Arizona ACLU Sues to Block ‘Personhood’ Abortion Law After Roe Is Overturned

The Arizona affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a motion Saturday that seeks to block the state’s “personhood” law which, they argue, could make all abortions illegal in the state.

The abortion rights groups filed an emergency motion one day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, returning decisions about abortion to the states.

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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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Tiffany Shedd Commentary: My Personal Experience Living Through Ducey’s Failed Border Policies

I live 90 miles from the US/Mexico border just outside of Eloy and only minutes to Interstate 10.  You would think that would be a quiet piece of heaven in the desert where my family has farmed for decades.

Unfortunately, we know and understand the failures of an unsecure border firsthand. Border issues span far beyond the thin line that separates the United States from Mexico.  My family has lived the ups and downs of this nation’s failed border policies for decades to the point that we have become numb to the sounds of our dog alerting us to trespassers and illegals stealing and damaging our property.

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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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San Francisco Tech Company Expands in Tempe

The digital real estate platform Opendoor is opening a 100,807 square-foot space in Tempe, Arizona, to serve as the company’s regional hub.

The space will support over 500 jobs.

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Arizona Abortion Rights Group Files Long-Shot Ballot Initiative to Add Reproductive Rights to the State Constitution

Arizona Capitol

An abortion rights group filed a long-shot initiative for the Arizona November ballot.

“Women in Arizona, they don’t have two years to wait,” said Shasta McManus, treasurer of Arizonans for Reproductive Freedom, the group that wants to add an amendment to the Arizona Constitution to protect reproductive rights and prohibit any state or political restriction on those seeking abortions or physicians performing abortions.

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Arizona Calls on Social Media Companies to Crack Down on Cartel Activity

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is calling on social media companies to protect youth from cartels recruiting them into transnational human smuggling activity. 

In a letter to the leaders of four social media companies, Ducey urged the companies to start doing a better job of stopping people from being exploited by cartels.

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Trump Calls Brian Kemp the Worst Governor in the Country on ‘Election Integrity’

45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, stated on Wednesday that Georgia Governor, Brian Kemp, is ‘the worst election integrity Governor in the country.’

Trump added that Kemp, “loaded the great state of Georgia up with RINOs.”

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Arizona Governor Doug Ducey Signs Legislation Aimed at Human Smuggling Organizations

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Thursday signed legislation aimed at tackling human smuggling groups.

The bill, House Bill 2696, clarifies language to detail that “an individual who aids illegal human smuggling organizations or operations will be held accountable for their crime.”

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Arizona Doubles Victim Protection Order Duration

Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill to protect the victims of crime.

Ducey on Friday signed House Bill 2604, sponsored by Rep. Shawnna Bolick, R-Phoenix. The bill increases the length of protection, letting victims of crime have more time to protect themselves. It passed with unanimous support in both chambers of the legislature.

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Arizona Unemployment Rate Hits 45-Year Low

The unemployment rate in Arizona continues to decline.

In March 2022, Arizona had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.3%. This was slightly lower than the national unemployment rate at the same time, according to data released by the Arizona Commerce Authority this week.

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San Francisco Tech Company Moves Headquarters to Phoenix, Bringing Nearly 1,000 Jobs

Sending management platform Sendoso plans to send its corporate headquarters from San Francisco, California, to Arizona effective November 2022.

The company has a new office at The Grove in Phoenix, Arizona, and plans to bring nearly 1,000 jobs to the area.

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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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Governor Ducey Signs Legislation Protecting Victims of Sexual Assault Who Undergo Medical or Forensic Examination Related to the Crime

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation that “ensures victims of a sexual crime are not charged for any part of the medical or forensic examination related to the crime,” according to a press release by Ducey’s office.

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Ohio, Arizona, and West Virginia Among the States Seeking Solutions to Fentanyl Crisis

Multiple U.S. states, ultimately seeing little action from the federal government on the matter, have taken it upon themselves to roll out solutions for combatting the ongoing flow of deadly fentanyl into the United States.

As reported by ABC News, two major methods have emerged from the handful of states that are directly addressing this issue: One camp seeks to reduce the risks to drug-users while also imposing steeper penalties for dealing fentanyl, while the other approach involved calling for more federal intervention, with some of these states taking it upon themselves to guard the southern border and prevent the trafficking of fentanyl into the country from Mexico.

