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Arizona Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs is beginning her term with a controversial decision that has Republicans and the families of victims up in arms.
In one of her first official acts, the former secretary of state has put a hold on the scheduled executions of 100 murderers, including one man who kidnapped and brutally killed his girlfriend’s ex-husband. Hobbs issued the order on Friday, allegedly “due to the state’s history of mismanaging executions,” The Associated Press reported.
“In the executive order, Hobbs didn’t officially declare a moratorium on executions. However, she appointed a commissioner to oversee a review of how the death penalty is carried out — and the state’s new Democratic attorney general, Kris Mayes, has said she won’t be seeking court orders to execute prisoners while the review is underway,” the Western Journal noted.
In a confab with reporters, Hobbs said without providing specifics: “With the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry now under new leadership, it’s time to address the fact that this is a system that needs better oversight on numerous fronts.”
According to the order, the commissioner will, among other things, review “ADCRR procedures and protocols for conducting an execution by gas chamber and by lethal injection, including but not limited to setting lines for a lethal injection, transparency and media access, access to legal counsel for the inmate.” The commissioner, not yet named, is also tasked with delivering a report to Hobbs about ways to improve the death penalty process.
Arizona executes condemned prisoners in two ways: By gas chamber or lethal injection. After voters approved the latter method in 1992, inmates on death row are allowed to choose the way they want to be put to death.
The Western Journal noted further:
A botched 2014 execution and difficulties obtaining the drugs necessary to carry out lethal injections put an eight-year hold on the death penalty.
However, in 2020, Arizona announced it had found a compounding pharmacist to supply the necessary drugs, and the state announced in the spring of 2021 it had finally gotten a supply of the drugs.
Three executions were carried out under former GOP Gov. Doug Ducey, and there was some controversy associated with them as well.
“Since resuming executions, the state has been criticized for taking too long to insert an IV into a condemned prisoner’s body in early May and for denying the Arizona Republic newspaper’s request to witness the last three executions,” the AP reported.
Currently, there are 110 prisoners on Arizona’s death row.
Earlier this month, Hobbs unveiled a $17.1 billion budget proposal claiming that it would lower costs, Just The News reported, but it’s likely to clash with the state’s GOP-controlled legislature because it employs a series of left-wing policy initiatives.
“We have an opportunity to make a significant change in the lives of the families and communities of this state. We are committed to facing our challenges head on to build a resilient, innovative and prosperous Arizona for everyone,” the governor said, adding that her budget addresses the affordable housing crisis and secures Arizona’s water future.
The governor also proposed an end to the state’s Empowerment Scholarship program which has allowed parents to use a portion of the state funds allocated to their child’s education to pay for private school tuition and other educational expenses. Ducey wanted to expand the program, touted as one of the most comprehensive school choice programs in the United States.
She also wants to defund the Border Strike Force which focuses on crimes at the border and transnational crimes.
“House Republicans are reviewing Governor Hobbs’ budget proposal but based on the left-wing wish list of spending details disclosed so far, I’m confident to say that it will be dead on arrival,” Republican House Speaker Ben Toma said.
Just the News noted as well:
Hobbs projects $144 million in savings in the coming fiscal year and $1.5 billion in taxpayer savings over $10 years. She proposes eliminating the funding from an “underreported and unnecessary use” and funneling that money into public schools.
Her office expects students to be forced back into public schools with the repeal of the ESA.