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What to know about Arizona laws taking effect this week

Posted 8/26/19

By Howard Fischer

Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX — Come Tuesday you’ll be able to get your hair shampooed and blow dried by anyone you want.

You’ll be able to take your nunchucks out …

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What to know about Arizona laws taking effect this week


By Howard Fischer

Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX — Come Tuesday you’ll be able to get your hair shampooed and blow dried by anyone you want.

You’ll be able to take your nunchucks out of the closet where you’ve been hiding them and actually use them in public.

And when you have a sip of lemonade, you’ll now be imbibing in what Arizona legislators have designated the “official state drink.”

Tuesday is the day when most of the 321 measures approved by the Legislature take effect. Not all of them.

Some were approved as emergency measures, like the drought contingency plan, which became law on the signature of Gov. Doug Ducey. And some of what was approved this year won’t happen for awhile, like a requirement for the testing of medical marijuana which becomes mandatory next year.

But that still leaves a grab-big of issues that Arizona legislators found significant enough to create new laws and restrictions, some with broad effects and some much narrower.

Consider a new law designed to help provide some limited privacy for those who have been arrested.

The statute is aimed at companies that gather booking photos and then put them on a commercial web site where people can pay to find records.

But that’s only half the money-making scheme. Those same companies sometimes agree to take down the pictures and criminal history information — for a fee.

The new law makes it illegal to publish criminal justice information on a publicly available website for commercial purposes, including requiring payment of a fee for removal. It also allows anyone whose information is published this way and is “adversely affected” to sue to recover any actual damages, along with penalties of $100 a day for the first 30 days of violation, $200 daily for the next 30 days and $500 a day after that.

Oh, and the news media is excepted. Speaking of privacy and the media, lawmakers voted to give those who win at least $100,000 in the Arizona Lottery the power to keep their names out of the papers — and confidential from everyone.

The state pushed forward on multiple fronts in deregulating some professional services. One measure spells out that people with certain licenses from other states are free to ply their trade if they move here.

That’s an extension of rights already given to the spouses of those in the military who are transferred here. Now, pretty much anyone who is licensed or certified in at least one other state for at least a year, they can do the same work here.

There are some restrictions, including that the person does not have pending complaints and pays all applicable fees. And if Arizona already requires an exam of residents to test on knowledge of this state’s laws that same requirement applies to those coming here from elsewhere.

But another law eliminates at least one licensing requirement entirely. It will now be permissible for someone to hang out a shingle as a hair stylist. That means giving a customer a shampoo and blow dry without having to be certified as a cosmetologist.

There are limits, including the inability to dye hair or use other chemicals. Stylists also will be required to complete a class on sanitation and infection protection.

And they will have to put up a sign informing would-be customers that they’re not regulated.

Lawmakers also voted to ease up, but just a bit, on the use of “consumer fireworks.”

Right now the list is restrictive. Pretty much anything that explodes or fires into the air is off limits.

And even the days people can light sparklers and similar devices is limited to things like Independence Day and New Year’s Day.

Now in the state’s two largest counties people will be able to light up around Cinco de Mayo and the festival of Diwali, a five-day festival celebrated in India and by those from the subcontinent.

And “snappers,” those things that explode when you throw them on the ground, also will be legal.

Several education-related measures also are taking effect.

Trained school officials will now be allowed to administer certain medications without parental authorization in cases of emergency. High school teachers will be able to get incentive bonuses in certain schools where students pass and get college credits for courses. The Board of Education is being directed to require at least a one-half credit course in economic to graduate from high school, a program that must include financial literacy and personal financial management.

School districts have to adopt policies to report certain suspected crimes and threatening conduct to authorities as well as to notify the parents of the students involved.

And there will be a State Seal of Arts Proficiency to recognize students who have attained a high proficiency in the arts and graduated from a participating high school.

At the higher education level, lawmakers sought to clarify existing laws that prohibit universities and community colleges from restricting a student’s right to speak, hold a sign or distribute fliers.

