Katie Hobbs chief of staff threatens to veto parental rights, transgender bill

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs’s chief of staff said Wednesday that a parental rights bill under consideration by the Arizona state legislature will be vetoed if it hits the governor’s desk.

The proposal, sponsored by Senator John Kavanagh, aims to strengthen parental rights in education as it relates to the transgender debate.

There have been countless reports in recent years of school administrators flouting parental consent by secretly referring to their young students with (so-called) ‘preferred pronouns’ — for example, ‘he,’ ‘she,’ ‘they,’ and more — that differ from the students’ biological sex. Senate Bill 1001 would prohibit administrators from doing so without the parents’ permission. It would apply to ‘preferred first names’ as well.

Further, Kavanagh’s proposal aims to protect religious freedom by preventing schools from requiring that their employees and contractors refer to students using these alternative descriptors “if doing so is contrary to their convictions.”

Kavanagh told Capitol Media Services that most parents “wouldn’t let their minor child get a tattoo, much less change their gender” and that “those decisions need to be deferred to when an individual’s an adult and can make a mature decision.”

After Senate Bill 1001 advanced through the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, Allie Bones, Hobbs’s chief of staff, said that lawmakers shouldn’t even bother trying.

“The Governor was clear in her State of the State that it’s time to focus on real issues,” Bones tweeted. “Going after LGBTQ kids doesn’t fit the bill. I hope the Legislature doesn’t waste anymore time on this, because it’s DOA.”

The threat from Bones — a former assistant secretary of state whom was hired as chief of staff in November — follows a series of similar veto threats from Hobbs herself.