It was a day of celebration for human rights advocates when Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs put the kibosh on a bill aiming to restrict restroom access for transgender students. This is just one in a series of over 100 bills that the Democratic governor has dismissed since taking her oath earlier this year, marking her as a relentless defender of civil liberties.
The contentious proposal suggested a narrow-minded move to create single-occupancy restrooms for transgender students or to relegate them to school employees’ restrooms. In addition, it sought to prohibit school staff from using accurate pronouns for transgender students without obtaining prior consent from parents or guardians. This provision threatened to force many transgender students into the painful predicament of either revealing their identity to their parents prematurely or enduring the distress of being misgendered.
Since assuming office, Governor Hobbs has vetoed roughly 111 bills, many of which were right-wing attempts to infringe on the rights of LGBTQ+ youth in the state. This veto spree is a shining testament to Hobbs’ commitment to equality, despite claims of election fraud from her Republican contender Kari Lake during the 2022 gubernatorial race.
Affirming her commitment to protecting trans kids, Governor Hobbs pledged to thwart any forthcoming bills aiming to harm them. “I will veto every bill that aims to attack and harm children,” Hobbs said. She expressed her admiration for the young students who voiced their opposition to the bill, vowing to be an unwavering ally.
Governor Hobbs has also recently axed other regressive bills, including:
- Senate Bill 1413, aimed at demolishing homeless encampments and criminalizing the unhoused.
- Senate Bill 1265, sought to ban ranked choice voting in the state, regardless of the fact that this system isn’t even in use anywhere in Arizona.
- Senate Bill 1146, proposed to bar state investment in companies that support organizations that “promote” abortions for minors.
Governor Hobbs’ proactive stance against discriminatory laws seems to resonate well with Arizonians. A March poll reveals a strong approval rating of 43 percent, with only 30 percent disapproval. The rising popularity of Governor Hobbs could be a stark wake-up call for GOP lawmakers to rethink their focus on divisive culture wars and conspiracy theories about election fraud.
Republican political consultant Chuck Coughlin expressed this sentiment well: “I’ve been telling Republicans that talk to us down at the legislature, if they continue in the manner they’re currently behaving, they will be a minority at the end of ’24.”
In these turbulent times, leaders like Governor Hobbs are crucial to upholding democratic values and safeguarding the rights of marginalized communities. With her at the helm, Arizona seems to be on the path to progress and inclusivity.