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Need To Know About Arizona Civics

Governor Ducey Signs Legislation Strengthening Arizona’s Position As A National Leader In American Civics Education

Governor Doug Ducey today signed legislation that ensures Arizona students demonstrate greater competency in civics before graduating high school, further bolstering Arizona’s position as a national leader in civics education.

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“We have a real responsibility to equip the leaders of tomorrow with knowledge of our nation’s founding principles,” Governor Ducey said. “Those timeless principles have inspired and guided us for 246 years, and this legislation helps ensure they continue to do so as we continue our unending journey to form a more perfect union.”

Sponsored by Rep. Quang Nguyen of Prescott Valley, HB 2632 pushes the Arizona Civics Test passing score up from 60 to 70 percent, allows students to take the test as early as middle school and requires test score data to be made publicly available online. 

“It is up to us to ensure that future generations have an understanding of our government, history and principles,” said Rep. Nguyen. “There are far too many Americans who aren’t equipped with this vital information to make decisions. We must have an appreciation of our federal structure, separation of powers and fundamental respect for natural rights. Thank you to Governor Ducey for signing this legislation to help the next generation have a strong and necessary civics education.”

The enhancements to the test will begin with the graduating class of 2026.

The signing of HB 2632 comes a day after the Governor signed a bill establishing the Arizona America250 Commission, which will plan a celebration for the United States’ 250th anniversary and strengthen teachings of our nation’s founding in schools.

Governor Ducey has made civics education one of his administration’s priorities, taking action to establish Sandra Day O’Connor Civics Celebration Day, strengthen education about the Holocaust and other genocides in Arizona’s schools and implement the Arizona Civics Test. 

Governor Ducey’s budget for next year proposes empowering schools and teachers with bonuses for students that earn a high score on the Arizona Civics test.

Also signed into law by Governor Ducey today was HB 2612, which continues Arizona’s efforts to tear down barriers for those working to obtain occupational licenses. 

Sponsored by Rep. Judy Burges of Skull Valley, HB 2612 removes undefined provisions for moral character from occupational license statutes.

Left ambiguous, the provisions are often interpreted to mean an individual with any type of criminal record. By removing these extrajudicial penalties, this bill opens doors and provides Arizonans with second chances.

“It’s important to open pathways for those who have served their time to reenter the workforce,” said Rep. Burges. “By removing ambiguous language provisions, we are removing extrajudicial penalties on individuals who are looking for a new start. My thanks to Governor Ducey for strengthening Arizona’s responsible approach to criminal justice reform.” 

The Governor signed seven other bills today:

HB 2104 community property award; convicted spouse
HB 2108 taxi drivers; sex offenders prohibited
HB 2165 housing department; licensure; fingerprinting; penalties
HB 2202 industrial commission; fee schedule; notice
HB 2434 surgical smoke evacuation; requirements
HB 2480 vehicle serial numbers; removal; restoration
HB 2649 concurrent jurisdiction; Yuma proving ground

BACKGROUND
In 2015, Arizona became the first state in the nation to pass the American Civics Act, requiring high school students to pass the citizenship test before graduation. 

In March 2020, Governor Ducey signed legislation establishing Sandra Day O’Connor Civics Celebration Day, a day in which a majority of classroom instruction is devoted to civics education. Schools districts and charter schools across the state used a wide range of engaging activities during Civics Celebration Day to teach students about civics and highlight O’Connor’s dedication to promoting civics education. 

In September 2021, Governor Ducey signed legislation to strengthen education about the Holocaust and other genocides in Arizona’s schools. He also announced plans to work with educators and lawmakers to make the teaching of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks mandatory in schools.

Today’s signing builds upon the Governor’s and Legislature’s actions to expand opportunities for those who have served their time. Last year, Governor Ducey signed HB 2787 which balances public safety by helping to ensure individuals are not in a position to reoffend by virtue of being licensed, while also strengthening measures that prohibit state agencies from negatively considering an applicant’s past.

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