Breaking News
More () »

Pets, pronouns and taxes: 6 Arizona bills to watch as new legislative session starts

600 bills show us what lawmakers believe needs to be fixed. Drag shows are targeted by three pieces of legislation.

PHOENIX — Pets, pronouns and taxes.

That's just a small sample of the things Arizona lawmakers want to do something about in the almost 600 bills they've introduced so far this session.

Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs' veto stamp will get a workout with many of those bills. 

The relatively few bills passed by the Republican-controlled legislature will never become law. 

But the bills do tell you which problems our lawmakers think they need to fix. 

Here are six bills to watch:

Scrapping sales tax on groceries

Let's start with a bill (HB2061) that has bipartisan support: eliminating the sales tax many consumers pay on groceries. 

The thinking is this would ease the bite of high inflation. But consumers in the state's largest cities don't pay a food tax. Smaller municipalities depend on the tax to fund basic services like police and fire. 

Hobbs opposed a similar proposal by her Republican opponent for governor, Kari Lake. 

Hobbs prefers getting rid of the so-called pink tax -- local sales taxes on items like diapers and tampons (there's a bill for that, too SB1033). 

Culture war still raging

The culture war is still raging at the Capitol. That's the theme for three bills singling out drag shows as a target.

The bills would limit when and where drag shows take place, ban minors' attendance, and give municipalities more power to regulate them. (The Senate bills are SB1026, 1028 and 1030.)

Pronouns for transgender students 

Transgender students are another target in a package of GOP-sponsored bills. Under the banner of parent's rights, one of the bills (SB1001) would require a teacher to get a parent's permission to refer to a student by a pronoun that differs from the student's sex at birth.

Hand counts for elections

After failing to persuade a federal judge to ban ballot-counting machines, Republicans are pursuing their goal in the Legislature: a bill (HB2307) requiring a mandatory hand count of all election votes. Ballot-counting machines would be banned. And hand counts of more than 3 million votes in a general election could take weeks.

Put 18-year-olds in charge

They're not old enough to drink, so would you give 18-year-olds the power to make state laws?

Arizona voters could be asked to lower the age requirement for lawmakers to take office from the current 25. Both chambers would have to sign off on the resolution (HCR2004) to put the question on the 2024 statewide ballot. 

No more declawing cats

Here's a bonus bipartisan bill that would affect people who own cats.

Lawmakers and animal rights advocates want Arizona to ban the routine declawing of cats. The bill (HB2335) would allow declawing only for therapeutic reasons. 

Here's where you can learn more about all the bills this session, as well as sign in to speak about them or register your approval/disapproval.

Sunday Square Off

Watch previous interviews and segments of Sunday Square Off on our 12News YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to receive updates on new uploads.

Before You Leave, Check This Out