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Arizona Ends COVID Emergency Declaration

With many of his executive orders enshrined into law, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has opted to end the state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration. 

The governor terminated the declaration as thresholds set by state agencies show the threat of the disease is nowhere near what it once was. 

“Thanks to the hard work of many – health care workers, businesses, public and private sector employees – COVID-19 is no longer an emergency in Arizona,” Ducey said. “This virus isn’t completely gone, but because of the vaccine and other life-saving measures, today, we are better positioned to manage and mitigate it.” 

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Arizona Raises Civics Education Standards

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill that aims to strengthen civics knowledge in the state.

Ducey signed HB 2632, sponsored by state representative Quang Nguyen, R-Prescott Valley. It will increase the passing score of the Arizona Civics Test from 60% to 70%, allow middle schoolers to take the test if they want, and require test score data to be available publicly online.

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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 Legislature Passes 15-Week Abortion Ban

On Thursday, the Arizona State Legislature passed a bill that would ban all abortions after 15 weeks.

ABC News reports that the Arizona House of Representatives voted along party lines to approve the bill, which is similar to a law already passed in Mississippi that has sparked perhaps the most influential Supreme Court case on abortion since 1973’s Roe v. Wade. Having already passed the State Senate, the bill now goes to the desk of Governor Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.), who is expected to sign it.

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Arizona Legislature Approves Bill Vetting All Voters for Citizenship Before They Can Cast a Ballot

Arizona lawmakers approved new voter safeguards that supporters said will ensure only U.S. citizens can cast ballots.

A unanimous Republican caucus approved House Bill 2492 in the Senate, sending the legislation to Gov. Doug Ducey for consideration. 

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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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Gov. Ducey Pushing Democratic-Sponsored Bill to Create an Earned Income Tax Credit in Arizona

Sean Bowie and Doug Ducey

Arizona doesn’t have an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which mostly gives straight cash to those who don’t earn enough money to obtain a state tax refund, but Gov. Doug Ducey wants to change that. He is supporting SB 1018, sponsored by Senator Sean Bowie (D-Phoenix), which would create one, joining 30 other states which have adopted one patterned after the federal EITC. 

A state EITC would take $74 million from the state’s coffers annually and give it to low earners. In order to qualify, income levels would face the same ceilings as the federal credit. Both families and singles are eligible, with a family of four children earning $20,000 maxing out the most with $325.

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Arizona Republican Electors Suddenly Under Attack Now for Choosing Trump in the 2020 Election

People voting

Democrats are suddenly now attacking 11 Republican Arizona electors for choosing Donald Trump to receive Arizona’s electoral votes over a year ago, shortly after the 2020 presidential election. The Democrat-controlled U.S. House committee investigating the raucous protest at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 issued subpoenas on Jan. 28 for some of the Republican electors in seven swing states that submitted both a Republican slate of electors along with a Democratic slate, including two Arizona Republicans. 

A few of the electors have spoken up publicly in the last few days after it was made an issue, explaining they cast their votes believing Trump would prevail, since the election results were challenged in multiple lawsuits due to widespread belief there was voter fraud in Arizona and other swing states. The Arizona Sun Times reached out to several of them requesting comment, but they declined to respond, citing the legal risks. 

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Arizona Judge Blocks Biden’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractors

President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates have been running into trouble in the courts, with the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the mandate for large businesses, and several judges stopping his mandate for federal contractors. The latest one to do so is Judge Michael Liburdi of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in Phoenix, who ruled on Jan. 27 that the Biden administration lacked authority to implement the mandate.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich brought the lawsuit against the Biden administration over that mandate and others. He told The Arizona Sun Times, “If left unchecked, these unlawful and unconstitutional mandates would essentially override the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to our Constitution, and eviscerate the most basic health care freedoms of millions of Americans. It’s federal overreach at its worst. I will continue to stand up for Arizona. I’m proud to have led the fight against the Biden Administration’s unprecedented power grab. The government shouldn’t be your nanny, and it doesn’t get to be your doctor either.”

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Arizona Gov. Ducey and Gubernatorial Candidate Kari Lake Differ on Putting Cameras in Classrooms

Leading Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake voiced support for putting cameras in schools in order to allow parents to monitor what educators are teaching their children, and Gov. Doug Ducey responded by criticizing the idea. 

