Hobbs vetoes vaccine religious exemption, homeless visibility bills

Hobbs vetoes vaccine religious exemption, homeless visibility bills

Hobbs, veto, homelessness, vaccines, Kavanagh, Shamp
Gov. Katie Hobbs speaks with attendees at the 2023 Converge Tech Summit at The Waste Management Phoenix Open at the 17th Hole Skybox at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale on Feb. 8. Hobbs added to her veto tally on March 30, rejecting two more measures approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature. (Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

Gov. Katie Hobbs added to her veto tally Thursday, rejecting two more measures approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

In her first message, Hobbs called SB 1250 “unnecessary.”

That measure would have spelled out that individuals are entitled to claim they have a religious reason to refuse an employer’s requirement that they get inoculated against Covid or flu or take any vaccine which has been granted “emergency use authorization” by the Food and Drug Administration.

Sen. Janae Shamp, R-Surprise, said the measure was personal with her.

Shamp, who is a nurse, said she lost her job because she refused to get vaccinated. And she said that is what spurred her to run for office.

Hobbs, in her veto letter, said religious protections against having to take vaccines already exist in federal law.

But what SB 1250 would have done is effectively require the employer to accept the worker’s claim by limiting the ability to inquire further to determine its veracity.

Hobbs also said she objected to the fact that employers would be subject to $5,000 in any case where the Attorney General’s Office concluded the company was not in compliance with the law. The governor said that “could be devastating for Arizona’s many small businesses.”

“Let’s work to find bipartisan solutions that promote the educated and healthy workforce that is essential for Arizona’s economy,” the governor wrote.

Hobbs separately rejected SB 1024.

Kavanagh, homelessness, veto, Senate bill
Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills

That measure, sought by Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, was aimed at dealing with one of the visible effects of homelessness.

It would have made it illegal to erect or maintain any sort of housing enclosure on any public street, highway, alley, lane, parkway, sidewalk or other right-of-way. And that was defined to include a tent, tarp, box or similar object.

Kavanagh actually had proposed a much broader measure, one that would have kept anyone from lying, sleeping or sitting on a sidewalk or other right of way unless the person is experiencing a physical emergency or if there is some sort of permit for a fair, parade, concert, fireworks display or similar event. But Kavanagh said other lawmakers said that was overly broad.

He also agreed to drop his original proposal to make it a crime, instead settling for a civil violation, which would instead be subject to only a fine.

Hobbs said the measure has no merit.

“We need to address Arizona’s housing and homelessness crisis in a comprehensive manner,” she wrote.

“Rather than solving these issues in a meaningful way, this bill only makes them less visible,” the governor continued. “Now, more than ever, it’s important that we are clear-eyed about the challenges we face and the urgency required to overcome them.”

The two vetoes bring Hobbs to 20 since lawmakers convened in early January. The record is held by Democratic former Gov. Janet Napolitano, who nixed 58 bills in 2005.