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Arizona governor OKs flags for law enforcement in homes but not Pride or Black Lives Matter flags

A person holds a "Back the Blue" sign in support of police during a 2020 rally in front of Seattle City Hall.
A person holds a "Back the Blue" sign in support of police during a 2020 rally in front of Seattle City Hall.

By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX -- Residents of homeowner associations will soon be free to fly flags supporting law enforcement, regardless of any rules to the contrary.
Ditto a banner honoring firefighters, other first responders and flags on behalf of families who have lost loved ones in the military.
But you won't be able to raise a flag proclaiming gay pride unless your HOA approves. And forget about one supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
At least not yet.
All this is because Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday signed HB 2010. It expands -- a bit -- what flags HOAs can and cannot restrict in their communities.
The fight is over the rights of people who have bought homes and condos in areas governed by homeowner associations. That means agreeing to the rules that were set up when the HOA was established or as they have been amended over the years.
Many of those rules range from what colors are acceptable for exteriors to who can park on the street.
But others govern other issues of external appearance. And that includes flags and banners.
Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, has successfully pushed various bills over the years to trim those powers.
So now, for example, HOA rules can't restrict the flying of the American flag, flags honoring branches of the military, the POW/MIA flag, the state flag, the flag of any Arizona tribe and the Gadsden flag. The last is the familiar coiled rattlesnake with the caption ''Don't tread on me.''
This year, Kavanagh said, he got a complaint from someone whose HOA would not let her fly a flag promoting first responders. The result was HB 2010.
As the measure moved through the legislature, though, Kavanagh got new complaints from those who wanted to display a banner as a Gold Star family, meaning a loved one lost in combat. And then there were those who sought to note they are Blue Star families having someone in the service.
They were added on.
Dennis Legere of the Arizona Homeowners Coalition testified that's all well and good. But he told lawmakers that there is no reason for HOAs to decide what banners are and are not acceptable.
Kavanagh told Capitol Media Services he's not wrong.
"I would certainly support a bill that said you can fly whatever flag you want as long as it wasn't obscene or promoting illegal activity,'' he said. But the veteran lawmaker said it just not politically in the cards.
"I don't believe the votes are there,'' Kavanagh said, noting he would need the backing of more than half the 60 representatives and 30 senators.
So he instead decided to push through what he could this year rather than load HB 2010 down with issues that would doom the entire measure. And Kavanagh said he was particularly interested in adding first responders to the list of acceptable flags, being a retired police officer from New York.
"So it's a little personal,'' he said.
Still, Kavanah said, that doesn't mean this new law is the last word.
"As people report abuses to me, I try and correct them,'' he said.
On Twitter: @azcapmedia