Arizona Senate Plan to Address Water Concerns Would Scale Back Governor’s Proposed Arizona Water Authority

Concerns are growing in Arizona that a water shortage may be looming down the road. Gov. Doug Ducey proposed creating an Arizona Water Authority (AWA) earlier this year in his 2022 State of the State address, but now the Arizona Senate majority caucus is suggesting a simpler plan that would use the existing Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona (WIFA). 

Ducey’s plan to augment water resources, which he forged in partnership with Arizona Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) and Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa), would cost $1 billion and include integrating new technologies such as desalination, start large scale water augmentation projects, and encourage reuse and efficiency with current supplies.

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State Lawmaker Alleges House Speaker Bowers Is ‘Playing Games’ with Election Integrity as Key Bills Fall Short

State House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) considered sending armed Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers after two conservative legislators during remarks on the State House floor, despite State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) telling multiple members of House leadership and their staff that there would not be enough legislators present for a vote to hear election integrity bills.

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Gov. Ducey Suggests Reviving His ‘Red Flag’ Gun Control Bill, Arizona Citizens Defense League Responds with 53,000 Email Alerts

Politicians, including some Republicans, are calling for gun control after a recent spate of mass shootings, particularly last week’s involving a gunman who shot and killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas. Gov. Doug Ducey pushed for “red flag” gun control laws previously, including in 2019 after two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, and indicated this week he may renew that effort. The Arizona Citizens’ Defense League (AZCDL) immediately sent out 53,000 email alerts.

“Politicians like Ducey are dancing in the blood of victims as opposed to saving people’s lives,” AZCDL Communications Director Charles Heller told The Arizona Sun Times. “We need to stop the psychopaths who are doing this, by taking action like implementing FASTER, which trains teachers and staff at schools to arm themselves after proper training. Ducey’s statement is a profile in cowardice, he’s acting like politicians do when they are afraid of not getting votes.”

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Arizona Sens. Sinema, Kelly Pivotal Two Votes Preventing Confirmation of ‘Radical Left-Wing’ Gigi Sohn to FCC

Gigi Sohn has been nominated by President Joe Biden to serve on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), but not a single Republican in the Senate has said they will vote to approve her confirmation. If every Senate Democrat votes to confirm her, plus Vice President Kamala Harris as a tie-breaking vote, Sohn will be confirmed, but insiders say two pivotal Democratic senators have indicated they will vote no, Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly.

In an op-ed for The Register-Herald, former West Virginia legislator Mike Oliverio said Sohn has “radical left-wing viewpoints.” He cited her “record calling Fox News state-sponsored propaganda and questioning whether Sinclair Broadcasting should have their broadcast licenses revoked.”

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11 Substantial Election Integrity Bills Were Signed into Law Last Year in Arizona; So Far This Year, Only One

A couple of Republican legislators have been holding up election integrity bills from passing this year, but there was plenty of groundwork made last year. The Arizona Legislature pushed hard to get 11 of these bills passed in 2021, in large part due to concern there was fraud in the 2020 presidential election. So far this year, Gov. Doug Ducey has only signed one election integrity bill into law. 

Along with a list of last year’s successful bills provided to Republican Briefs, State Sen. Vince Leach (R-Tucson) said, “For those of you who think that our legislature did nothing for election security, here are the actual bills passed this [past] session. … The rest will have to wait until we have a larger majority.”

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Arizona Free Enterprise Club Labels Red4ED ‘One of the Most Expensive Failures in Arizona Political History’

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club (AFEC) analyzed the success of the Red4ED movement in Arizona since it launched a little over four years ago, and concluded that after spending over $30 million, the movement not only failed to accomplish anything, but failed to stop historic tax cuts. Red4Ed’s two initiatives and referendum were struck down by courts as “legally flawed,” resulting in AFEC labeling its efforts “the largest, most expensive failure in Arizona political history.” 

Arizona Educators United launched Red4Ed in 2018 ostensibly to increase teachers’ salaries and funding for K-12 education. People and teachers showed up all over, at the state capitol and at events and protests, wearing red shirts and carrying red signs. But AFEC said “the movement was quickly hijacked by the teachers’ unions and other out-of-state special interest groups.” It soon turned into “a singular quest to double the state income tax through a ballot initiative.”

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After Felony Conviction in for Casting Ballots in Arizona and New Hampshire in 2016, Man Obtained Arizona Ballot for 2020 Election

A man who was convicted of voting in Arizona and New Hampshire for the same election has continued voting in Arizona. Court documents show Sigmund Boganski, 77, voted in both states in the 2016 election, but according to the Maricopa County Recorder, he requested an early ballot for the 2020 election.

