Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs Vetoes Age Verification Bill

PHOENIX—Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, today vetoed the Republican-backed House Bill (HB) 2586. 

HB 2586 was a controversial age verification bill that was proposed by Republicans in a bid to “protect” minors.

“The legislation goes against settled case law," said Gov. Hobbs in the official veto letter transmitted to the state legislature. Hobbs refers to such precedent First Amendment cases as the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

In that decision, the high court ruled that age segregation on the internet is against the First Amendment. 

"Children's online safety is a pressing issue for parents and the state," Hobbs continued. "While we look for a solution, it should be bipartisan and work within the bounds of the First Amendment, which this bill does not."

Adult industry trade group the Free Speech Coalition applauded the veto.

"We thank Governor Hobbs for her courage in standing up to calls for censorship and look forward to working with the legislature on effective methods of keeping minors from accessing age-inappropriate material online," reads an FSC blog post. 

The FSC engaged in a campaign to press Gov. Hobbs to veto the bill when it was adopted by the state legislature. 

Noting that it was joined in opposition to the bill by groups including the ACLU, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, and the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, the FSC's blog post goes on to state, "They understand, as we do, that these bills endanger not only adult content but wide swaths of speech online."

House Bill (HB) 2586, which was initially proposed by Republican state Rep. Tim Dunn of Yuma, was a "copycat" measure that requires adult entertainment platforms to utilize so-called "reasonable" age verification measures.