The Arizona 2022 legislative session ended early Saturday morning with incredible, groundbreaking victories for life, parental rights, educational freedom, religious freedom, child protections, and more. When the Legislature adjourned sine die, it had passed 11 CAP-supported bills, 8 of which Governor Ducey has already signed.
Thanks be to God!
This has been one of CAP’s most successful legislative sessions, thanks to pro-life, pro-family lawmakers and supporters. Arizona has taken major steps forward in the fight to protect life and the wellbeing of mothers, children from unnecessary and irreversible gender surgeries, parental authority over their children, and much more.
Here’s the overview of the bills with links. More info is available on CAP’s Bill Tracker.
In the waning hours of the session, lawmakers sent CAP-supported HB 2853 to Gov. Ducey. Sponsored by Rep. Ben Toma, the groundbreaking legislation extends universal school choice to every child in Arizona. Previously the law only qualified certain groups of students. Governor Ducey’s anticipated signature will enable every child in Arizona to qualify for an empowerment scholarship account (ESA), meaning their parents are able to choose the education best meeting their child’s needs.
HB 2583 will unleash opportunities for students struggling in their current public schools and benefit families looking for options for their children.
SB 1164 – (Sen. Barto) – Prohibits abortions after 15-weeks gestational age. Note however, that the U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing states to regulate abortion should make Arizona’s pre-Roe law prohibiting abortion except to save the life of the mother. It follows that the 15-week law will not go into effect because of the pre-Roe law’s enforceability. See my overview of what’s next on the life front in Arizona here.
HB 2659 – (Rep. Kaiser) – Ensures patients with disabilities are not discriminated against when in need of an organ transplant
HB 2693 – (Rep. Toma) – Adds an inflator to the charitable tax credit that provides funding for pregnancy resource centers
HB 2862 – Increases funding to $500,000 for organizations serving homeless, pregnant women in an effort to promote life. Doubles the funding to $3 million for the Family Health Pilot Project, which promotes abortion alternatives
Parents Rights, Family
SB 1138 – (Sen. Petersen) – A prohibition on doctors performing irreversible gender related surgeries on minors
SB 1165 – (Sen. Barto) – Requires only biological females compete on women’s and girls’ sports teams
HB 2161 – (Rep. Kaiser) – Ensures parents have access to their children’s educational and medical records, as well as surveys prior to being given to students, and a right to sue for violations
HB 2853 – (Rep. Toma) – Expands eligibility for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) to all students
HB 2449 – (Rep. Nguyen) – Requires nursing homes and hospice allow clergy visits during a public health emergency
HB 2507 – (Rep. Toma) – Declares houses of worship and religious organizations “essential services” during a public health emergency
SB1399 – (Sen. Kerr) – Ensures faith-based foster care and adoption agencies are not discriminated against when following their beliefs in placing children
Other Good News
Our CAP Team also provided assists on legislation to prohibit the teaching of critical race theory (SB 1412 – Sen. Mesnard) , to prohibit sexually explicit materials in schools (HB 2495 – Rep. Hoffman) and to ensure parents access to visit school classrooms (HB 2025 – Rep. Udall).
In anticipation of Roe being overturned, lawmakers also increased services to pregnant women.
Defense Won Also!
No bill on CAP’s opposed list made it to final passage.
HB 2802 – (Rep. Bowers) – would have undermined religious freedom, parental rights, and free speech rights by providing special rights to government sanctioned interest groups and prohibiting parents from seeking counseling care for their minor children struggling with same sex and gender identity issues.
One Major Disappointment – Educational Freedom.
In the waning hours, lawmakers failed to pass legislation to increase funding for school choice programs that provide needed funding for children with disabilities and to increase the scholarship tax credits that also provides more opportunities for parents and children. The bill lost because of politics related to the budget deal that passed. Democrats opposed to school choice forced the bill to fail.
Thank you for supporting CAP and state legislators who worked to secure these freedoms for Arizona families!