Wide Range Of Reform-Minded Policies Enacted During Successful Legislative Session
With the completion of the legislative session and all bills officially off Governor Doug Ducey’s desk, here’s a highlight of some impactful reforms enacted that will benefit Arizonans in every corner of the state:
Protecting Our Second Amendment Rights
H.B. 2810 updates Arizona’s civil asset forfeiture laws to align them with the constitution, while making sure law enforcement professionals can go after criminals who profit from their crimes. S.B. 1832 protects Arizonans’ 2nd Amendment rights during states of emergency by considering gun stores as essential businesses. Also, firearms manufacturers will not be held unfairly liable for criminal actions taken by individuals, cementing Arizona’s reputation as the most second amendment friendly state in the nation.
The Governor also signed H.B. 2111 to safeguard Arizonans’ constitutional right to bear arms by preventing the use of any state resources from enforcing any federal law that conflicts with the Second Amendment.
Law and Order
With Arizona’s budget, we dedicated $55 million dollars to stop human trafficking, prevent the entry of criminals and contraband into the United States and help construct and maintain a border wall on state land. H.B. 2462 and H.B. 2893 protect law enforcement officers by making certain the people who sit on “Civilian Review Boards” are qualified to make informed decisions about investigating misconduct. They will be required to complete a community college police academy to guarantee they have the proper education. Additionally, two-thirds of the members who do investigations must be certified law enforcement officers.
Accountable and Limited Government
Arizonans deserve consistent, constitutional and conservative government. This year, the Governor signed bills to make sure all levels of government provide a hands-off approach to the citizens of Arizona.
H.B. 2310, S.B. 1481 and H.B 2893 create a comprehensive package directing the Attorney General to review any Presidential Executive Order that violates U.S, Constitutional rights or any local ordinance that violates the Arizona Constitution. With H.B. 2112 and H.B. 2400, cities and towns will be required to take meaningful steps to inform citizens of any ordinance that would require a new tax or fine.
Business and Regulatory Freedom
Businesses and organizations should not be burdened by excessive government regulations.
S.B. 1377 protects businesses that are acting in good faith from frivolous lawsuits during a public health pandemic. S.B. 1258 and H.B. 2570 protect businesses, as well as license and permit-holders, by limiting the expiration of permits during an emergency, under most circumstances. H.B. 2770 reiterates, in law, that most businesses are not required to enforce mask mandates.
Educational freedom is essential. In Arizona, parents are in the driver’s seat when it comes to choosing the best education for their child — not the government.
H.B. 2898 requires district schools to maintain open enrollment processes that are truly open and fair so all Arizona families can easily access the school that best fits their learning needs — with minimal paperwork or hoops to jump through. It also makes significant improvements to the Empowerment Scholarship Account Program, which gained momentum during the pandemic as families sought alternative options to keep their kids on track.
This legislation also prevents schools from requiring student and staff vaccinations, and makes it clear that wearing a face covering at school is an individual choice — not a mandate. A separate bill, S.B. 1825, establishes these rights for all public colleges and universities in the state.
Banning Critical Race Theory
H.B. 2898 also prohibits Critical Race Theory in our public schools, making sure students cannot be taught that one race, ethnic group or sex is in any way superior to another, or that anyone should be discriminated against on the basis of these characteristics. The law allows a fine of up to $5,000 for schools that violate the law.
Responsible, Conservative Tax Relief
Arizona’s economy is booming, and that has resulted in record revenue. Our budget returns those dollars to the taxpayer, and avoids a 77 percent tax increase on small businesses.
Arizona is now on track to have one of the most competitive individual income taxes in the nation, and the lowest flat tax rate. This reform represents the largest tax cut in state history at approximately $1.9 billion in savings for taxpayers when fully phased in.
Arizona’s tax reform provides:
A flat, 2.5 percent single income tax rate over the next three years - resulting in a savings for every taxpayer
A tax rate cap of 4.5 percent - the same top rate taxpayers have faced in Arizona for years
A new small business alternate tax - protecting Arizona small businesses from any possible individual income tax increases going forward
A full exemption for our veterans pension payments, reduced business and homeowner property tax rates, an affordable housing tax credit, and more
Arizona has strong election laws that make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. This session, Governor Ducey signed legislation that builds on our strong system and bolsters public confidence in the security and integrity of our elections.
S.B. 1485 works to maintain a secure and verified voter list, now known as the Active Early Voter List (AEVL) for those individuals who wish to vote early and/or via mail. In conjunction with this bill, H.B. 2054 requires, rather than allows, election officers to use death records to remove voters from voter registration lists. With H.B. 2569, Arizona banned the use of private grant monies for administration of elections operations to prevent private parties from having influence over our elections.
S.B. 1002 protects voter privacy by prohibiting election officials from printing a voter’s party preference on the outside envelope of an early ballot. S.B. 1003 requires that a county elections officer makes a reasonable attempt to contact and notify an elector of a missing signature on a returned early ballot. Additionally, H.B. 2359 requires that all voting machines will be secured and properly stored to prevent unauthorized tampering.