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Hobbs vetoes ‘Victims of Communism’ bill, which added education requirements

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(The Center Square) – Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoed a bill that would have increased educational standards on teaching about the history of communism.

House Bill 2629 was sponsored by Speaker Ben Toma, and it would have made Nov. 7 “Victims of Communism” day in Arizona and would have also required instruction in high school government classes to include a minimum of 45 minutes talking about the negative impacts of “communist regimes around the world,” such as “poverty” and “systemic lethal violence.”

“I find Governor Hobbs’ veto of HB 2629 both indefensible and personally offensive. Having lived under the oppressive regime of communist Romania, I have firsthand knowledge of the devastating impact these ideologies have inflicted on billions worldwide,” Speaker Ben Toma said in a statement following the veto. “Communism’s legacy is marked by death, oppression, deprivation, economic suffering, and the shredding of all that binds families and communities together. It is a history that must be remembered and taught, not dismissed, ignored, or vetoed.”

The legislation specifically mentioned a list of former communist dictators including Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot and Nicolas Maduro. The bill passed primary along party lines, with only a couple of Democratic votes in the state House of Representatives, which were Reps. Alma and Consuelo Hernandez.

In her veto letter, the governor said it is “too prescriptive in dictating instructional requirements to education professionals.”

“Therefore, I strongly urge the State Board of Education to take action to begin the process of updating the Social Studies Standards and address the issues covered in this legislation,” she wrote.

“Finally, in sharing the spirit of this Legislation, I will proclaim this November 7 as Victims of Communism Day,” Hobbs added.

However, Toma said he disagreed with how the governor wants to approach the issue.

“While I respect the Governor’s gesture to revise our state’s Social Studies Standards, I simply do not trust her administration’s ability or willingness to accurately reflect communism’s legacy. The academic requirements must be codified in statute, as my bill would have done,” the Republican stated.

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