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GOP senators halt hearings to confirm Hobbs’ nominees over abortion-related executive order

Last week, Gov. Katie Hobbs issued an executive order that removes the power to prosecute abortions from county attorneys, placing it exclusively with Attorney General Kris Mayes.

In response, three Republican senators are halting all hearings to confirm Hobbs’ nominees to lead state agencies.

Sens. Jake Hoffman, Sine Kerr and T.J. Shope said they see the order as an overreach of power. And until Hobbs agrees to meet and discuss the order with them, they say they won’t hold any more hearings to confirm her nominees.

So far, Hobbs hasn’t budged.

“This is just a distraction from the fact that they haven’t done their job to promptly confirm nominees,” Hobbs said Tuesday. “At the rate they’re going, they’re not even going to be done before the end of my first term and now they’re halting it altogether.”

Hobbs said she’s confident in the order’s legality.

“If anyone doesn’t share that same confidence in the legal foundation of that order, they have a path,” she said. “They can go to court.”

But until Hobbs agrees to meet and discuss the order with them, Republicans say they won’t hold any more hearings to confirm her director nominees.

Nominees can serve up to a year without being confirmed. Hobbs said that she’s examining her options, and urged the Senate to fulfill its duty to vote and confirm, or reject, her nominees to lead state agencies.

Kirsten Dorman is a field correspondent at KJZZ. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dorman fell in love with audio storytelling as a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2019.