The new language allows certain “time, place and manner” restrictions which are “reasonable,” occur without referring to the content of the speech and leave alternative channels for communication of information. There also have to be provisions for “spontaneous assembly and distribution of literature’’ without having to first get a permit.

Legislators also voted to require any doctor or health care institution planning to close to surrender each patient’s records to that person or a third-party provider.

That measure followed complaints by patients after a Phoenix area hospital closed, leaving patients in the middle of treatments without access to their records. Violators are subject to fines of up to $10,000.

Elsewhere on the medical front, in the age of Ancestry.com and 23AndMe, lawmakers also moved to address privacy concerns.

The new measure expands on laws to spell out that any genetic testing and information obtained are confidential and considered privileged to the person tested. More to the point, these results can be released only as authorized by state and federal laws.

And, speaking of testing, another new law sets the stage for testing of medical marijuana for contaminants. Lawmakers also paid some attention to traffic, both on and off the streets and the sidewalks.

One involves those increasingly popular standup scooters.

The new law spells out that operators have the same rights — and same duties — as someone riding a bicycle. That means the ability to ride them wherever bicycles are allowed.

But the same law gives local authorities the power to implement their own regulations when considering everything from environmental and traffic issues. And it will be easier to identify scooters and those who are using them with a requirement for each one to have a unique identification number that is visible from a distance of at least five feet.

Another bill gives permission for people to operate “personal mobile cargo carrying devices” weighing up to 80 pounds — plus whatever they are holding — on sidewalks up to 12 miles per hour. These might be considered self-powered suitcases, controlled by radio to stay within 25 feet of the owner.

Another new law requires the Department of Transportation to either suspend or restrict the driving privileges following an accident resulting in serious injury or death, even if it is only a first-time violation.

ADOT will now be required to suspend or revoke the license of someone who does not comply with an order to attend and complete traffic survival school. Until now that has only been optional.

And police officers no longer have to write out a full report of a motor vehicle accident unless the damage reaches $2,000. That is double the current threshold.And on the crime front, possession of nunchucks will no longer put you at risk of 2.5 years in state prison.

Elsewhere in the statute books, would-be timeshare owners also got a few new protections, starting with the ability of a buyer to cancel within 10 days, up from seven. There also are some new disclosure requirements ranging from first-year financial requirements to a clear statement that “timeshares are not investments.”

And while lawmakers have so far refused to tighten up on the deregulation they did several years ago of vacation rentals, it will now be illegal for people to rent out homes for any non-residential purpose, meaning no special events, parties, banquets or retail spaces.

On the elections front, candidates will no longer be allowed to collect nominating signatures until they first register with the secretary of state or applicable local filing official. That was designed by some lawmakers to prevent “surprise” candidates from filing against them at the last minute.

There also are new requirements for circulators of initiative and referendum petitions to first register with the secretary of state. Voters in cities and towns will now be empowered to enact term limits on mayors and council members.

Write-in candidates for local elections will not get on the general election ballot unless they get as many write-in votes as the number of signatures they otherwise would have needed to put their names on the ballot.

It will become a Class 2 misdemeanor to knowingly remove, alter, deface or cover any campaign signs for ballot measures.

And in a related local control measure, cities, towns and fire districts cannot impose residency requirements on peace officers or firefighters as a condition of employment.

Finally, not everything legislators did expanded the size of the law books. They did repeal a 1927 law — one apparently never used — that allows cities to levy a tax to create and finance a municipal bond.

Other odds and ends from this year’s Legislature include:

  • Increasing the penalty on those who intentionally or knowingly subject a domestic animal to cruel mistreatment;
  • Expanding the tax credits now available for those who contribute to public schools to allow the dollars to be used for things like community school meal programs and capital items;
  • Eliminating criminal penalties for those who drill a well into a subsurface flow and tap water that does not belong to them;
  • Prohibiting life, disability and long-term insurance companies from unfairly discriminating against people solely because they are living organ donors;
  • Allowing landlords to accept partial payment of a tenant’s rent from a housing assistance program without giving up the right to evict the tenant.