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Following Dem opposition, Hobbs signs 'tamale bill' she killed last year

Gov. Katie Hobbs signed the so-called “tamale bill" Friday that she vetoed last year, which will expand the types of home-cooked foods in Arizona that can legally be sold to the public.

But the week leading up to the decision were not without drama.

On Thursday, Hobbs declined to comment on what she’ll do with the bill, and the Democrats who supported it last year changed their votes to “no” in the state Senate. 

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Travis Grantham (R-Gilbert), says he suspects the restaurant groups who opposed it last time are pressuring the governor. 

“I think she’s listening to the same special interests that she listened to last year who caused her to veto the bill,” Grantham said.

Sen. Anna Hernandez (D-Phoenix) proposed a late amendment to the bill that wasn’t added. It would have lessened the penalty for violating the law. 

“And that’s all we heard all of last year – that the goal of the food cottage bill was to decriminalize the vendors, and that language that I offered up would have addressed that foundational issue,” she said.

Grantham says that amendment was never brought to him and was almost like “a terrorist attack.” 

He added that it would be a “ridiculous” reason for the bill to die, since he’s worked to address Hobbs’ concerns from last time.

“Many of the items that were of concern last year, that were listed as a reason for veto, were addressed in this bill,”  Grantham told a legislative committee earlier this year.

At a press conference on Thursday, reporters asked Hobbs three times about what she’ll do with the bill that’s now on her desk. Each time she declined to say. 

Last year, the tamale bill passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support and Hobbs' veto came as a surprise. 

She found herself in hot wateras Democrats and Republicans alike criticized the move and questioned why she hadn’t raised any concerns about the bill at any point in the legislative process.

Grantham said he still thinks Hobbs will sign the bill, despite the fact that all but one of the Senate Democrats voted against it, and it behooves her to curry favor with them.

Hernandez said she wishes her amendment was added but she still supports the underlying bill.

“There was still bipartisan votes on it, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t be signed,” she said. 

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Camryn Sanchez is a field correspondent at KJZZ covering everything to do with state politics.