Gov. Hobbs Vetoes Bipartisan Bill to Tackle Squatting and Election Issues

( – Arizona Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs has spent the year and a half of her time in office vetoing record numbers of bills, including those passed with bipartisan support. In 2023, Hobbs broke the 58-veto record of former Governor Janet Napolitano when she rejected 143 bills sent to her desk. She is well on her way to reaching that number again, with 53 vetoes under her belt this year. Hobbs now also holds the record for the most number of vetoes in the state’s history.

One recent veto of a bill passed to protect homeowners from squatters sparked instant backlash toward Hobbs. The bill had the support of Arizona Democrats and Republicans and would have allowed police to immediately evict squatters who were unlawfully residing in a residence they did not own. Police would be permitted to rely on the homeowner’s sworn statement that the squatter had no right to be on the property.

Hobbs sent a letter with the veto to Arizona’s Senate president on April 21, which was just one of the 10 bills she vetoed that day. She claimed that the bill did not consider laws already in place to protect homeowners and that it would affect lawful tenants and domestic violence victims if not applied properly. State Senator Wendy Rogers blasted Hobbs’ reasoning in a statement, pointing out that the bill had “absolutely nothing to do with landlord-tenant law,” and had specific exemptions embedded in the bill that would have protected cohabitating family members.

Rogers suspected that Hobbs had not taken time to read the text of the bill. Rogers acknowledged that the state had laws against trespassing, but if a squatter claimed they were legally allowed to occupy a home, the homeowner would have to go through months of legal proceedings to have them removed. Rogers reiterated the concerns of Arizona homeowners who testified in the legislative committee hearings, especially regarding the fear of expensive property damage.

State Senator Justine Wadsack recounted a time when she ran into a squatter while showing a home to a client when she was a real estate agent. She emphasized how threatened and unsafe she felt and said that the police told her the situation was out of their control.

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