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Gov. Hobbs thwarts Arizona's latest attempt to ban 'critical race theory'

Arizona lawmakers have tried multiple times in recent years to ban concepts called "critical race theory" in schools. Hobbs has vetoed their latest effort.

PHOENIX — Gov. Katie Hobbs has expectedly vetoed a Republican-backed bill that would have prohibited schools from advocating concepts often identified as "critical race theory." 

Senate Bill 1305 was the latest attempt by the Arizona Legislature in recent years to regulate race-related topics that are taught in the state's public schools. 

Former Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill banning CRT concepts in 2021. But that law was later voided by the Arizona Supreme Court due to how it was passed through a budget bill. 

Another similar bill advanced through the Legislature last year but Republicans couldn't pass it in time before the session ended, according to Capitol Media Services. 

And now with a Democrat in the governor's office, it was almost certain that the latest attempt to outlaw CRT was destined to fail. 

SB1305 passed through the Legislature with no support from Democrats. 

In her veto letter, Hobbs said the bill would only "divide and antagonize."

"I urge the Legislature to work with me on the real issues affecting Arizona schools: underfunded classrooms, a growing educator retention crisis, and school buildings in need of repair and replacement," the governor wrote.

Here are all the concepts that SB1305 would have prohibited schools from promoting:

1. Judging an individual on the basis of the individual's race or ethnicity.

2. That one race or ethnicity group is inherently morally or intellectually superior to another race or ethnic group.

3. That an individual, by virtue of the individual's race or ethnicity, is inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.

4. That an individual should be invidiously discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual's race or ethnicity.

5. That an individual's moral character is determined by the individual's race or ethnicity.

6. That an individual, by virtue of the individual's race or ethnicity, bears responsibility or blame for actions committed by other members of the same race or ethnic group.

7. That academic achievement, meritocracy or traits such as hard work are racist or were created by members of a particular race or ethnic group to oppress members of another race or ethnic group.

Those who were caught violating these rules would have been subject to a $5,000 civil penalty.

SB1305 would have still allowed teachers to discuss ideologies or historical instances of "racial hatred or discrimination, including slavery, Indian removal, the Holocaust, and Japanese-American internment."

State Sen. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, said he was disappointed by the governor's choice to veto the bill. 

"Her action today is a slap in the face to parents who came forward with serious concerns about the racism being taught in their children's classrooms," Mesnard said in a statement.

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