Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoes Republican student pronoun bill

May 22, 2023, 8:00 PM

Pins about gender pronouns, used to represent a story about Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoing a bill...

(Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs announced Monday that she vetoed a Republican bill that would have restricted transgender students’ ability to go by their preferred pronouns and names at school.

“As politicians across the country continue to pass harmful legislation directed at transgender youth, I have a clear message to the people of Arizona: I will veto every bill that aims to attack and harm children,” the Democrat said in a veto letter dated Friday.

“I want to thank the young people that bravely testified against SB1001 at the Legislature. To you, I promise to be an ally and uplift your stories.”

Hobbs specifically thanked Rep. Lorena Austin, the state’s only nonbinary gender-nonconforming lawmaker, for sharing their experience while speaking out against the bill.

“We’re talking about a community that has been marginalized and misunderstood, and what we’re asking for is understanding of the different experiences that we may have,” Austin said on the House floor while the bill was being considered.

“And I can tell you as a young person, if this bill had come through when I was in high school, it would have terrified me. I was already terrified of knowing I would not be accepted.”

The bill, which the Legislature passed along party lines, was limited to students under 18. It said that unless parents provided written permission, school employees or contractors couldn’t call a student by pronouns that didn’t align with the child’s biological sex or a name that wasn’t listed in official school records. Commonly known nicknames were excluded.

The bill also would have prohibited schools from making staff use pronouns that didn’t align with a student’s biological sex if it was against the employee’s religious or moral convictions.

Sen. John Kavanagh, the Republican who introduced SB1001, said it was meant to protect the rights of parents and protect the mental health of students. He called Hobbs’ veto “reckless and irresponsible.”

“If a child is receiving mental health care and that child’s physician advises not to treat the child as a different gender, then a school going against the doctor’s wishes without the parent’s permission would create reason for a lawsuit,” he said in a press release. “This is a dangerous situation for children who are struggling with mental health issues.”

Republican lawmakers across the nation have been introducing, and in some cases enacting, restrictions on pronoun use by teachers.

Opponents say the laws violate the constitutional rights of students and teachers by compelling the speech of adults and potentially exposing children to dangerous repercussions if an abusive parent doesn’t approve.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pexels Photo, File)...

Pedestrian crossing Glendale street on red light dies after getting hit by vehicle

A pedestrian died Tuesday morning after she was hit by a vehicle in Glendale while crossing a street on a red light.

9 hours ago

Police are asking the public for help identifying a nonverbal boy found walking without shoes in Gl...

Police seek information about nonverbal child found in Glendale

Authorities are asking the public for help identifying a nonverbal child found walking without shoes in Glendale on Tuesday morning.

9 hours ago

Photo of tech workers to illustrate story on metro Phoenix adding more than 98,000 jobs last year....

Jim Cross

New report shows strength of diversified metro Phoenix workforce

Metro Phoenix added more than 98,000 jobs last year and now has 130,000 more jobs than before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report.

9 hours ago

(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)...

Southbound I-17 in Phoenix reopens following serious crash

Part of the Interstate 17 freeway in Phoenix was closed Tuesday morning for hours due to a serious crash.

9 hours ago

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)...

Brandon King

Arizona copper mine construction delayed, as activists work to find solution

Earlier this month, the federal government put a pause on the building of the planned Resolution Copper mine, the latest in a decade-long series of delays.

9 hours ago

Jorrell Yazzie (Chandler Police Department)...

Brandon Gray

Mesa man arrested after fatal crash in Chandler

A Mesa man has been arrested following a fatal three-vehicle crash in Chandler Monday morning, authorities said. 

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]



Thank you to Al McCoy for 51 years as voice of the Phoenix Suns

Sanderson Ford wants to share its thanks to Al McCoy for the impact he made in the Valley for more than a half-decade.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoes Republican student pronoun bill