Ducey said during a press conference that it could lead to “predators” monitoring children, the Arizona Capitol Times reported. “We’ve got young kids in these classrooms,” he said. “We want to protect them from predators, of course.” 

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Arizona Gov. Ducey Fails to Join Governors Fighting Back Against Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine for Their National Guard

The Biden administration announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all branches of the military on August 25, which applies to members of the Arizona Army National Guard (AZARNG). Although six governors are attempting to stop the mandate for their National Guards, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is not one of them. 

AZARNG has not begun discharging any soldiers yet, but intends to follow the lead of other branches of the military, which have. The Department of Defense declared that Army National Guard and Reserve members have until June 30 to receive their shots.

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Arizona Rep. Kaiser Sponsors Bill Providing Exemption From Vaccine Requirements for Those Who Have Had COVID-19

State Rep. Steve Kaiser (R-Phoenix) is sponsoring a bill, HB 2020, that would exempt people in Arizona from government or private businesses imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates if they have already had COVID-19. This includes mandates from the federal government and from corporations at their branches in Arizona. To be eligible, someone must show either proof of antibodies, a positive test, or a positive T-cell immune response to COVID-19.

Kaiser, who came up with the idea for the bill during a discussion with a friend, told The Arizona Sun Times, “It provides a great way for folks who are uncomfortable with the vaccine to keep their jobs. There is a lot of data to support this, and it has a great chance of passing through the legislature.” He said at least one Democrat has said they may support the bill.

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Yuma Rep. Tim Dunn: Arizona’s Spike in Illegal Border-Crossers is Thanks to Biden’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy Applying Only to Texas

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey sent the Arizona National Guard and law enforcement officers to the Arizona border with Mexico near Yuma to address a surge in border crossings, which Arizona Rep. Tim Dunn (R-Yuma) has called for and believes will help combat the drug cartels, but not the number of migrants crossing due to the Biden administration’s policies. 

Dunn told The Arizona Sun Times that although only the federal government is allowed by law to deal with the migrants, Arizona troops and law enforcement officers can perform other tasks for the Border Patrol, freeing them up to handle the influx of migrants. He said the migrants “do want to be checked in to the Border Patrol. The last leg of their trip is to get a free ride to another part of the country — the Border Patrol is performing an Uber function.”

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Arizona Lawmakers Demand Gov. Ducey Call a Special Session so They Can Stop COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for City of Phoenix Employees

The City of Phoenix instituted a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees, and numerous Republican lawmakers want to stop it. Several legislators sent a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey demanding that he call a special session of the Arizona Legislature so they can pass legislation halting that mandate and any others in Arizona. 

Sen. Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix), Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), and Rep. Justin Wilmeth (R-Phoenix) wrote, “We urge you to immediately call us into a special session to pass legislation prohibiting any government entity from mandating the COVID-19 vaccine. Since the Arizona Supreme Court struck down policy provisions added to the budget passed earlier this year as a violation of our state Constitution’s single subject clause, it is imperative we address medical freedom issues taking place in our K-12 public schools, public colleges and universities, and any city, county or town from imposing a vaccine passport or mandate on any person or business.” 

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Should Roe v Wade Be Overturned, Arizona’s Abortion Restrictions Still Stand

The U.S. Supreme Court appears very likely to uphold Missouri’s 15-week abortion ban, which will gut a significant portion of Roe v. Wade, leaving much of abortion regulation to the individual states. Roe v. Wade prohibited the states from restricting abortion before fetal viability, around 23 weeks. If the Supreme Court rules for Mississippi in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, it is expected that 26 states will then start restricting abortion as early as 15 weeks, including Arizona, which already has an old law on the books.

When Arizona was a territory, a law was passed in 1901 banning abortion. A.R.S. 13-3603 punishes the facilitation of an abortion with two to five years in prison. A woman who attempts to obtain one, whether successful or not, unless necessary to save her life, was penalized by one to five years in prison. That law was repealed this year by the Arizona Legislature. 

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Gov. Ducey, Arizona National Guard Won’t Answer Sun Times Questions About Joining Oklahoma National Guard’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Rebuke

National Guard members in uniform, wearing masks

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona National Guard did respond to queries from The Arizona Sun Times regarding whether Arizona would follow the lead of Oklahoma and its National Guard decision not to enforce the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

A source familiar with the Arizona National Guard’s vaccine policy told that commanders in the Arizona National Guard have already begun ordering troops to get the vaccine.

