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Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs sets veto record

Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs has vetoed more bills than any other governor in Arizona history.

Hobbs vetoed another 13 bills this week, giving her 185 total vetoes since she took office in January 2023. That surpasses the previous record held by former Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano, who vetoed 181 bills during her six-year tenure.

“I ran on sanity versus chaos,” Hobbs said last month. “And I’ve said over and over again that I’ll work with anyone, but I’ll also be the backstop and what I’m getting and vetoing is extreme legislation that doesn’t work for Arizona.”

Hobbs previously set a single-year record with 143 vetoes last year. 

Both the governor and Republican leaders expressed some hope before this legislative session that they could work together after agreeing to a bipartisan budget at the end of the 2023 legislative session.

“Yeah, we have a record number of vetoes, but we have a lot of bills she signed as well, so the good news is I think that all of our policy issues and really our entire majority plan that you see, I think all of us can find a spot where we can agree and advance on and so I’m optimistic about that,” Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) said in December when Republicans presented their legislative priorities.          

This year, Hobbs has signed a number of bills backed by Republicans, including the so-called tamale bill that she vetoed last year. She also signed Republican bills designed to hold long-term care facilities accountable and r equire statewide elected officials to report their political fundraising more frequently.

But she has also vetoed a total of 42 bills this year alone

Earlier this year, Hobbs said the high veto numbers are the end result of controversial legislation sent to her by the Republican-controlled legislature.

“Arizonans made it clear they want sanity over chaos and a lot of these bills I vetoed, because they’re the exact opposite of that,” Hobbs said.

Many of Hobbs' vetoes killed partisan Republican bills dealing with elections, transgender issues and other controversial topics. But she also vetoed some bills that had bipartisan support, including the Arizona Starter Homes Act, which was designed to increase Arizona’s housing supply

Wayne Schutsky is a broadcast field correspondent covering Arizona politics on KJZZ. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist reporting on local communities in Arizona and the state Capitol.