by Caitlin Sievers, Arizona Mirror
May 9, 2023
Arizona legislators will soon be able to hide their home addresses from constituents, after Gov. Katie Hobbs on Tuesday signed a bill that will allow lawmakers to petition a court to keep their addresses secret.
Hobbs signed Senate Bill 1061 alongside 15 other bills on Tuesday, including one that puts restrictions on how governors can raise money for inaugurations.
That bill was inspired by Hobbs’ raising $1.5 million through a dark money group for her own inauguration, which only cost around $207,000, leaving questions about how the governor would spend the rest of that money, since she raised it in a way that would allow it to be used for political purposes. Hobbs initially didn’t disclose the donors who gave to her inaugural fund, but soon caved to pressure to identify them.
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Senate Bill 1299 requires that governors use a state promotional fund to raise money for their inaugurations, which puts restrictions on how leftover funds can be used and imposes a $25,000 limit on each donor.
The bill received unanimous approval in the House on April 26 and near-unanimous approval in the Senate May 3, with only Republican Sen. Jake Hoffman, of Queen Creek, voting against it.
The address protection bill will give lawmakers the option to ask a court to restrict public access to records that contain personal information about them, including their home addresses.
Hobbs’ signing of SB1061 comes just one day before Flagstaff Republican Sen. Wendy Rogers is set to be in court to defend her decision to file a restraining order against Arizona Capitol Times reporter Camryn Sanchez. Rogers petitioned for the protective order after Sanchez showed up and rang the doorbell at two of Rogers’ residences in the Valley, as part of an investigation to determine if Rogers actually lives in Flagstaff, the area she represents.
The Capitol Times is fighting against the order.
Senate Bill 1061 also makes it a felony to disseminate personal information of a public official on the internet if sharing that information poses “an imminent and serious threat to the safety of the public official or election officer or the public official’s or election officer’s immediate family.”
Supporters of the bill have said it’s necessary to protect legislators from harassment and potential danger, but skeptics wonder how constituents will ensure that legislators live within the districts they represent if their addresses are not publicly available.
The bill received bipartisan, but not unanimous, support. It passed the House by a vote of 43-12, with several Republicans voting against it, and was approved by the Senate by a vote of 26-3, with only Republicans voting against it.
Also on Tuesday, Hobbs signed Senate Bill 1038, which creates a probate advisory panel with the purpose of finding ways to improve adult guardianship and conservatorship laws. The bill was inspired by complaints from adults who were formally under guardianship and their families, who said they were mistreated in probate court.
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