Arizona Legislature Adjourns, and Your Life Probably Isn't Changing
One of the most memorable lines from Office Space would be a pretty good question for your state lawmakers: "What would you say you do here?"
The Arizona Legislature adjourned at 1:46 a.m. today, and more than 200 bills have been signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer, while still more are still awaiting her approval or veto. And despite those 200-plus new laws, we'd guess that most Arizonans' lives won't be affected in the slightest.
There's a new law that allows you to pass people driving golf carts on the streets of retirement communities (HB 2027). Um, if you own a company that plans to send people to space, you can have them sign a waiver to limit your liability (HB 2163).
Reporters can't obtain autopsy photos without a judge's order (HB 2225). High school kids can have a "rigorous computer science course" count as a math class (HB 2265). A "Blue Alert" system has been established, which would send out alerts of a cop-killer on the loose (HB 2323). Another bill allows counties to set up specific courts for veterans and the mentally ill (HB 2457). Another calls for the building of a virtual border fence, but there's no funding provided for it (HB 2462). Cities are no longer allowed to ban people from spinning signs on street corners (HB 2528).
You catch the drift -- mildly interesting, but probably not life-altering for the average person. (See the whole list of bills signed by Governor Brewer here.)
However, there are some new laws (and bills that failed) that may have policy implications.
Brewer vetoed a few gun-related bills, and signed a few others, although none of the bills she signed are likely to have an impact on most people. (See: Brewer Vetoes Two Pro-Gun Bills; Signed Two Into Law Last Week.)
The bill to legalize Tesla's sales model for the company's electric vehicles didn't make it. Another bill that would sort out insurance issues for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, essentially legalizing such operations, is awaiting action from the governor.
Meanwhile, the Center for Arizona Policy, despite several big defeats, still got at least three of its bills passed into law, and a couple are pending Brewer's signature. One CAP-backed bill signed into law is HB 2284, which allows for warrantless searches of abortion clinics by the state health department. Another signed by Brewer is HB 2454, which, among other things, creates restrictions on advertising for massage and escort services. The third signed by Brewer is HB 2150, which creates a small expansion to the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program -- Arizona's version of school vouchers -- to children of military families.
Center for Arizona Policy-backed bills still awaiting the governor's signature are HB 2565, to broaden the definition of assisted suicide (which is already a crime in Arizona), SB 1237, which mostly makes clarifications on how the ESA money can be used by parents, and HB 2328, which enhances a certain tax credit for parents that put their child in a private school.
Meanwhile, eight other CAP-backed bills died, three of which were vetoed by Governor Brewer. That of course includes the anti-gay SB 1062, as well as a proposed new tax cut for religious groups in HB 2281, and SB 1048, which would have created a tax credit for mostly small-business contributions to the private-school tuition organizations.
Of course, legislators also passed a budget, which is the only type of law that it's constitutionally required to pass.
Although this marks the end of the legislative session, there's still going to be a special session to deal with the creation of the new Child Protective Services agency, which Brewer partially established already by executive order after it was revealed that the agency had ignored thousands of allegations of child abuse and neglect.
Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.