Arizona Grassroots Groups Rally at ‘Redfest’ to Push Conservative Legislators for Leadership Positions in 2023

Freedomworks, one of the nation’s leading conservative grassroots organizations, recently launched a satellite office in Arizona and held a joint “Redfest Rally” with other Arizona conservative organizations Friday night to discuss getting conservative legislators into leadership positions in the Arizona Legislature. State Rep. Joseph Chaplik (R-Scottsdale) is vying for Speaker of the House, likely facing off against House Majority Leader Ben Toma (R-Peoria), and State Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) is going up against longtime State Sen. David Gowan (R-Sierra Vista). 

Chaplik told the crowd that people don’t trust the “fractured caucus” that exists currently under the leadership of House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa), who lost his primary election earlier this month due to defeating numerous conservative bills including many election integrity bills. Chaplik called the legislature a “cesspool” of “sham favoritism,” and said Arizonans can expect a “more conservative caucus” in 2023. 

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Arizona State Legislators Jake Hoffman, Neal Carter, and Warren Petersen Top Republican Liberty Caucus’s 2022 Rankings

The Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona (RLCAZ) released its 2022 rankings of Arizona legislators based on how they voted to advance or restrict liberty, and eight scored a perfect 100 or above. State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) and State Rep. Neal Carter (R-Casa Grande) tied with 106 for the top scores in the State House, and State Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) received the highest score in the State Senate, 102.

Hoffman told The Arizona Sun Times, “It’s an honor to be recognized for my efforts to defend liberty. I am humbled to be one of the highest scoring members of the Arizona legislature; however, while I’m grateful for the recognition, it’s not why I, or any of the other top scorers, fight so hard to defend constitutionally limited government. We do it because we take our oath of office and the Constitution seriously. Unlike so many in the swamp, we view elected service as an awesome responsibility to fight for the people we represent at all times, especially when it’s unpopular amongst the political establishment to do so.”

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State Rep. Jake Hoffman Only Arizona Legislator to Score 100 Percent in American Conservative Union’s 2021 Ratings

The American Conservative Union rates members of Congress and state legislators every year, and this past year Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Mesa) was the only member of the Arizona Legislature to receive a perfect 100% rating. Other high scorers included Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Mesa), Rep. Judy Burges (R-Prescott), and Rep. Travis Grantham (R-Gilbert), who scored 98%.

The lowest scoring Republicans were Sen. T.J. Shope (R-Florence) with 78%, Rep. John Joel (R-Buckeye) with 71%, Rep. Joanne Osborne (R-Goodyear) with 73%, Rep. David Cook (R-Globe) with 76%, the late Rep. Frank Pratt (R-Casa Grande) with 77%, and Rep. Tim Dunn (R-Yuma) with 78%.

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Major Conservative Groups Join Arizona Legislators to Launch New Arizona Voter ID Ballot Initiative Effort

A coalition of conservative organizations is working with Arizona Republican legislators to put the Arizonans for Voter ID Act on the ballot next fall. The initiative will require voter ID on mail-in ballots, improve existing in-person voter ID requirements, prevent ballot harvesting by enhancing voter ID requirements for in-person ballot drop off, and provide a free voter ID option to lawfully registered Arizona voters who need it for voting. 

Scott Mussi, President of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, which is spearheading the initiative, said in a statement, “This initiative will ensure that no matter when you vote, where you vote, or how you vote, identification will be required.” The AFEC went on, “Arizonans use these forms of identification commonly in their everyday lives to purchase alcohol or cigarettes, obtain a driver’s license, board a commercial flight, donate blood, open a bank account, purchase a firearm, receive unemployment benefits, obtain auto insurance, purchase or rent a home, confirm identity over the phone, and many other basic transactions.”

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Warren Petersen, Shawnna Bolick Top Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona’s 2021 Scorecard

Warren Petersen and Shawnna Bolick

The Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona released its 2021 scorecard rating Arizona legislators this session, with just two legislators receiving perfect scores — and one of them actually scored 102 due to bonus points. Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) received an extra two points for his efforts on SCR 1001, a Senate Concurrent Resolution to terminate Governor Doug Ducey’s declaration of emergency on COVID-19. The resolution was highly critical of Ducey, observing that “Governor Ducey has subjected individual citizens to criminal sanctions for noncompliance with the stay-at-home orders.” It did not make it through the legislature.

Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), who is running for Arizona Secretary of State, was the only representative to receive a perfect 100. Rep. Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa) received the Rookie of the Year award as the highest scoring freshman legislator, with 94. Petersen, Bolick and Parker were among seven legislators to receive perfect scores earlier this month from the Arizona Free Enterprise Club for their voting. 

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Seven State Legislators Score 100 Percent in Arizona Free Enterprise Club Rankings

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club gathered in a conference room

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club completed its rankings of how Arizona legislators performed during the 2021 legislative session, and one Senator and six House members scored a perfect 100%. AFEC ranked them based on election integrity, income tax policy, “regulatory relief and ongoing government overreach from the covid-19 pandemic, banning critical race theory in our taxpayer-funded institutions and school choice.”

The seven legislators with a perfect score are Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) and Reps. Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa), Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), John Fillmore (R-Apache Junction), Joseph Chaplik (R-Scottsdale), Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), and Travis Grantham (R-Gilbert). 

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Arizona House Passes Sentencing Reform Bill, But Passage in the Senate Remains Uncertain

The Arizona House of Representatives passed a sentencing reform bill on Monday, but due to a Senate committee chair failing to bring a similar bill up for a vote in the Senate earlier this year, SB 1064, it’s not clear whether it will make it through the Senate. SB 1064 would relax sentencing laws, which are some of the strictest in the nation. According to Arizona Prison & Sentencing Reform, the state has the fourth highest incarceration rate. Inmates are currently required to serve 85% of their sentences, but the bill would reduce that to as little as one third of their sentences. Inmates who complete self-improvement programs such as substance abuse treatment and maintain good behavior while in prison can receive time off their sentences.

The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, with legislators voting 50-8 in favor. The previous version of the bill, HB 2173, didn’t get very far in the Senate, since Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) declined to hear the legislation in his committee. The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowfake), decided to get around Petersen with the new legislation by using a strike-everything amendment. He amended a bill that had already passed out of the Senate, so it can go straight to the Senate floor for a vote. However, it is up to Sen. President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) to bring it up for a vote. There is little time left, since the legislative session will likely end this week, according to the AZ Mirror. 

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