The source said based on their understanding of the internal dynamics of the Arizona Guard Ducey could reverse this vaccination push and follow Oklahoma’s lead.

While Ducey remains silent, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, now running for the 2022 GOP Senate nomination, sued the Biden administration twice over the mandate.

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On Heels of GOP Election Wins, Kari Lake Holds Massive Election Integrity Rally

Trump-endorsed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake held a huge rally Wednesday night at Dream City Church of Glendale in the West Valley. Hundreds packed the megachurch, which was substantially filled. 

Lake began by lamenting the fact it was the one-year anniversary of “the election call heard around the world” by Fox News. She said “that was a Ducey,” referring to Gov. Doug Ducey certifying the 2020 presidential election results from Arizona. She was very blunt, “Our elections are completely corrupt.” 

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Arizona State Rep. Jake Hoffman Asks Attorney General Brnovich for Legal Opinion on Biden Administration’s Failure at the Border

Arizona Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) sent a letter to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich requesting a legal opinion on whether the Biden administration has failed its obligations at the U.S. border with Mexico. He is concerned there is an “invasion” taking place due to the vast numbers of illegal immigrants entering the country, the increase in crime, and the control the drug cartels have over areas along the border.

He wrote, “In light of the efforts by the new federal administration of President Joe Biden to encourage, rather than discourage, illegal aliens coming to our country, including by crossing the Arizona border illegally, I am writing to ask for your formal legal opinion of whether or not the federal government has failed — intentionally or unintentionally — to uphold its obligations to protect our state from invasion under Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution.”

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Arizona Gov. Ducey Taking on City of Tucson for Firing Employees Who Refuse to Get Vaccinated

The City of Tucson initially backed off of mandating the COVID-19 vaccine after Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a legal opinion declaring it was illegal, but Tucson has now reversed itself again with a new 4-3 vote by the Tucson City Council. Any Tucson employee not in compliance by December 1 will be fired. Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted that it was “unfathomable” and had his General Counsel Annie Foster send City Attorney Mike Rankin a stern letter. 

“It’s unfathomable that after a year as tough as last, the Tucson City Council voted to FIRE unvaccinated city employees,” Ducey tweeted. “The state Legislature has spoken on this issue — they want Arizonans and their sincerely held beliefs to be protected from overreaching mandates.”

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Mollie Hemingway’s New Book Exposes How Fox News Called the Election Early in Arizona for Biden

Conservative columnist Mollie Hemingway has written a book exposing how President Joe Biden won the presidential election, entitled Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections. Hemingway goes over all the suspicious behavior and possible fraud that occurred, including Fox News — the allegedly conservative news station — calling the race in Arizona early for Biden, before any other network did.

“[T]he rush to call a critical battleground such as Arizona less than ninety minutes after the polls closed [was] very odd,” Hemingway wrote. Acknowledging that she is a contributor to Fox News, she explained how it was Fox News’ Decision Desk that made the call, “Fox News … is unique among cable networks in retaining a distinction between its opinion and news programming. The news side handles Election Night and other big coverage. Its Decision Desk, a group of pollsters, statisticians, and political analysts, is independent from both the opinion and news programming.”

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Arizona Gov. Ducey Plans to Defy Biden Administration, Continue Awarding Grants to Schools Without Mask Mandates

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) on Thursday pledged to defy an order from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, instructing Ducey to stop using COVID-19 relief to award grants to schools that do not have a mask mandate.

Calling the order from the Treasury Department “federal overreach,” Ducey explained that the two programs will continue, or he will challenge the Biden administration in court.

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Other GOP Governors to Gather at Border to Pressure Biden on Illegal Immigration

Republican Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona are hosting nine governors in Mission, Texas, Wednesday to denounce President Joe Biden’s policies leading to a surge in illegal immigration at the southern border.

“Texas and Arizona have stepped up to secure the border in the federal government’s absence, and now the Emergency Management Assistance Compact gives your state a chance to stand strong with us,” Ducey and Abbott said in a joint statement this summer. Both governors issued disaster and emergency declarations in their states earlier this year, citing increased crime and financial strains on county governments and law enforcement because of the surge in illegal immigration due to Biden’s policies.

