(The Center Square) – Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs established a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility Council (DEIA) and Disability Community Advisory Council, but Republican lawmakers suggest that she’s violating state law.
“The DEIA Council, whose membership will mirror Arizona’s diversity, will work with state agencies to promote equity within the government, as well as deliver fair, community-centered services to traditionally underserved groups,” Hobbs posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday.
“Diversity is Arizona’s greatest strength, and I’m proud to honor it by assembling these two councils. I look forward to working with them to uplift everyone,” she added.
DEI has become a popular concept in many corporations and governments throughout the world. Proponents of the practice say it helps include more voices in decision-making, while opponents view it as a way to flout merit-based achievements.
State Sen. Jake Hoffman, R-Queen Creek, suggested that Hobbs is ignoring Arizona Revised Statute 41-1494, which was put in place under former Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.
“I championed legislation in 2021 to prevent exactly what Katie Hobbs is trying to do,” Hoffman said in a statement Monday. “Not only may the state not spend any funds on this type of training, but it cannot require state employees to be subject to this type of indoctrination.”
“Taxpayer dollars should never be used for anything other than public good. Diversity, equity, and inclusion training is divisive and racist progressive propaganda,” he added.
The Senate Republicans are suggesting that state employees file a complaint through the state’s ombudsman office if they are facing unwelcomed training related to DEI.
The law limits the use of taxpayer dollars on programs that could suggest “blame or judgment” based on some immutable characteristics.
“This state, a state agency or a city, town, county or political subdivision of this state may not require an employee to engage in training, orientation or therapy that presents any form of blame or judgment on the basis of race, ethnicity or sex,” the law states. “This subsection does not preclude any training on sexual harassment.”