Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed HB 2906 on Friday, banning government agencies from requiring critical race theory, known as CRT. The budget bill he signed last week, HB 2898, banned critical race theory in schools. Ducey also signed 22 other bills, including one restricting sex education in schools, HB 2035. He has until Monday to sign or veto 11 remaining bills.
“I am not going to waste public dollars on lessons that imply the superiority of any race and hinder free speech,” Ducey declared. The law prohibits the state, cities and counties from requiring employees to participate in orientation, training or therapy that suggests an employee is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Similarly, HB 2898 bans schools from teaching that any race, ethnic group or gender is better than others, or that anyone should be discriminated against on the basis of these characteristics.
Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), who spearheaded HB 2906, expressed his support for the new law, “Arizona stands with Martin Luther King Jr.’s proclamation that people should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, and I’m grateful for the support of Governor Ducey and my colleagues in passing this important legislation.”
The bill passed the Arizona legislature largely along party lines, 31-25 in the House and 16-12 in the Senate.
State Sen. Martin Quezada (D-Glendale) defended CRT. According to Fox 10, he said, “These are uncomfortable conversations. They aren’t supposed to make you feel good. That’s the point of these conversations.”
Florida, Idaho, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Iowa, Arkansas and New Hampshire already banned CRT. At least 26 states started taking steps to ban it. A May survey by Competitive Edge Research found that an overwhelming 74% of respondents oppose schools teaching that “White people are inherently privileged, while Black and other people of color are inherently oppressed and victimized.” Almost as many, 69%, oppose teaching “students that America was founded on racism and remains structurally racist today, and that racism is the cause of all differences in outcomes and achievement between racial groups.”
Former President Donald Trump criticized Ducey for initially vetoing the CRT bill last month. “Incredible to see that RINO Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona just vetoed a bill that would have outlawed Critical Race Theory training for State employees, and another that would have banned the mailing of ballots to citizens who never requested them,” Trump said in his statement. Ducey vetoed the bill along with 21 other bills as a protest statement against the legislature failing to send him a timely budget. In response, the Arizona Senate overrode one of his vetoes, on a merely procedural bill, to make a statement back. After the legislature finally sent him a budget, he signed some of the bills he’d vetoed.
Ducey vetoed an earlier version of the sex education bill, stating that it was overly broad, vague and could put children at risk by limiting information on sexual abuse. The new version bans sex education before fifth grade, gives parents an opportunity to participate in the process of choosing the materials, and requires parental approval of any education related to sex outside of the standard sex education. Ducey said in a statement, “This is a no-brainer piece of legislation that protects our children from learning materials that aren’t suited for them.”
Ducey also signed SB 1783, exempting small businesses from a 3.5% income tax surcharge voters approved in November, known as Proposition 208. Another bill that he signed puts limits on the factors hospitals can consider when rationing healthcare during a pandemic. It prohibits medical personnel from considering quality of life or life expectancy, which protects the disabled and elderly.
– – –
Rachel Alexander is a reporter at the Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.