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New Arizona lawmaker Jevin Hodge revives bill he first proposed in high school

By Wayne Schutsky
Published: Tuesday, February 27, 2024 - 3:52pm
Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2024 - 10:43am

Man in red tie smiles
Gage Skidmore/CC BY 2.0
State Representative Jevin Hodge speaking at his swearing in ceremony on the floor of the Arizona House of Representatives on Feb. 2, 2024.

A new lawmaker at the Arizona House of Representatives won bipartisan support for a piece of legislation he first brought to the Capitol over a decade ago as a high school senior.

Democratic Rep. Jevin Hodge’s bill would require the Arizona Department of Education to create a special commendation for high school students who complete 200 hours of community service.

“If we want to make Arizona a place to be for everyone, we need to foster a culture of volunteerism and we need to foster a culture of giving back, and this is just another one of those opportunities to do so,” Hodge said.

The bill passed the House with bipartisan support just three weeks after Hodge was appointed to fill a legislative vacancy. Hodge said he managed to quickly marshal support for the bill after being sworn into office on Feb. 2, a Friday.

After being sworn in, he asked legislative staff to look into his old bill. 

“It was on my desk Monday morning, and the bill deadline was Monday at 5 p.m.,” Hodge said. “So in the time period of Monday morning and the filing period at 5 p.m., I was able to get a broad bipartisan subsector of folks that signed on.”

Hodge had something of a head start, though.

He proposed similar legislation while a senior at McClintock High School in Tempe in 2012 with the help of former Senate Minority Leader David Schapira. It passed both chambers at the time with nearly-unanimous bipartisan support.

But then-Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed that bill, saying it would have resulted in “one branch of government is obligating another branch of government to do something it can already do — the bill is unnecessary,” according to the East Valley Tribune. 

Hodge said he always intended to bring the bill back, but never thought he would be the lawmaker sponsoring the legislation.

“It was one of those things where I would have never expected to come full circle like this,” Hodge said.

If House Bill 2824 passes the Arizona Senate, it will again need approval from the governor. But this time, the governor is Democrat Katie Hobbs, who served in the Arizona House in 2012 but did not vote on Hodge’s bill at the time. 

A spokesman for the governor did not respond to a request for comment.

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