Arizona’s governor blocked an attempt to bar companies that “discriminate” against the firearm industry from state and local government contracts by vetoing the bill Tuesday.
Senate Bill 1096 passed the Republican-controlled Senate in February and House last week in tight votes of 16-13 and 31-29, making a veto override attempt improbable.
In her veto letter, Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs said the bill is unnecessary and if enacted “could result in banks leaving Arizona’s market.”
“This would limit competition and increase costs for local governments, costs which ultimately fall on taxpayers,” Hobbs added.
There was no immediate response to a request for comment from Senate Republicans.
The measure would have required governmental contracts worth at least $100,000 to include written certification from a company that it does not discriminate against the firearm industry.
“When we the people’s money is being spent on a contract with an outside company we ought to make sure that company also supports the rights to keep and bear arms and not discriminate against the industry,” Republican State Rep. Quang Nguyen, a co-sponsor of the bill, said on the House floor last week.
House Democratic Leader Andres Cano countered that the legislature “ought to be looking for common sense reforms to keep our loved ones safe and I dispute the fact this is not going to continue our state’s obsession with firearms.”
“It’s exactly what (SB) 1096 is,” he said.
Similar legislation was enacted into law in 2021 in Texas and has popped up in other states, including Oklahoma. Utah’s governor signed an expansive “economic boycott” bill this month that includes the firearm industry.
The Texas law led to Citigroup’s expulsion in January from underwriting government bonds in that state after the attorney general’s office said it will no longer approve any bond issues that included the investment bank as a purchaser or underwriter.
In 2018, Citigroup adopted a commercial firearms policy following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead, igniting demand for tougher gun control.
A study last year said Texas’ firearm discrimination law and another aimed at companies found to be boycotting fossil fuel businesses increase borrowing costs for issuers in the state.