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Arizona Charter Schools Rank First in the Nation: Report

Arizona is frequently criticized for funding its schools less than most of the other states, usually tied for last with a handful of other states. But what doesn’t get covered as much is that it is ranked number one among the states for academic growth and charter schools.

Matthew Ladner, director of the Arizona Center for Educational Opportunity, a researcher with the Arizona Charter Schools Association, and former vice president of research for the Goldwater Institute, told The Arizona Sun Times, “If you had to choose between states with the most funding or states with the most academic growth, which one would you choose?”

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Kari Lake Outraises Democratic Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ in Gubernatorial Race During First Quarter of 2022

Democrats are mostly resigned to supporting Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs as their candidate for Arizona governor, despite the fact she admitted to participating in furthering systemic racism, by firing a black staffer which resulted in a $2.5 million dollar jury verdict. Yet despite the near consensus supporting Hobbs, her fundraising numbers were stagnant for the first quarter of 2022.

Hobbs triumphantly issued a press release after compiling her total fundraising numbers for 2021, nearly $3 million. But she hasn’t gained any momentum despite the party starting to coalesce around her; during the first quarter of 2022 she raised about $750,000, which is in line with the same rate she raised money last year. A Democratic insider told The Arizona Sun Times in January that the party was resigned to Hobbs getting the nomination, yet there was no bump to reflect this.

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Report: Yavapai County Has Unmonitored Ballot Drop Box Despite Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Stating Drop Boxes Violate Felony Law

State Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix) was driving through Skull Valley in Yavapai County, Arizona, two weeks ago when she noticed an unmonitored ballot drop box in the parking lot of the U.S. Postal Service. Unmonitored ballot drop boxes have become a big concern lately due to the new Dinesh D’Souza documentary 2,000 Mules, which traced GPS cell phone locations to show that around 2,000 people may have illegally transferred handfuls of ballots repeatedly from left-leaning nonprofits to these drop boxes in swing states including Arizona.

Bolick tweeted, “Why does the Skull Valley, AZ US Post Office have an unmanned drop box for mail-in ballots in its parking lot when it has a blue mailbox in front of the post office that can already receive mail-in ballots?” She told The Arizona Sun Times she has a call scheduled with the Yavapai County Recorder Leslie Hoffman to discuss them.

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National Border Patrol Council-Endorsed Arizona Candidate for U.S. Senate Jim Lamon Running Barrage of Gutsy Ads, Some Censored by Big Tech

U.S. Senate candidate Jim Lamon, who is running as a Republican for office in Arizona to defeat incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, is making waves with his provocative, bold TV campaign spots. The left-leaning big tech companies don’t like them, however, and so both Yahoo and Facebook have pushed back, with Yahoo actually censoring them. While broadcast TV is generally required by law to run political ads (FCC rules state that if a station allows state and local political candidates to run ads, they must accept them from all candidates), big tech is not. Yahoo refused to run an ad of his because it merely said “Let’s Go Brandon.” 

Stephen Puetz, one of Lamon’s campaign staffers, told The Arizona Sun Times the ads are making a difference in getting Lamon’s name known, since polls show his support is increasing. Lamon is running against Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich in the Republican primary, who has considerable name recognition, and another candidate, Blake Masters, is making significant ground due to funding from his boss, Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel. 

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2,000 Mules Revealed Alleged Massive Ballot Harvesting in Arizona, AG Brnovich Already Prosecuting

Conservative commentator and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza recently released a documentary, 2,000 Mules, which features the work of True the Vote tracking GPS cell phone locations from around the 2020 election period to track what they have named “mules,” people purportedly illegally transporting hundreds of thousands of ballots from left-leaning nonprofits and depositing them in unmonitored drop boxes in several key swing states, including Arizona. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich may have already prosecuted one of the mules discussed in the documentary, a Democratic former official in San Luis, and he is currently litigating in court with Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs over her attempts to allow unmonitored drop boxes in the state Elections Procedures Manual (EPM). 

In the documentary, a whistleblower whose identity is disguised discusses a prominent Democratic official in San Luis — which is a small town of about 25,500 located in Yuma County — who engaged in ballot harvesting and even enlisted her to assist. Last year, Brnovich’s office prosecuted Guillermina Fuentes, who was a previous mayor of San Luis, a Democratic precinct committee person, and a member of the Gadsden Elementary School Board. A grand jury indicted her in December on one count of ballot abuse, also known as ballot harvesting, for collecting four ballots from people and turning them in. She has a change of plea hearing scheduled for June 2.

