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Arizona bill that would classify people by sex instead of gender sent to Hobbs

The Republican-controlled Arizona House of Representatives has passed a bill to strictly classify individuals under Arizona law on the basis of biological sex.

Senate Bill 1628, approved on a party-line 31-28 vote, would replace every reference to "gender'' in state law with "sex.'' The former generally refers to how people identify themselves versus the latter which would be determined by biology at birth

Republican supporters say the bill is intended to protect women, and has been dubbed the “Women’s Bill of Rights.” 

Democratic Rep. Quanta Crews says the lawmakers have not taken into account various organizations that oppose the bill, such as the Center for Women’s Advancement. 

"We should listen to the people who are most impacted. If the intent is to protect women's rights, I challenge the Legislature to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment," Crews said. 

The Equal Rights Amendment would amend the U.S. Constitution to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sex. 

Rep. Selina Bliss, however, said this bill is necessary.

"For the past several years there has been a deliberate effort to redefine 'sex' to mean 'gender' or 'gender identity,' allowing biological males to self-identify into women's spaces,'' said the Prescott Republican. "This is not, folks, a hypothetical threat.''

The measure now goes to Gov. Katie Hobbs. She already has said she opposes any measure she believes interferes with the rights of gay and transgender individuals.

Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.