Legislative roundup: Far from being done

Christianna Silva / Arizona Sonora News Service

PHOENIX – The legislature passed its 100 day mark this week with still no budget – or solution to budget issues – in sight. The legislative session was scheduled to come to a close at the end of April, but an extra special session or two looks to be on the horizon if the budget can’t be delivered soon.

Take some initiative

Gov. Doug Ducey has been digging into initiative bills with fervor this session. Within the day that the legislature gave final approval to HBill 2244 and just two days after its renaming, Ducey signed the bill into law. HB2244 modifies the current standard for initiatives from substantial compliance to strict compliance. Basically, the bill will hold citizen-driven ballot measures to a higher legal standard and makes it more difficult for citizen-driven ballot measures to make it to the voters.

Teach ’em a lesson

As it currently stands, Gov. Ducey’s budget would increase teacher pay by .4 percent, an issue Arizona teachers were vocally unhappy with. Republican lawmakers are now attempting to increase teacher pay funding after dozens of educators visited the legislature this week and last to detail their disappointment with how they feel they’ve been treated this session.

Getting stoned in your landlords home

On Tuesday, an appellate court ruled on two different legal issues surrounding doctors, patients, landlords and their weed. These are just the latest of rulings around the 2010 ballot proposition that made medical marijuana legal in Arizona.

The first ruling by the court of appeals said if patients act against their doctor’s advice and get a medical marijuana certification, that doctor can drop the patient without worry of being sued.

The second ruling concluded a previous ruling that voided a lease of a pot dispensary because marijuana isn’t generally legalized was wrong.

Put your phone down, teens

The Arizona House of Representatives gave approval to ban cellphone use while driving by drivers with learners permits and during the first six months they have a regular license. The bill, proposed by Sen. Karen Fann, passed the Senate and only awaits a formal vote from the House before it heads to the governor for signing.

What’s up, Gov?

When he isn’t discussing his highly anticipated budget, Gov. Ducey has been busy signing away on bills. So far this session, he’s already signed about 175 bills into law. This week, that included HB2216, a law that makes it illegal to require someone to track their firearms electronically, HB2238, a law that consolidates the offenses of child prostitution and sex trafficking of a minor, making it easier to prosecute child sex traffickers, and HB2523, a law that allows Arizonans to contribute a portion of their tax refund to the Spaying and Neutering of Animals Fund.

Christianna Silva is the Don Bolles Fellow covering the Legislature for Arizona Sonora News, a service provided by the school of journalism at the University of Arizona. Reach her at christiannaj@email.arizona.edu.

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