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Pulls Out of Leftward-Drifting National Association of Attorneys General

The Arizona Sun Times reported last week on rumors that Arizona Attorney General (AG) Mark Brnovich might withdraw from the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) due to its leftward drift, and he did this week. He became the fifth state attorney general to leave NAAG over its left-leaning agenda, an exodus that began with Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall last year, followed by the AGs of Texas, Missouri, and Montana last week. 
“We are hereby notifying you that the Arizona Attorney General’s Office had decided to withdraw its membership from NAAG,” Brnovich said in a letter to NAAG President and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. “The Association is supposed to function as a nonpartisan forum but the speakers and topics presented at recent NAAG meetings indicate otherwise. We believe NAAG must take immediate steps to remedy this partisan permeation.”

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Abortion Protesters Hit, Scratch, and Spit on Young Kari Lake Student Supporters and Staff at Arizona Capitol

Some young people from Trump-endorsed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s campaign were greeted with violence when they showed up at a protest organized by Planned Parenthood over Arizona’s expected post-Roe v. Wade abortion laws at the Arizona State Capitol on May 3 to engage in civil conversations with the demonstrators. Two student staffers who coordinate Students for Kari and a student intern were hit, scratched, shoved, spit on, and pushed into vans, they told The Arizona Sun Times. Some of it was caught on video, including the spitting.

Andorra Blattner, data director for the campaign, who can be seen in the second half of the video in a bright red shirt, told The Sun Times, “They told me that my mom should have aborted me, and since she didn’t, I should kill myself.” Protesters pushed her, tripped her, and ripped her sign “Unborn Lives Matter” out of her hands. One woman with extremely long nails kept poking them in her face, almost hitting her in the eye. The protesters called her profane words used to demean women. 

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At America Pack’s Arizona Attorney General GOP Primary Debate, None of the Candidates Sounded Like Moderates

The grassroots patriotic group America Pack put on a debate for the Republican primary candidates for Arizona Attorney General Friday night, and of the five candidates who participated, none of them came across as moderates, to the pleasant surprise of the audience (Dawn Grove, who sounds very conservative, could not participate). The main issue championed by the five was border security, with election integrity a close second. 

Their agendas mainly mirrored that of current AG Mark Brnovich, who is now running for U.S. Senate. Brnovich has been one of the most proactive AGs in the country pushing back on the Biden administration, filing tens of lawsuits over election integrity, border security, and other areas of overreach or inaction. Endorsed by both Mark Levin and Sean Hannity, the candidates sounded like they were trying to out-conservative him.

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Could Pull Out of Leftward-Drifting National Association of Attorneys General

The attorneys general of Texas, Missouri, and Montana are withdrawing from the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) over its “leftward shift over the last decade,” and so many expect Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich will be the next to exit. Since NAAG’s activities fall along partisan Democrat lines, and Brnovich has sued the Biden administration numerous times over its policies, he may find there are too many conflicts to remain a member.

Brnovich told The Arizona Sun Times he had no comment at this time, but would be looking into it next week. 

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Responds to Maricopa County’s ‘Flames of Division’ in Their Reaction to His Interim Report on Election Fraud

Maricopa County officials held a press conference and issued a response Wednesday to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s first Interim Report on the 2020 Maricopa County independent ballot audit, prompting a sharp reaction from Brnovich. He said in a letter to supporters, “[T]he Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and County Recorder continue to throw stones at Attorney General Brnovich instead of working to address the serious issues identified in the interim report.” Jen Wright, head of his Elections Integrity Unit, who has lengthy experience investigating voter fraud for the Arizona Republican Party, sent a response back to their attorney with “serious concerns.”

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Arizona Senate President Karen Fann: Decertification Is an Option If AG ‘Finds Huge Differences in the Vote Count’

Many Arizonans are concerned that if there is clear evidence of massive voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election race in Arizona, the election will need to be decertified. Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) reaffirmed this during an interview with the progressive organization Under Current. Fann appeared to be under the perception the reporter was a conservative.

Under Current reporter Laura Windsor asked Fann about the investigation into the independent Maricopa County ballot audit by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who has produced a preliminary interim report. “Is Brnovich taking this seriously, is he going to certify?” Windsor asked. Fann responded,

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Lawmakers Slam Northern Arizona University’s Decision to Offer Free Tuition to Half of Arizona Households

While Arizona’s three public universities are demanding tuition increases, at the same time one is also announcing that it will provide free tuition to about half of Arizona households. Northern Arizona University (NAU) said its new financial aid initiative, Access2Excellence, will cover tuition expenses for every Arizona resident who is admitted to the university and has a household income of $65,000 or less. The median family income in Arizona is $65,000.

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Leads Coalition of States Suing Biden Administration over New Rule to Speed Up Asylum When Title 42 Is Rescinded

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has filed another lawsuit against the Biden administration over its lack of defending the southern border. Leading a coalition of 14 states, the lawsuit challenges a new asylum rule that switches much of the authority over granting asylum away from federal immigration judges, giving it to asylum officers with the Department of Homeland Security.

“This is nothing more than a radical attempt to set up a system that encourages illegal immigration and undermines the rule of law,” said Brnovich in a statement. “President Biden may not care about the American people, but I do. I will continue to push back against his unlawful policies and imperial edicts.”

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Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward’s Husband Michael Ward Permanently Suspended from Twitter for ‘Multiple, Severe Violations’

Twitter suspended Michael Ward, the husband of Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward, Wednesday morning for “multiple, severe violations” according to his wife. She tweeted, “Weird. He’s not a terrorist or a tyrant. He’s a doctor, dad, & veteran. That must be it!”

https://twitter.com/kelliwardaz/status/1519313005174874113

Michael Ward told The Arizona Sun Times, “I want to know whether they’re targeting me because I opposed COVID-19 restrictions, or because I am a conservative physician, or because I’m a retired colonel who opposes the Biden administration.” He believes he was probably singled out because of who he’s married to. He said Twitter first suspended him on Jan. 7, 2021, his first account, @JimmyTheMole01, because he retweeted former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol. He was never given a warning, temporary suspension, or second chance when he tried to appeal, the account was permanently banned.

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America Pack’s Arizona GOP Gubernatorial Debate: Lake Calls Out Missing Robson, Salmon Explains China Ties

Three of the four major Republican gubernatorial candidates faced off Friday night in a debate hosted by the grassroots group, America Pack. Trump-endorsed Kari Lake, Matt Salmon, and Steve Gaynor participated. Karrin Taylor-Robson, after indicating she would attend, canceled.

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Proclamation Under Consideration to Nullify the Censure of Maricopa County Republican Party Chair Mickie Niland over Election Integrity

Legislative District 12 Republicans censured Maricopa County Republican Party Chair Mickie Niland for “apparent bias against election integrity” last week, but some conservatives opposed the move and now a proclamation has been proposed for Maricopa County Republican executive board members and Arizona Republican Party board members to nullify the censure. Signed by major conservative leaders in the party, including Rep. Andy Biggs (R-03-Ariz.), State Sen. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), and MCRC Secretary Dan Grimm, it lists her strengths, which include championing election integrity, and calls for her to continue holding the office.

State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), one of the leading champions of election integrity in the Arizona Legislature, sponsoring numerous bills in that area, told The Arizona Sun Times, “Mickie Niland has been a warrior in the trenches for election integrity. She’s been a tireless champion for conservative values for more than a decade. There are few leaders in the Party, anywhere in the country, who have done more to fight the establishment and defend freedom than Chairwoman Niland.”

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Arizona Leaders Disappointed at Ducey’s Plan with 25 Governors to Secure the Border

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and 25 other governors launched the American Governors’ Border Strike Force on Tuesday to combat the expected surge in migrants and crime on the border when the Biden administration lifts the Title 42 restrictions in May. A statement from Ducey describes it as “a partnership to do what the federal government won’t: secure the southern border,” but some Arizona leaders are disappointed, believing it doesn’t go far enough.

Leading gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake expressed her skepticism of Ducey’s plan during an interview on The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show, saying he’s only taken “little pieces” from her border security plan. “We already have an invasion at our border … It’s going to get worse … the floodgates are open,” she said. “The question is, do we have the elected officials who are willing to do the tough work. And that means finishing that wall on the border. The materials are right there. The federal government abandoned them at the border and we need to take those materials back and finish the wall and get troops on the border.” 

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Kari Lake Calls Primary Opponent ‘Doug Ducey in a Dress’

The Arizona gubernatorial race is heating up in the Republican primary, as candidates attempt to distinguish themselves from each other. Former news anchor Kari Lake, who is leading in polling and has Donald Trump’s endorsement, has been calling out Karrin Taylor Robson’s record, referring to her as “Doug Ducey in a dress.” Lake is highly critical of Ducey’s record on COVID-19 restrictions, lack of action on border security, and, she says, being weak on election integrity.

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GOP Challenger to Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva Asks For Investigation Into New GOP Candidate He Suspects Is a ‘Plant’

Luis Pozzolo, who is running for Congress in Arizona’s 7th Congressional District as a Republican against incumbent Democrat Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-03), asked Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich this past week to investigate another GOP challenger, Nina Becker. He alleges that she “has a history of producing phony petition signatures” and is connected to “a known leftist white supremacist group.” Becker is currently being prosecuted by the AGO for multiple felonies and misdemeanors, including some related to collecting petition signatures, and a judge in the case has declared her mentally incompetent.

Pozzolo told The Arizona Sun Times, “She is not alone — she is mentally Ill but has been used for somebody else — we want to know who is behind it.

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Maricopa County Chair Mickie Niland Censured by LD12 PCs for ‘Apparent Bias Against Election Integrity’

Election integrity is one of the most important issues to Republicans in Arizona, and so when some Precinct Committeemen in Legislative District 12 thought Maricopa County Republican Chair Mickie Niland was dismissing concerns about it, they censured her. PC Lawrence Hudson wrote the censure, which he said passed by about 95-5. 

Dan Farley, who is one of the key grassroots organizers for Precinct Committeemen in Arizona and chair of LD 4, told The Arizona Sun Times he supports Niland because of her support ridding the party of the lingering John McCain influence, which has persisted due to his followers after his death. “While I generally view Hudson as a patriot, I disagree with this,” he said. 

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Gosar, Biggs and Finchem Respond to Lawsuit from ‘Random Members of the Public’ Trying to Remove Them from Ballot for ‘Insurrection’

An organization calling itself “Free Speech for People” filed lawsuits against three prominent Arizona Republican officials, asserting that they are unqualified to hold office due to their connections to the Jan. 6, 2021 protest at the U.S. Capitol. The lawsuits aim to stop Rep. Paul Gosar (R-04-Ariz.) and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-03-Ariz.) from running for reelection, and State Rep. Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) from running for Arizona Secretary of State, claiming the three engaged in “insurrection” which is prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment. 

Jack Wilenchik, the attorney for Finchem, told The Arizona Sun Times, “The lawsuit is long on publicity but short on law. No convictions or congressional authority for suit.” He told Capitol Media, “We don’t allow random members of the public to accuse politicians of a crime and remove them from office.” He explained how it would open the floodgates for anyone to try and remove any elected official they disagreed with, from Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton.

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Inflation Hits 10.9 Percent in Metro Phoenix, Highest of Major Metro Areas and Substantially Above National Average

Inflation is soaring under the Biden administration, and it’s even worse in Phoenix. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that inflation in metro Phoenix jumped 10.9% from February 2021 through February 2022, significantly more than the national average increase of 8.5% and higher than any other major metro area. This is one of the highest levels reported for Phoenix, the Common Sense Institute found.

The 8.5% inflation rate is the highest in the U.S. in 41 years. In 2020, the last year of Donald Trump’s presidency, it was only 1.5%. It began spiking as soon as Joe Biden entered office. The main goods driving the spike nationally are food, gas, and housing. 

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Arizona Democratic Party Requests Investigation of Redistricting, Claims It Protects Incumbent GOP State Senators

The Arizona Democratic Party submitted a complaint on Monday to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, asking him to investigate whether a couple of members of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) violated the Arizona Constitution by drawing district boundary lines to protect at least three incumbent Republican state senators. Executive Director Charlie Fisher, who signed the letter, also asked the attorney general’s office (AGO)to determine if the members violated Arizona’s Open Meeting law, and whether members, as well as senators and their staff, improperly used state resources and funds.

The moves may have been done to include significant Republican enclaves in heavily Republican districts, not to just grab a single senator’s residence. State Senator Vince Leach (R-Tucson), one of the senators who was accused of being gerrymandered into a heavily Republican district, explained to The Arizona Sun Times about the area he lives in that was included, “Catalina has always been in LD 11. Since the election of 2012.”

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Gov. Ducey Signs 12 Bills, Including Banning Unions from Politicking on the Taxpayers’ Dime, and Stopping Religious Discrimination in Adoptions

As the 2022 Arizona Legislative season winds down, Gov. Doug Ducey is signing a slew of bills. On Wednesday, he signed 12, including the Goldwater Institute’s Release Time Reform Act and a bill protecting religious freedom in adoptions and foster care.

The Goldwater Institute (GI) drafted SB 1166, which was sponsored by State Sen. Vincent Leach (R-Tucson), to address the problem where public employees at the local, state, and federal level are “released” from their government responsibilities and instead are assigned to work for a private union — all while receiving full government pay, benefits, and retirement. 

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Maricopa County Admits They Used AI to Compare Voter Ballot Affidavit Signatures with Signatures on File

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued an interim report this past week on his investigation of voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election in Arizona, which found “instances of election fraud by individuals who have been or will be prosecuted for various election crimes,” and a couple of days later he learned some more possibly troubling news. Attorneys for Maricopa County told him ballot tabulators used artificial intelligence to determine whether voters’ ballot affidavit signatures matched their signatures on file. 

