Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday vetoed 22 bills, saying he will not sign anything until the legislature passes a budget.
The move angered Republicans and Democrats alike, with GOP members lashing out over Ducey's vetoes of bills that would have prohibited Critical Race Theory (CRT) training of government workers and another that would have prohibited mass mailing of ballots to voters who did not request them.
Ducey wrote on Twitter:
"Today, I vetoed 22 bills. Some are good policy, but with one month left until the end of the fiscal year, we need to focus first on passing a budget. That should be priority one. The other stuff can wait. Once the budget passes, I'm willing to consider some of these other issues. But until then, I will not be signing any additional bills. Let's focus on our jobs, get to work and pass the budget."
Republicans have only a one-vote majority in both houses of the legislature, and were unable to muster enough votes to pass the budget as talks fell apart last week over a flat-tax issue, the Arizona Mirror reported.
"Truthfully, I'm not happy about it, but it's a civics lesson reminder that it takes 31-16-1 to be successful here; sometimes we forget about the one," House Speaker Rusty Bowers said. "I believe that the proposed budget is good, and I'm determined to keep working with our diverse caucus until there is unity to move forward. I'm optimistic that will happen soon."
Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward called Ducey's vetoes "ridiculous," tweeting:
"Twenty two bills that the legislative branch worked all session on. Bills that went through the process & passed & went to the executive's desk. This tyrannical approach is dangerous to what #WeThePeople in AZ support. #ElectionIntegrity #StopCRT"
Senate Bill 1074 targeted Critical Race Theory. It would have prohibited any training for government employees involving racism and sexism "that presents any form of blame or judgment on the basis of race, ethnicity or sex."
House Bill 2792 would have made it a felony for an election official to send a ballot to a voter who did not request one. That bill, according to the Mirror, was written in response to Democratic election officials, including former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, who tried to send early ballots to all voters during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.
Fontes was barred from carrying out his plan by a Maricopa County judge.
Among the other vetoed bills were one to put new requirements on how pregnant prison inmates are treated, one to allow certain sex offenders to petition for change of status after 10 years of non-offense, and one to require emergency shelter for homeless seniors.
Former Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer issued similar ultimatums on non-budget legislation in 2012 and 2013.
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