Hot Links: Senate Bills, Penis Tree on eBay, and Charity Grants

An Arizona Senate committee has approved recommended passage of Senate Bill 1334, which would ban drivers from sending text-messages while driving. If it passes, the law will go into effect January 1, and motorists caught texting will have to pay a $50 fine. If the driver is involved in an accident, the fine would increase to $200. Arizona would become the 20th state to ban texting while driving...The Arizona state House voted Monday to give married couples preference in adoptions. Under House Bill 2148, the Department of Economic Security would consider adoption for single people "only if a qualified married couple is not available." Advocates of the bill say it's in the best interest of children waiting to be adopted, but the bill requires a final House vote before it is sent to the governor...

Yet another bill approved by the Arizona Senate would strengthen immigration-enforcement laws. The bill, sponsored by Mesa Republican Senator Russell Pearce, would ban police agencies from adopting policies that prevent officers from asking people about their immigration statuses. The bill would also make transporting or concealing an illegal immigrant a state crime and ban illegal immigrants from soliciting work in public places. The bill now goes to the House for final approval...The controversial tree carved to resemble a penis that upset some Tempe residents has been placed for sale on eBay. Homeowner Adam Starr had received complaints about the eight-foot, phallic-looking dead tree from neighbors, and was ordered by the city to remove the tree by Wednesday. Starr chopped it down on Sunday, and says if the "penis tree" sells on eBay, he'll donate the money to charity...A fire at a Tempe condo complex early this morning left two people injured and almost two dozen displaced. The fire only damaged two units at the complex near Hardy and University drives, but the power to the entire building had to be shut off. Investigators believe the fire started on the patio of a ground-floor apartment...The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust has awarded 20 grants to non-profit agencies in Maricopa County, totaling almost $1.4 million. Among the recipients are the Southwest Autism Research Resource Center, the Jewish Family and Children's Service, Greasepaint Youtheatre, and Lutheran Social Services. The grants are in addition to the $1 million in community-relief funds already allotted for arts-and-culture organizations.    

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea