The Arizona Supreme Court’s Ruling Against Budget Bills Creates Uncertainty and Frustration

The Arizona Supreme Court’s Ruling Against Budget Bills Creates Uncertainty and Frustration

Devastating. That’s how it felt earlier this week when the Arizona Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s ruling in Arizona School Boards Association v. State of Arizona. This decision strikes down critical reforms contained in a series of Budget Reconciliation Bills passed by lawmakers and signed by Governor Ducey earlier this year.

And it’s a big blow to the people of Arizona.

This past July, Arizona lawmakers took important steps to protect our state from more COVID mandates and government overreach. Among the laws passed were bans on:

    • A county, city, or town from issuing COVID ordinances that impact private businesses, schools, churches, or other private entities, including mask mandates.
    • K-12 schools from requiring vaccines with an emergency use authorization for in-person attendance.
    • The state and any city, town, or county from establishing COVID vaccine passports or requiring COVID vaccines.
    • Public universities and community colleges from mandating COVID vaccines and vaccine passports.
    • A city, town, county, school board, or charter school from mandating students and teachers to be vaccinated or wear masks.

But COVID wasn’t the only thing these Budget Reconciliation Bills addressed. With children around the country being taught that by virtue of their race, they are inherently racist, state lawmakers also banned the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public schools. And rightfully so. Our country was founded on the principle of equal dignity of every person as an individual. That’s why Critical Race Theory has no place anywhere in our nation, especially in our schools.

Now, the Arizona Supreme Court has struck down these important reforms on procedural grounds. And by doing so, it has created even more uncertainty and frustration in our state during a period of time that has already had plenty of challenges and confusion.

But make no mistake, while this ruling is devastating, it will not stop the battle over these critical issues. There’s just too much at stake.

Vaccine mandates are one of the most extreme infringements on both businesses and individual rights in U.S. history. And they have already caused staffing shortages that have left hospitals overwhelmed and jeopardized public safety at a time when violent crime is on the rise.

Masks mandates have been one of the most contentious issues since the pandemic first hit. And masks on kids have been even worse, possibly causing psychological harm with no study to back them up.

And parents are catching on to what’s going on in their children’s schools. Now, they are fed up with public school districts hiding curriculum while attempting to indoctrinate their children in dangerous ideologies.

That’s why the Arizona Free Enterprise Club is urging both the state legislature and Governor Ducey to immediately address the critical reforms that the Supreme court struck down. They must exhaust every option possible, including special session, to protect Arizonans from more COVID mandates and the bigoted teachings of Critical Race Theory.

Because if the uncertainty and frustration caused by these issues are allowed to continue, it would be the most devastating news of all.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

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Campaign Finance Report Shows Referendum Against Tax Cuts Was Purchased by Out-of-State Special Interest Groups

Campaign Finance Report Shows Referendum Against Tax Cuts Was Purchased by Out-of-State Special Interest Groups

Invest in Arizona wants you to believe that they ran a grassroots campaign. But that notion is absurd. And you don’t need to look very far to find out.

Recently, the political committee filed its campaign finance report. And lo and behold, what does it show? That the National Education Association (NEA) and Stand for Children, two out-of-state special interest groups, purchased the referendum against historic tax cuts that Republicans delivered earlier this year.

Just look at the numbers. In Quarter 3, Invest in Arizona received just over $16,000 from individual donors. Now, compare that to the nearly $2.4 million it received from the NEA and the more than $2.3 million it received in cash, goods, and services from Stand for Children.

That’s more than $4.5 million—basically their entire budget—with the overwhelming majority spent on gathering signatures.

So much for “grassroots,” eh?

Of course, Stand for Children is trying to claim that its money came from its Phoenix office. But these groups can’t be trusted. In 2020, Stand for Children was funding Invest in Ed from its headquarters in Portland, Oregon, which the Club pointed out here and here. But now we’re supposed to believe that its Phoenix office miraculously developed the ability to start writing 7-figure checks to fund Invest in Arizona?

Either the Phoenix chapter became a fundraising behemoth overnight, or more than likely, the Portland headquarters has been laundering their money to a Phoenix address..

But that’s not even the worst part.

In order to buy their way onto the ballot, these out-of-state special interest groups flooded the streets with hundreds of paid circulators to gather signatures. And you probably won’t be surprised to find out that many of them weren’t following the law. Some failed to fully and properly register with the Secretary of State. Some did not correctly disclose their assigned circulator registration numbers. And some were felons.

That’s right. Invest in Arizona used convicted felons whose civil rights had not been fully restored to circulate its ballot measure.

For all these reasons, the signatures they gathered illegally should be void. That’s why the Arizona Free Enterprise Club filed a lawsuit last week to challenge the validity of over half the signatures Invest in Arizona submitted to the Secretary of State.

It’s clear that these groups are upset that Prop 208 was put on its deathbed by the Arizona Supreme Court back in August. And now, they want to stick it to the people of Arizona by trying to stop them from receiving some much-needed tax relief.

Invest in Arizona is making a farce of the referendum process. It was never intended to be used by Washington, D.C. teachers’ unions that disapprove of the decisions made by Arizona lawmakers. And while the fate of Invest in Arizona’s astroturf referendum is still unclear, the Club will not be deterred from fighting back against out-of-state special interest groups that parachute into our state trying to buy our ballot box.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

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Arizonans Deserve Better Than Elections Based on the “Honor System”

Arizonans Deserve Better Than Elections Based on the “Honor System”

When lawmakers fought to pass SB1485 earlier this year, legislation designed to clean up Arizona’s early voter list, the radical left and mainstream media went ballistic. Their attacks against the bill were relentless, ill-informed, and unhinged. Not only did they argue that mail-in voter fraud really isn’t a problem, they declared that any attempt at stopping ballots being mailed to ineligible voters is nothing short of Jim Crow.

It didn’t matter to them the stories that almost everyone has heard or experienced personally. Like the story of a sitting US Congressman who received a mail-in ballot for his mother who had passed away 10 years ago.

Or how in one case, a voter’s cousin moved out of the country in 2011. The county was notified of the move, and no ballot was received in 2012 or 2014. Then in 2016, ballots started arriving once again. Not only had her cousin moved 5 years prior and informed the county, but she had also only ever voted in person and wasn’t on PEVL. And despite additional notifications that her cousin had moved, another ballot was received in 2018 and for this year’s local election.

State Representative Travis Grantham received one in the mail too – for his sister who hasn’t lived here for 15 years and votes in California.

Why would anyone be OK with a mail-in voting system that is this sloppy? Even for those skeptical about the concerns of voter fraud, the sheer waste of taxpayer money associated with sending ballots to ineligible voters is reason enough to merit reform and stop the abuse.

Yet incredibly, the response from election officials has been to shrug their shoulders. For them, it doesn’t matter if a ballot is sent to the wrong address because someone would have to willfully commit a crime and forge the voter’s signature. Did you catch that? Creating opportunities for fraud isn’t a big deal because we have laws on the books against fraud.

Following that logic, everyone should rest at ease and get rid of their home security systems. Haven’t they heard? Breaking and entering is already illegal. No need to have alarms and deterrents because an individual would have to willfully commit a crime to break into their home.

The notion that we don’t need mechanisms in place to deter voter fraud is tantamount to believing that our elections should be conducted on the honor system. No proof of citizenship? No problem, just check a box on our voter registration form. We will believe that you’re a US Citizen. No ID to vote? Don’t worry, we trust that you are who you say you are.

It’s a laughable response to a serious problem. And the fact that voters have witnessed this problem during this off-year all-mail election lines up perfectly with one of the Audit Report findings. Over 23,000 early ballots were mailed to and cast by individuals who had moved prior to the ballots even being sent by the county.

That’s why maintaining clean and current voter rolls is imperative, and it’s why the Audit Report included it repetitively as a recommendation to lawmakers. Ballots would not be mailed to ineligible voters if the voter rolls were clean and up to date.

Additionally, lawmakers need to look at the statutes authorizing these ballot-by-mail elections. Every election must allow for an in-person voting option. An all-mail election is voter suppression, suppressing the votes of citizens who do not trust voting by mail, prefer to vote in person, or perhaps cannot even receive and send mail or have unreliable mail service.

Arizonans don’t want honor system voting. We want an election system that is both accessible and secure – where it is easy to vote and hard to cheat. We want to trust that voter rolls are clean, and that fraud is deterred and punished when it does occur.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

The Arizona Supreme Court Should Uphold New Laws Banning Mask Mandates, Vaccine Mandates, and Critical Race Theory

The Arizona Supreme Court Should Uphold New Laws Banning Mask Mandates, Vaccine Mandates, and Critical Race Theory

This past July, Arizona lawmakers and Governor Ducey did the right thing. Through a series of Budget Reconciliation Bills, they took important steps to protect the people of Arizona from more COVID mandates and to prevent children from being indoctrinated in public schools by Critical Race Theory.

While COVID was certainly an issue that warranted some action, it never should have included trampling on the rights of the people. And we definitely should not be wasting tax dollars on lessons that teach public school students that one race, ethnic group, or sex is in any way superior to another.