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24 Legislators Want Ducey to Declare a State of Emergency on the Border Crisis

A significant group of Arizona Republican legislators is calling upon Gov. Doug Ducey to declare a state of emergency over the crisis on the border between Arizona and Mexico. The 24 senators and representatives sent the letter to Ducey on Tuesday.

Rep. Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu), the Majority Whip, told The Arizona Sun Times, “I think all of America can agree that our southern border is a complete disaster. As this Biden-Harris administration continues to ignore our calls for help, thousands of illegal immigrants are pouring into our state daily. This administration is signaling to the world that we have an open border. Myself, along with my Republican colleagues at the Arizona Legislature, will not tolerate this lawlessness anymore. We are a land of law and order. But when the federal government fails at their duty to protect our border, it is up to us to uphold our oath to the constitution and do whatever it takes to help stop this invasion.”

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Former Arizona Sheriff Arpaio ‘Strongly Considering’ Running for Mayor of Fountain Hills

Nationally renowned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio told The Arizona Sun Times that he is “strongly considering” running for mayor in his town of Fountain Hills, located in the greater Phoenix Valley. He was defeated for reelection as Maricopa County Sheriff in 2016, when billionaire George Soros poured $2 million into the race. Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, contributed a quarter of a million dollars.

Arpaio said he wants to elevate the profile of mayors in society, just like he elevated the profile of sheriffs by becoming the most well-known sheriff in the country in the modern era. He has lived in Fountain Hills for 21 years, and has ties to the town going back 30 years due to serving as Maricopa County Sheriff and head of the Drug Enforcement Agency for Arizona. One of his goals is to attract a significant business to move to the town. The town of about 25,000 is an affluent, Republican-leaning community.

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Issues Legal Opinion Declaring the City of Tucson’s Vaccine Mandate for Employees Illegal

Mark Brnovich

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a legal opinion on Tuesday stating that the City of Tucson’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city employees violates S.B. 1824 (soon to be A.R.S. 36-681) and Gov. Doug Ducey’s Executive Order 2021-18 prohibiting local and state governments from implementing them. Sen. Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) submitted a SB 1487 request for the investigation.

“Tucson’s vaccine mandate is illegal, and the city could be held liable for attempting to force employees to take it against their beliefs,” Brnovich said. “COVID-19 vaccinations should be a choice, not a government mandate.” His spokeswoman, Katie Conner, told reporters during a phone call, “Adhering to the rule of law in Arizona is not optional.”

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Demand for Gov. Ducey’s School Vouchers to Leave Arizona Schools That Mandate Masks or Require Unvaccinated Students to Quarantine Exceeds Funds

Doug Ducey

Just three weeks after Gov. Doug Ducey announced that school districts issuing mask mandates or requiring vaccinated students to quarantine would be penalized by diverting money to students to use as school vouchers to attend elsewhere, demand has exceeded the $20 million he allotted by twice the amount. Ducey announced on August 17 that money the state received from the federal government through the pandemic-generated American Rescue Plan to boost per-pupil spending would not go to any of those schools.

Ducey made the announcement immediately following a demand on August 11 from Republican state legislators to take action regarding those school districts. They suggested that Ducey could withhold federal funds and offer vouchers, which he did, but he did not go so far as following their recommendation of suing the school districts.

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Feds Identify Phoenix as Best City for Afghan Refugees

A federal agency has named Phoenix the ideal location for Afghan refugees to resettle.

The U.S. government is assisting thousands of Afghans in finding new homes after they fled what’s now a Taliban-controlled country. Governors and mayors from New York to California expressed their desire to help these refugees.

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City of Tucson Joins Two Lawsuits Against Arizona Legislature over Masks, Vaccines, CRT, Police Review Boards, and a Ballot Audit Committee

Tucson City Hall

The City of Tucson is joining two lawsuits against the Arizona Legislature with amicus curiae briefs. The first is a lawsuit filed on August 12 by the Arizona School Boards Association, the Arizona Education Association and other education organizations and activists over HB 2898, SB 1824, and SB 1825, which prohibit mask and vaccine mandates, ban Critical Race Theory, and establish a legislative committee to review the findings of the state Senate review of the November 2020 election results in Maricopa County.

The second is a lawsuit filed by the City of Phoenix over HB 2893, which sets the qualifications for members of civilian review boards including requiring training. It also allows a legislator to submit a request to the Arizona Attorney General for an investigation of “any written policy, written rule or written regulation adopted by any agency, department or other entity of the county, city or town.”