During an interview with former Trump advisor Steve Bannon on Bannon’s War Room show, Brnovich broke the news. “We got another letter from their lawyer for the first time — and this is not in the report — admitted they are using AI to verify signatures,” he said. “And so the whole signature verification process, is something that I think that, regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, it should be troubling and concerning that they are trying to verify hundreds of thousands of signatures so quickly. And of course that raises the question, how is that even humanly possible?”

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Announces Prosecutions After Reviewing Maricopa County Ballot Audit, as Kari Lake Calls to Decertify Election

Mark Brnovich

The highly anticipated first report from Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s investigation into the results of the Maricopa County independent ballot audit are in, and includes criminal prosecutions. Addressed to Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott), who launched the independent audit, the letter referenced the work of his office’s Election Integrity Unit. Brnovich stated, “The EIU’s review has uncovered instances of election fraud by individuals who have been or will be prosecuted for various election crimes.” 

Leading gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who just called for the results of the 2020 presidential election in Arizona and Wisconsin to be reversed, told The Arizona Sun Times, “Today, Attorney General Brnovich confirmed what most of us have known since November 3rd, 2020: The election in Maricopa County was crooked and never should have been certified. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. It’s an American issue. I look forward to seeing the prosecutions that the Attorney General has in store. It’s time for the perpetrators of this fraud to be held accountable for their actions.”

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Arizona Officials Brace for Surge of Illegal Border-Crossers as Biden Administration Ends Title 42 Restrictions

With the Biden administration’s decision to rescind Title 42 COVID-19 restrictions on the border by May 23, local officials near Arizona’s border with Mexico are bracing for a surge in migrants. The border situation was already dire, with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issuing a legal opinion in February declaring that it had reached the level of an invasion under the U.S. Constitution due to the crime, violence, and drug smuggling.

Republicans and even some Democrat officials in Arizona denounced the move. Both of Arizona’s two U.S. Senators, Democrats Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, condemned the move. Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, a Democrat, said she supported the move, but admitted to NPR that it will require federal assistance. “What we are asking the Biden administration is that they have the resources necessary to be able to have these local communities take over, because it costs money to be able to offer a safe place for asylum-seekers to come.”

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Democrat Arizona Secretary of State and Gubernatorial Candidate Katie Hobbs Praises Biden for Removing Title 42 Restrictions at the Border

Katie Hobbs

While many leading Democrats, including both of Arizona’s U.S. Senators, Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, are upset with the Biden administration’s decision to end the Title 42 COVID-19 restrictions on U.S. borders, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs praised the decision. The Title 42 order, issued by the Centers for Disease Control in March 2020 under the Trump administration, has been used by Customs and Border Protection to prevent 1.7 million migrants from entering the country. They are either sent back to Mexico or on flights to other countries.

When asked by 3TV about the change and how it would affect border security, Hobbs said, “Title 42 should not be a substitute for that. As governor, I will work to, with the federal government, make sure that Arizonans are secure, they need to put more resources and securing the border. We need more resources to address the influx of migrants coming to the border.” 

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Asks Cochise County Attorney for Felony Criminal Investigation into Arizona Secretary of State Hobbs

Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has come under fire for her handling of the electronic system used to collect online signatures for political candidates, E-Qual. The system was not updated to accommodate new redistricting, which has made it very difficult for campaigns to collect enough signatures in time to make the ballot this fall. On March 17, Hobbs took the entire system offline, making it impossible to collect any signatures at all online, so Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre on March 29 to “investigate and take any appropriate enforcement actions (civil and criminal).”

McIntyre told the Arizona Sun Times, “I can confirm that we have received the request and begun the investigative process.”

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Brnovich Takes Digs at Competitors in U.S. Senate Race for Not Doing Anything About Mask Mandates

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich took a shot at his opponents in the U.S. Senate race for not doing anything about the lingering mask mandate on public transportation. He tweeted the criticism while joining a coalition of 21 states suing the Biden administration over what he characterized as an “unconstitutional, ineffective, and ridiculously burdensome policy.” 

His opponents frequently criticize him for inaction, but he has aggressively tackled various issues, including COVID-19 restrictions and mandates, border security, and election integrity, he told the Arizona Sun Times. 

