Legislative Republicans spend time attacking voting rights, women; Fail to Support Arizonans through Pandemic

PHOENIX, AZ – More than three weeks into session and Arizona Republicans have introduced a series of bills that ignore the needs of Arizonans despite being number one in the nation for COVID-19 cases.

Rep. Walt Blackman filed legislation (HB 2650) that allows county attorneys to pursue murder charges against women and doctors for providing or receiving an abortion; Senator Ugenti-Rita introduced legislation (SB1069) that would purge hundreds of thousands of voters from the permanent vote by mail list and proposed restrictions on the ability of county recorders to hold voter registration drives on non-governmental property (SB1358); Rep. Kevin Payne introduced a bill (HB 2370) that would completely eliminate the early vote system in Arizona; State Senator Paul Boyer’s bill (SB1452) would expand private school vouchers, continuing to drain public education funding, and passed out of committee along party lines. The list goes on and on.

“It’s frustrating to see Republicans continue to ignore the needs of Arizonans and dismiss the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that thousands of Arizonans are out of work, small businesses are struggling and closing their doors, and families are concerned about staying in their homes.

Instead, Republicans are focused on punishing women, draining money from public schools, and restricting access to the ballot. These priorities are not just anti-democracy, they are anti-Arizona.

We know that helping families and small businesses through the pandemic is the best course of action to keep our economy growing and get people back to work. Instead of attacking our democracy, let’s get Arizonans back to work and help everyone in our state thrive.” says Liz Luna, Deputy Executive Director of the ADLCC

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BACKGROUND:

AZ Central: Why is Arizona worst for COVID-19 nationwide? Here are 7 contributing reasons. – For most of January, Arizona has had the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in a nation that has led the world in its number of positive cases and deaths.

AZ Central: Arizona legislature considers changing election laws, fallout from Trump losing Arizona – It’s officially President Biden’s time in office now. But the aftermath of the November 3 election is still playing out in Arizona. At the State Legislature, lawmakers will soon begin deciding on a number of bills aimed at changing the state’s election law.

KJZZ: Arizona Bill would limit county recorder-led voter registration drives to government property – Republican Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita is proposing restrictions on the ability of county recorders in Arizona to hold voter registration drives on non-government property. 

AZ Central: GOP Lawmaker introduces bill to eliminate early voting list in Arizona following Democrats’ win – Arizona legislators proposed on Tuesday to abolish the permanent early voting list — which 3.2 million of the state’s voters use to get their ballots in the mail for each election — and to require anyone voting by mail get their ballot notarized.

AZ Central: Arizona bills would open school vouchers to nearly all students after voters rejected expansion – Just over two years since Arizona voters resoundingly rejected an expansion of school vouchers to all students, the Legislature is back with a set of bills that would widely expand the pool of eligible students. 

AZ Family: Arizona bill introduced that charges women who get abortions and their doctors with murder – An Arizona state lawmaker is pushing a new bill to charge women who get abortions and their doctors with murder. Rep. Walt Blackman, R-Prescott, filed legislation that allows county attorneys to pursue murder charges against women and doctors for providing or receiving an abortion. He said he has the support of nine other Republicans.

Legislation that will help families, schools, and small businesses through the pandemic:

SB1039 – eviction prevention; study committee (Engel, LD10)

SB1666 – affordable housing; appropriation (Engel, LD10)

HB2730 – public schools; 2020-2021; 2021-2022; funding (Schwiebert, LD20)

SB1611 – landlord-tenant; rent increase limitations (Quezada, LD29)

SB1227 – study committee on class sizes (Marsh, LD28)

HB2282 – small business assistance grants (Lieberman, LD28)

SB1715 – unemployment insurance; definition; benefit amount (Bowie, LD18)

SB1757 – essential workers; minimum wage; overtime (Quezada, LD29)