15 Bills to Watch For During Arizona Legislature's 2018 Session

The Arizona State Capitol
The Arizona State Capitol Sean Holstege
The Arizona Legislature, a world-renowned institution that's frequently compared to a meth lab, convenes once again on January 8. And your elected representatives are already plotting to make it illegal to wear masks in public, place medical marijuana ads on billboards, lie about having a service dog, and more.

Battiness aside, however, this year's agenda also includes numerous pieces of legislation intended to address the opioid crisis and change how sexual misconduct cases are handled. There's also talk of reducing the elementary school suspension rate and putting an end to "lunch-shaming" at school cafeterias.

Out of hundreds of bills that have been filed so far, we've singled out 15 that are worth paying attention to. This isn't intended to be a comprehensive list, since plenty more laws will be proposed in the coming weeks and months. But, for now, here's a look at what Arizona legislators hope to accomplish this year:

Prohibit teen weddings.
Currently, you can get married in Arizona before you've turned 18 — so long as you have parental permission. (Anyone under 16 is also required to undergo premarital counseling and get the approval of a judge.) This bill would eliminate that option, and prevent anyone who's under 18 from getting a marriage license — period.
Bill number: HB 2006
Sponsor: Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale

Ban people from wearing masks in public.
This bill, which is definitely unconstitutional, would make it a felony to wear masks or costumes to protests, political gatherings, or any other public event. The only exception: If you're wearing a costume "for a business-related purpose” or in a situation where “a disguise may generally be viewed as part of acceptable attire.”
Bill number: HB 2007
Sponsor: Rep. Jay Lawrence, R-Scottsdale

Deregulate blow-dry bars.
Backed by the libertarian Goldwater Institute, this piece of legislation would get rid of current regulations that state that you have to have a cosmetology license in order to work at a blow-dry bar. Anyone using chemicals to straighten or curl customers' hair would still have to be licensed by the state board.
Bill number: HB 2011
Sponsor: Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale

Prevent the enforcement of nondisclosure agreements in sexual misconduct cases.
This bill would deem any confidentiality agreement “void and unenforceable.” Elected officials would additionally be banned from entering into confidentiality agreements if they’re accused of sexual assault or sexual harassment.
Bill Number: HB 2012
Sponsor: Rep. Maria Syms, R-Paradise Valley

Reduce the number of elementary school suspensions.
Under the proposed law, students in pre-K through second grade couldn't be suspended or expelled, with certain key exceptions — for example, if they present an imminent danger to other students. The bill also directs schools to use restorative justice practices as a form of conflict-resolution.
Bill Number: HB 2018
Sponsor: Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Laveen

Ban bump stocks and get tough on gun sales.
Two Tucson lawmakers are trying to tighten the state’s gun laws. HB 2023 would ban bump stocks, which convert semiautomatic weapons into machine guns and were used in the mass shooting in Las Vegas. An additional bill, HB 2024, would impose a slew of additional regulations on anyone looking to buy or sell a gun.
Bill numbers: HB 2023, HB 2024
Sponsors: Rep. Randy Friese, D-Tucson; Rep. Daniel Hernandez, Jr., D-Tucson

Impose new guidelines for how schools handle allegations of campus rape.
This bill states that students accused of sexual assault have the right to an attorney when going through the disciplinary process. If the student can't afford legal counsel, their school would be obligated to appoint a lawyer for them. The legislation would also guarantee that the accused student has the right to confront their accuser.
Bill number: HB 2028
Sponsor: Rep. Jay Lawrence, R-Scottsdale

Prevent the state from regulating how much morphine doctors can prescribe.
According to Capitol Media Services, the Ducey administration is planning on introducing legislation that would address the opioid crisis by placing limits on the number of pills and strength of daily dosages prescribed to new patients. This bill would prevent them from doing exactly that.
Bill Number: HB 2030.
Sponsor: Rep. Jay Lawrence, R-Scottsdale

Provide legal immunity for people who overdose.
Arizona is one of the few states nationwide that doesn't have "Good Samaritan" laws in place. This bill would change that — by explicitly stating anyone who seeks medical help for an overdose can't be charged with drug possession. Anyone who reports that someone else has overdosed would receive the same protections.
Bill Number: HB 2033
Sponsor: Rep. Jay Lawrence, R-Scottsdale

Get rid of car registration decals.
Those little stickers on your license plate could be going away. The legislation is being touted as a cost-saving measure for the state, but it might have another effect: eliminating one of the main excuses cops use when pulling people over.
Bill number: HB 2054
Sponsor: Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale

Raise the age limit for buying cigarettes and vape pens to 21.
Republican legislators introduced an identical bill last year, inspired by the lamest high school students ever. It died, so now they're trying again. Meanwhile, the cities of Cottonwood and Douglas have already independently raised the tobacco age to 21.
Bill number: SB 1010
Sponsors: Sen. David Farnsworth, R-Mesa.; Rep. Paul Boyer, R-Glendale

Require bystanders to notify first responders about life-threatening emergencies.
Under the proposed legislation, anyone who witnesses a life-threatening emergency could be charged with a misdemeanor if they don't report it. As the Capitol Times points out, this would include anyone who watches someone else overdose.
Bill number: SB 1016.
Sponsor: Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills

Increase criminal penalties for fentanyl.
This bill would make fentanyl possession a class 4 felony, which would more than double the maximum prison sentence. It also seeks to prevent dealers from being released from prison until they've served their full sentence.
Bill number: SB 1018
Sponsor: Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills

Ban medical marijuana advertisements from billboards.
Because all those Weedmaps billboards are corrupting the youths, one legislator is hoping to ban them from state roads. The good news: What he's proposing is almost certainly illegal.
Bill number: SB 1032
Sponsor: Sen. David Farnsworth, R-Mesa

Prohibit "lunch-shaming."
Last April, a photo of a Paradise Valley elementary school student's arm, stamped with the words, "LUNCH MONEY," went viral on Twitter. The school district responded by promising to stop using the stamps, but the incident sparked a larger conversation about the practice of "lunch-shaming." If this bill passes, Arizona schools would be formally banned from singling out students who owe lunch money, serving them alternative meals, or forcing them to work off the debt.
Bill number: SB 1036
Sponsor: Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix

Crack down on fraudulent "service dogs."
If this piece of legislation passes, anyone who falsely claims that their pet is a service animal would be fined $250.
Bill number: SB 1042
Sponsor: Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills

Love or hate any of these ideas? Here's our guide to making your voice heard at the Legislature.
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Antonia Noori Farzan is a staff writer at New Times and an honors graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Before moving to Arizona, she worked for the New Times Broward-Palm Beach.