursuing more productive solutions that respect human and constitutional rights.” 

Also vetoed was Senate Bill 1265, which would have outlawed the use of ranked-choice voting throughout Arizona, despite the fact that it currently doesn’t exist anywhere in the state. 

The bill was a preemptive prohibition from a cadre of Republican lawmakers who are vehemently opposed to the voting style’s possible placement on the 2024 ballot. An identical version of the bill was already vetoed in April

In another rejection that stung Republican lawmakers, Hobbs vetoed Senate Bill 1696, which sought to make it a class 5 felony to film sexually explicit acts on government-owned property, including schools. The bill was drafted in response to a single incident that occurred in Mohave County, in which two married teachers filmed pornographic content in a classroom for an OnlyFans account. 

While the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jake Hoffman, R-Queen Creek, framed it as a protection of students, the proposal went far beyond the penalties for filming sexually explicit acts on school property. It also would have added the referral of students to sexually explicit materials, such as books, to the same violations for which a teacher or librarian could be punished with 2 years in prison

Hoffman, who leads the far-right Arizona Freedom Caucus, called Hobbs’ veto a result of her “far-left extremism” and said her failure to criminalize the “despicable use of government resources” demonstrated by the Mohave County teachers was shameful. 

Hobbs, however, dismissed the bill for its potential to lead teachers and librarians to pull books from school shelves. 

“While I agree that not all content is appropriate for minors, this bill is a poor way to address those concerns,” she wrote. “The sponsor has stated that this bill was aimed at preventing a specific action from reoccurring, while in reality it is written in such a vague manner that it serves as little more than a thinly veiled effort to ban books.”

Four more bills were vetoed by Hobbs on Monday, including: 

Three bills succeeded in earning Hobbs’ approval and were signed into law. Among them were Senate Bill 1221, which allows hospitals to seek the help of criminal justice agencies like the court or detention officials to identify incapacitated or deceased patients, and Senate Bill 1401, which allows certified acupuncturists to also treat animals. 

Also approved was Senate Bill 1711, that requires ambulances transporting patients between facilities to have at least one EMT on board, along with a licensed physician or nurse and another staff member who is either an EMT or emergency responder.


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Gloria Rebecca Gomez
Gloria Rebecca Gomez

Gloria Gomez joined the Arizona Mirror in August 2022. She graduated in 2022 with bachelor's degrees in journalism and political science, with a Spanish minor.