Democrats seething as Gov. Ducey signs anti-abortion, anti-transgender, anti-voting rights bills

Jeremy Beren

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Governor Doug Ducey speaking with attendees at the 2022 Converge Tech Summit.Gage Skidmore/Flickr

By Jeremy Beren / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ

(Phoenix, Ariz.) — Arizona governor Doug Ducey on Wednesday drew outrage from Democrats around the state as he signed multiple bills targeting abortion, future elections, and transgender rights.

In a press release, the Republican governor announced he had signed House Bill 2492 into law, legislation "furthering Arizona's position as a leader in election integrity."

"Election integrity means counting every lawful vote and prohibiting any attempt to illegally cast a vote," Ducey said via the news release. "(This bill) is a balanced approach that honors Arizona’s history of making voting accessible without sacrificing security in our elections."

Democratic lawmakers in the state beg to differ.

"This is a dark day for Arizona," House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding said in a press release. "With the stroke of his pen, Governor Ducey has hurled Arizona backwards to its ugliest past. Today he put the lives of pregnant people and transgender youth in danger, curtailed voting rights for communities of color, and rolled up the welcome mat and painted the state we love as intolerant and hateful."

HB2492 levies new voter registration requirements on all Arizonans, primarily the ability to present proof of citizenship. Despite Ducey's contention that HB2492 is "honoring Arizona's history of making voting accessible," the American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday pledged to challenge the new law in federal court.

"AZ will be spending your taxpayer (dollars) to defend this bill in court because Ducey and the @AZGOP care more about their politics than actually protecting the integrity of our elections. What a waste," state Sen. Martín Quezada tweeted.

Ducey signed three more bills into law on Wednesday, all of which originated in the Republican-controlled Arizona State Senate. The "common-sense" Senate Bill 1138 prevents a person from receiving any kind of gender confirmation procedure until they reach 18 years of age, and this law is expected to prompt another ACLU lawsuit.

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State Sen. Warren Petersen sponsored SB1138.Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Senate Bill 1164, which passed the state House last Thursday, continues Arizona Republicans' "commitment to protecting preborn children" by banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Senate Bill 1165, dubbed the "Save Women's Sports Act" by Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, is inherently discriminatory — it does not allow transgender girls to compete alongside cisgender girls in sporting events.

“S.B. 1165 creates a statewide policy to ensure that biologically female athletes at Arizona public schools, colleges, and universities have a level playing field to compete," Ducey said. “Every young Arizona athlete should have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities that give them a sense of belonging and allow them to grow and thrive.”

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State Sen. Nancy Barto sponsored SB1165.Gage Skidmore/Flickr

The other side of the aisle does not buy this explanation.

"I am in firm solidarity with transgender Arizonans and their families that are targeted by hateful bills signed into law today," Rep. Athena Salman tweeted. "Trans rights are human rights and we will fight for a country that recognizes this fundamental fact, regardless of the adversity we face."

Analise Ortiz, a Democrat running for the state House from Legislative District 24, told NewsBreak that these bills will only cause further harm and sow more division in Arizona's communities.

"It's so frustrating that while we're dealing with severely underfunded schools, an affordable housing crisis, and a lack of access to healthcare, this is what the state legislature is choosing to focus on," Ortiz said. "I stand on the side of people who are impacted by these bills throughout the (upcoming) court battles."

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Jeremy is a freelance journalist covering health, energy, labor, and local politics. Reach him at jeremy.beren@newsbreak.com.

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