Morgaine Ford-Workman/The Copper Courier Sen. Nancy Barto
Morgaine Ford-Workman/The Copper Courier

This is part of a series from The Copper Courier highlighting the Arizona legislators involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection or the events leading up to it. Read the rest here.

Sen. Nancy Barto was born in Chicago and attended Arizona State University. She worked as a public policy advocate and served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011. She was first elected to the Senate in 2011 through 2019 before moving back to the House for two years. She was re-elected to represent North Phoenix’s District 15 in the Senate in 2020. 

Contributions to the Insurrection

Barto, alongside numerous other state Republicans, signed on to a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to accept 11 “alternate” electoral votes for Trump or to have all of the state’s electoral votes “nullified completely until a full forensic audit can be conducted.”

She was one of the Republican lawmakers who attended an unofficial November daylong hearing at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix where Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis continuously made unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud.

How You May Have Heard of Them

Barto sponsored three anti-vaccination bills in 2019.

One would have added a non-medical religious-belief exemption for childhood vaccines and removed a signature requirement for parents. Another bill would have required doctors to tell parents about the potential risks of a vaccine and how to file for injury claims caused by the injection. The third sought to require doctors to offer a blood test to children before administering a vaccine to determine if they already have the antibodies.

Barto defended the bills, saying they weren’t intended to promote anti-vaccine policy but were designed to expand parental choice. 

Health officials warned the bill would reduce immunization rates. 

Barto was also behind a controversial 2020 bill that attempted to ban transgender women from competing in sports designated for women. The bill would have required all interscholastic and intramural leagues to designate sports as co-educational, male or female, based on “biological sex.” It also outlined an invasive exam to prove someone’s biological sex if questioned, including a physical exam that earned the proposed legislation the nickname of the “show me your genitals” bill.

Level of Involvement: The Copper Courier identified Nancy Barto as one of a number of lawmakers that helped shape the culture and heightened tensions that led to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
Denzel Boyd/The Copper Courier

During the 2021 legislative session, Barto proposed a bill that would ban sex education before fifth grade and require written parental permission before educators could discuss sexuality or gender identity. 

The bill has been criticized for having far-reaching consequences, such as muzzling teachers and isolating LGBTQ students. 

She is up for re-election in 2022.

Barto isn’t alone. See the others who played a role in the insurrection.