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Hoffman bill would absorb parts of Maricopa County into others

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(The Center Square) – A bill that would absorb parts of Maricopa County into other counties passed out of the Arizona Senate Government Committee on Wednesday with a vote along party lines.

Senate Bill 1292 would give parts of the southeast valley to Pinal County, parts of the northeast valley to Gila County, a small part of the southwest valley to Yuma County, and part of the northwest valley to La Paz County, and part of the north valley to Yavapai County.

This was an amended version of the bill, as the old version was similar to a past proposal by Sen. Jake Hoffman, R-Queen Creek, which would have created three new counties instead. Hoffman has sponsored similar legislation in recent years that failed to become law, with the intention being to have smaller, more manageable counties as the region continues to grow.

“We will be 85% of the state’s population in 25-30 years. That is a wholly unsustainable model,” Hoffman said based on an estimate of Maricopa County’s current growth.

According to United States Census Bureau data, Maricopa County is currently the country’s “largest gaining.”

Hoffman also responded to criticism of the creation of new counties, calling this version an “incredibly wise compromise.”

“I recognize the hesitations to replicate government,” the Republican said.

He furthermore defended the bill saying “retribution” for elections is not the main reasoning, as the way Maricopa County conducts elections administration has been the subject of intense scrutiny since 2020.

“This has absolutely nothing to do with elections,” he said.

However, Democrats raised concerns about the bill in committee.

“I didn’t trust the previous proposal to break up the county,” Sen. Juan Mendez, D-Tempe, said raising concern about amendments to the bill.

“I have to go with no,” Mendez added, saying there would need to be Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion factors considered for him to even consider this type of proposal.

Meanwhile, other lawmakers think the compromise would be effective.

“I think it’s genius, I vote aye,” Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff, said.

In 2023, the four counties bill failed by 12-18 vote in the state Senate, Arizona’s Family reported.

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