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Gov. Ducey Signs 2022’s First Election Integrity Bill Which Closes Loophole on Non-Citizens Voting, Opponents Blast It

The whole country is watching Arizona to see if it will strengthen election integrity laws after fraud was highly suspected there in the 2020 presidential election. So far during the 2022 legislative session, the Arizona Legislature has referred one comprehensive measure to the ballot, the Arizonans for Voter ID Act, and sent its first bill to Gov. Doug Ducey to sign or veto. HB 2492, sponsored by State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), requires proof of citizenship in order to vote, with the exception of voting in congressional elections which is preempted by federal law. 

The law, which passed both chambers along party lines, establishes tough penalties for those who violate it; it is a felony for election officials to register voters without proof of citizenship. County recorders are required to regularly cross-reference registered voters with citizenship databases. It gives the Arizona Attorney General authority to investigate. 

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Candidates for Maricopa County Attorney Scramble to Make the Ballot

With Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel resigning just three weeks before signatures are due for candidates running for that position, several attorneys have decided to run and are now racing around trying to collect 4,300 valid signatures by April 4. Since voters can only sign one candidate’s petition in the race, the candidates are quickly trying to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack. 

Former Arizona legislator Thayer Verschoor, who is currently running for Maricopa County Supervisor, issued a list of questions to ask the candidates, which the Arizona Sun Times requested the candidates answer. Not one of the candidates bothered to respond with answers by the time this article was posted. 

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Arizona Legislature Passes Two Bills Centered on Transgender Issues, All Eyes on Gov. Ducey Now

Withstanding a noisy opposition campaign, the Arizona Legislature passed two bills addressing heated issues involving transgenders, which will be sent to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to sign or veto. SB 1138 bans irreversible gender reassignment surgery for those under 18. SB 1165 prohibits males from participating in sports in public schools or at private schools that compete against public schools from playing on teams designated for girls. 

Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), who co-sponsored SB 1165, testified regarding how she played on girls’ teams in high school, but would have never been able to make the men’s teams. “The advantages bestowed by biological male puberty are so big that no amount of training or talent can enable biological female athletes to overcome them,” she said. 

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Wins Preliminary Injunction Stopping Biden Administration from Halting Nearly All Deportations

A federal district court judge agreed with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and two other attorneys general, granting their request for a preliminary injunction to stop a new DHS policy under the Biden administration which halted nearly all deportations. In Arizona v. Biden, Ohio District Court Judge Michael J. Newman stopped the implementation of the “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law” (Permanent Guidance) due to violating existing federal law. He also denied DHS’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

“This is a tremendous victory for the rule of law and the safety of our communities,” said Brnovich in a statement. “Since assuming office, the Biden administration has undermined our immigration laws and our law enforcement agencies, while empowering dangerous cartels and criminals on both sides of the border. I’m grateful for this ruling and for the partnership of Ohio and Montana as we work to reverse this catastrophic lawlessness.”

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Arizona’s Public Universities Demanding Tuition Increases Despite Slowly Recovering Economy

The three public universities in Arizona — Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University — are demanding tuition increases. They are proposing increases of 2% to 5.6%. A committee of the Board of Regents will vote on the hikes on April 7. 

The universities cite inflation as the reason for the increase, with NAU President José Luis Cruz Rivera asserting the increase “accounts for less than half of current inflationary costs.” 

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State Sen. Townsend Subpoenas Maricopa County Supervisors to Testify Why County Is Obstructing Attorney General Brnovich’s 2020 Election Investigation

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has been investigating the results of the Arizona Senate’s independent audit of the 2020 presidential election in Maricopa County but, similar to what the Arizona Senate experienced previously, has been thwarted by the Maricopa County Supervisors’ (BOS) refusal to turn over evidence. Due to the obstruction, State Senator Kelly Townsend (R-Apache Junction), issued a legislative subpoena to the BOS demanding their testimony on Monday, to explain their reasons for delaying the production of documents, and what they intend to do to rectify the situation.

Townsend stated, “Throughout this process, we have been dismayed at the level of obstruction, obfuscation, malfeasance and nonfeasance seen throughout the inquiry. The claim that there is not a ‘shred of evidence’ regarding irregularities in the election is patently false, but hard not to believe by the general public when so much is being hidden from their view.” 

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State Rep. Espinoza Sponsors Bill to Fight Back Against 6,500 Percent Surge in Catalytic Converter Thefts

Diego Espinoza

The theft of catalytic converters has become a big problem in Arizona, and State Rep. Diego Espinoza (D-Tolleson) is sponsoring legislation to expand the law against it. Current law only prohibits buying or selling a used catalytic converter outside of regular transactions; HB 2652 goes beyond that to make it illegal to possess, solicit, or advertise a used catalytic converter outside of regular transactions. It would also mandate reporting sales to DPS and tracking.

