GOP-controlled Senate creates new committee to vet Gov. Hobbs executive nominees

The GOP-controlled Senate broke with tradition and created a new committee to vet and confirm Gov. Katie Hobbs cabinet picks.
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 6:59 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Gov. Katie Hobbs could be in for a fight with Senate Republicans over her picks to lead the state’s top agencies. The GOP-controlled Senate broke tradition on Thursday, creating a new committee to vet and confirm Gov. Hobbs’ nominees. However, Democrats aren’t happy with the unprecedented roadblock, with some calling the new panel a blatant attempt to stall or block the nominations.

Sen. Jake Hoffman of Queen Creek, the leader of the new Committee on Director Appointments, threatened to sue Gov. Hobbs over the use of executive orders and vowed to fight what he called her “woke agenda.” “We stand as the Legislature. We are a check on the executive branch, and so the majority is going to serve as that check and balance,” he said.

The new panel will review the governor’s executive nominations. If her picks don’t get committee approval, the Senate will unlikely confirm them. Since taking office, Gov. Hobbs has appointed about 25 people to lead key state operations, including the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry and Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Some Democrats said Republicans ambushed them because they were only given 15 minutes’ notice before the vote. “Once again, the continuation of disappointment this week. The question in front of us: was the governor consulted? The answer is no. Were the Democrats consulted? The answer is no,” said Democratic Sen. Raquel Teran of Phoenix. However, Republican Senate President Warren Peterson claimed that’s how business is done. “The public actually wants to see this. The public doesn’t like it when we do everything behind closed doors, they wants us to discuss it and debate it openly, and that’s what we did,” Peterson explained.