Not surprisingly, these laws sent teachers’ unions into a tailspin. As students headed back to campus, some Arizona schools decided to teach students that it’s ok to violate the law. And the Arizona Board of Regents recently announced that all three state universities will require their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 8.

Then, there’s the lawsuit. In August, the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) joined with several other groups to sue the State of Arizona to stop the ban on mask mandates, vaccine mandates, and Critical Race Theory.

In fact, they believe in their lawsuit so much that a month later, the ASBA turned around and held a conference indoors where multiple attendees were maskless! Rules for thee, but not for me, apparently.

Unfortunately, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper struck down our state’s ban on mask mandates, vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, and Critical Race Theory last month. Thankfully, it didn’t take long before Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich appealed to our state’s Supreme Court.

The justices will hear the case on November 2, and there’s a lot at stake.

If the Arizona Supreme Court fails to uphold these laws, it would set a new precedent where courts could come in after the fact to determine whether provisions in Budget Reconciliation Bills are necessary to implement the budget. Determining the relationship of policy and budget appropriations is a delicate issue, and the Supreme Court needs to be careful not to set a bad precedent that empowers unelected judges to strike down laws that have a direct budgetary relationship simply because they don’t like the new policy.

Make no mistake, a ruling from the state’s highest court against these laws will not stop the battle over these critical issues. And we all know how that’s gone so far:

    • Masks on kids may cause psychological harm with no study to back them up.
    • Hospitals are overwhelmed and public safety is at risk because of staffing shortages caused by the vaccine mandate.
    • Parents around the state are catching on and speaking up against Critical Race Theory in their children’s public schools.

We will know soon enough if the Supreme Court upholds these critical laws. If they do not, then Governor Ducey and Attorney General Brnovich MUST NOT back down. They must exhaust all options to protect the people of Arizona from COVID mandates, Critical Race Theory, and more government overreach.

After all, your tax dollars should not be funding political commentary in our schools. And the government must be stopped from any more unlawful power grabs.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

If Hospitals Are Overwhelmed, Maybe They Should Stop Threatening to Fire Staff

If Hospitals Are Overwhelmed, Maybe They Should Stop Threatening to Fire Staff

As if COVID hysteria hasn’t been bad enough, President Biden took it to the next level last month. In a troubling press conference, Biden announced vaccine mandates for private companies that employ 100 or more people—making sure to emphasize that this is not about “freedom or personal choice.”

But this wasn’t the first time we’d heard about mandatory vaccines. Some employers around the country, especially those in healthcare, already had their own mandates in place.

And so far, the consequences have been disastrous. In the past month:

    • One hospital in New York (which had announced its own vaccine mandate in August) had to pause delivering babies after experiencing mass staff resignations due to the vaccine mandate.
    • Also, in New York, Governor Hochul had to deploy the National Guard to fill hospital staff shortages.
    • In Houston, 153 hospital staff members either resigned or were fired for refusing to get the vaccine.
    • And in Louisiana, the CEO of the state’s largest hospital system said in August that they “cannot find” nurses to bring in for help with the shortages. So, what did he do about it? The hospital doubled down on its mandate, now instituting fines for employees with unvaccinated spouses!

Arizona certainly hasn’t been immune to the problem. Right here in our very own state, one hospital administrator told AZ Free News that there have been issues ensuring beds at smaller hospitals due to delays in replacing equipment. But the main issue, the administrator said, is that Arizona’s larger hospital chains are losing staff due to the vaccine mandates.

Despite all this, the establishment media continues to beat the same drum. They want you to believe that hospitals are near or over capacity even though the current wave, which is subsiding, has been much smaller than previous waves.

But perhaps the problem isn’t more cases and COVID hospitalizations. Perhaps the problem is that hospitals are overwhelmed because they are experiencing staffing shortages due to the vaccine mandate. Or what if the capacity issues are tied to other contagious illnesses, such as RSV? Or maybe it’s because people are now starting to deal with other ailments and elective surgeries that they’ve been putting off because of COVID.

Of course, corporate media doesn’t want to look into these possibilities. Nor do they want to ask questions about why so many good healthcare professionals, who have stood on the frontlines of the pandemic, are refusing the vaccine.

Instead, they want to turn these medical professionals into villains, simply because they refuse to fall into line and get the jab. No dissent, discussion, or debate is allowed in the woke media echo chamber.

These divisive and authoritarian tactics must stop. If someone wants to get a vaccine for COVID, or anything else, they should have the freedom to do so. And if they don’t want the vaccine, that should be their choice.

But no free people should ever be compelled by force of government into certain medical decisions they disagree with.

Giving up that freedom could cost us a lot. And now, it’s costing us a lot of vital healthcare professionals—and some hospital beds.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.