HB 2652 looks very likely to pass, as 49 members of the House voted for it and only 10 Republicans voted against it. It passed the Senate Committee on Transportation and Technology 9-0, and is now headed for the Senate Rules Committee. 

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Two Tools Track Arizona Governments, Reveal Missteps and Waste

Arizona Capitol

It is National Sunshine Week, which celebrates transparency in government, including creating awareness about requesting information from governments through FOIA public record requests. In Arizona, there are two tools provided by state agencies which allow anyone to look online at some of the government spending by state and local governments. Although it is a minimal amount of data, it reveals some missteps and waste. 

The Arizona State Treasurer manages AZCheckbook.com, which provides information about funding the state gets from all sources, including the federal government, and how much it is distributing to schools, cities, and towns. The Arizona Department of Administration operates OpenBooks.AZ.gov, which provides checkbook-level information about individual state expenditures, including on the city and county level.

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State Rep. Richard Andrade Withdraws Endorsement from Secretary of State Hobbs Running for Governor

Fallout is continuing after a multimillion dollar jury verdict was awarded to a former staffer of Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs due to Hobbs’ racist and sexist treatment of her. Hobbs admitted, “I participated in furthering systemic racism.” Democrats immediately started dropping their support of her candidacy for Arizona governor, with most recently State Rep. Richard Andrade (D-Glendale) announcing his decision to switch his endorsement to former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez. 

The Arizona Sun Times asked Kari Lake, the leading gubernatorial candidate on the Republican side who recently joined a lawsuit against Hobbs, what she thought of this latest development. She responded, “The movement we are experiencing is so strong I don’t care who the Democrats put up against me, I will crush them in November.”

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Arizona GOP Legislators and Gov. Ducey Drafting Legislation to Combat Initiative That Would Derail Historic Tax Cuts

Last year, Arizona enacted historic tax cuts, changing the state’s tax code law to mostly a 2.5% flat tax rate. But opponents collected enough signatures to put an initiative on the ballot this fall, Prop. 307, that would reverse the legislation. In response, Republican state legislators are working with Gov. Doug Ducey to pass legislation that would make the initiative null and void — and maybe implement even more striking tax cuts. 

State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), who sponsored legislation last year that would have repealed and replaced the historic tax cuts with an even more far reaching 1.5% tax rate, told The Arizona Sun Times, “I told the Governor’s office that the 2.5% tax rate he’s pushing for can only be the starting point. With yet another year of record budget surpluses of nearly $4 billion, the people of Arizona are being overtaxed. We must cut taxes even more during the budget process.” 

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Democratic Former Maricopa County Recorder Running for Secretary of State Calls to Impeach Attorney General Brnovich

Adrian Fontes of Arizona

Democratic former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, who is running for Arizona Secretary of State, is calling for the Arizona Legislature to impeach Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich. The former county elections chief said it is due to Brnovich’s “grotesque political self-service, abuse of office, and other bad acts.” 

Fontes declared, “It is well past time for Arizona’s legislative leadership to investigate, for possible impeachment proceedings, the increasing instability of our state’s top prosecutor.”

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Two Arizona GOP State Senators Vote with Democrats to Kill Election Integrity Bills

Republican State Senators Paul Boyer (R-Glendale) and Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Scottsdale) defeated several key election integrity bills in the Arizona Legislature as the only Republicans siding with Democrats. Republicans have a one-seat majority in the Senate, and since Boyer has angered Republicans for frequently voting with the Democrats against bills and thwarting election integrity efforts, he will not be seeking a third term after this year’s session. Former President Donald Trump endorsed former State Rep. Anthony Kern (R-Glendale), a champion of election integrity, to replace him.

SB 1055, sponsored by State Sen. Kelly Townsend (R-Apache Junction), made any contractor who failed to provide election services or products guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor and liable for liquidated damages of the amount of the contract. Boyer was the only Republican to oppose it.

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Kari Lake Releases TV Ad During Her Former TV Show Instructing Viewers to Turn It Off

Coming from a 30-year career in the mainstream media as a local broadcaster, Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has naturally been able to spotlight many of the biases of the media while campaigning. The Trump-endorsed candidate’s second TV ad launched this weekend, including on Monday during the former show she co-anchored on Fox 10 News. It instructs viewers to turn the show off. 

She began in the ad, “The media isn’t just corrupt, they are anti-American.” A clip of her walking next to 12 News reporter Brahm Resnik is shown, with Lake telling him, “I noticed that you would not say the Pledge of Allegiance and that’s really despicable. Why can’t you put your hand on your heart? When these Media Hacks show you how much they hate America, believe them.”

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