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Arizona School Officials Pushing Mask Mandate Caught Not Wearing Masks

Some Arizona school officials are in a feud with Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature over implementing mandatory mask policies, but some of those officials have been caught not wearing masks themselves. Arizona Superintendent of Schools Kathy Hoffman, a Democrat, was spotted not wearing one along with others at a baby shower. Not a single person present had a mask on or was social distancing. Amphitheater Public Schools, which mandated masks on August 16, posted a photo of their Communications Director Michelle Valenzuela, posing without a mask on, clearly standing within a couple of feet of the photographer. They deleted the tweet.

Ducey is confident the school mask mandates will not hold up in court. He said earlier in August, “COVID has been with us for well over a year and a half now, and Arizonans are educated about it. If they want to wear masks, they should absolutely do so. It’s an individual choice. No one and no law anywhere in Arizona is stopping anyone from wearing masks. Ultimately, these mandates are toothless, unenforceable and will not hold up in court.”

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Pima County Republican Chair Calls for Arrest of Officials Mandating Vaccine or Masks

Shelley Kais

The chairman of the Pima County Republican Party is calling for the arrest of local officials who mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or masks. In that lower part of the state, the City of Tucson requires vaccinations and the Marana School District requires masks. 

Shelley Kais told the Arizona Daily Independent, “On September 29, any school board member, city councilman, or supervisor who requires masks or vaccines mandates and passports should be arrested ” She went on, “The power grab by our elected officials to play this ‘game of chicken’ is nothing more than political and follows neither science nor good public policy. We will continue to fight for our first responders, our teachers, and the children in Pima County.” 

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Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar Introduces ‘Americans Not Aliens Act’

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04) introduced the “Americans Not Aliens Act” on August 20, which would prevent the Department of Homeland Security from issuing work permits to migrants with deportation orders. These are generally illegal immigrants who have received hearings before an immigration judge who has declined to give them asylum, instead ordering their removal. 

“Providing work permits to aliens who have been ordered removed from the United States is the very definition of insanity,” Gosar said in a statement. “At a time when American citizens are struggling to find jobs, my legislation removes the incentives for aliens to ignore the rule of law and not return to their country of origin.” Under the current system, they can easily find jobs in America which they may not be able to find in their home countries. 

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Kari Lake Rally: ‘We Will Elect Arizona’s First Trump-Republican Governor’

Speaking to a packed crowd in Scottsdale Saturday night for her birthday, Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake declared, “We will elect Arizona’s first Trump governor!” Lake planned the huge birthday bash to include a live viewing of former President Trump’s speech at a campaign rally in Alabama. Afterwards, she gave a speech of her own to the well over a thousand who attended the Embassy Suites event.

Lake announced the results of a new poll taken by her campaign that showed her well ahead of the other Republican candidates. She came in at 37.4 percent, followed by Matt Salmon at 11.5 percent, Steve Gaynor with 2.7 percent, and Karrin Taylor Robson at 2.0 percent. She said one of her opponents also conducted a poll that showed her ahead in a “landslide.” She distinguished herself from the others, “I’m running against a bunch of swamp creatures.” 

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Biden Commends Phoenix School District That Violated Ban on Mask Requirements

Biden Commends Phoenix School District

President Joe Biden called the head of Phoenix Union High School District after the district implemented mask requirements that may be contrary to state law, praising Superintendent Chad Geston for the move. In a statement, Biden said he told Geston during his Friday phone call that he “did the right thing.” 

The issue is currently under litigation in Maricopa County Superior Court. Numerous state legislators asked Governor Doug Ducey a few days ago to take action against the school districts in violation, and Ducey responded on Tuesday with a directive financially penalizing the districts. They will not receive any of the $163 million that the state got through the American Rescue Plan to boost per-pupil funding. Students in those districts will receive vouchers to attend schools elsewhere.

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Arizona Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Calls for Executive Order Against School Mask Mandates

Republican gubernatorial candidate Steven Gaynor wants Gov. Doug Ducey to issue an executive order in response to local school mask mandates. 

Gaynor is a Republican businessman from Paradise Valley who announced his run to replace Ducey in 2022. He narrowly lost to Katie Hobbs in the 2018 race for secretary of state. 

In an Aug. 9 press release, Gaynor asked for an executive order to provide Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) to parents of students in school districts that enforce mask and vaccine mandates. 

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