PHOENIX – This marks the last week the Arizona state legislature was supposed to meet. Instead, there will be additional special sessions to review the rest of the bills out there and go over the long awaited budget from Gov. Doug Ducey.
No bail for accused rapists
Appellate Judge Jon Thompson ruled that people who are charged with rape are no longer eligible for bail because he says rape is a different crime and should be treated as such.
This comes not even a full year after the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that people charged with statutory rape can’t be automatically denied bail. Despite this, which Thompson acknowledged, he still wrote that “sexual assault remains a non-bailable offense.”
Former U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi requested to appeal his 2013 conviction on corruption and was denied by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday.
The court upheld the Tucson federal judge’s decision for Renzi to serve three years in prison for corruption and money laundering charges, among others. He was released in January after being convicted for his involvement in a land-swap deal.
Ducey’s education focus continues
Gov. Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill 1042 which would make it easier for people without formal training or certificates to teach in a public school. Anyone who has “expertise in a content area or subject matter” can teach in a public school, even without taking a test of professional proficiency or getting a teaching certification. Currently in Arizona, STEM teachers are already allowed this privilege.
Arizona has a large teacher shortage, but educators say lessening the criteria to teach isn’t going to fix it. But increasing teacher pay, they say, could.
Signed this week
It was a busy week for Gov. Doug Ducey as he signed dozens of bills into law, including HB2247, which would require all school bus drivers to hold a fingerprint clearance card, SB1342, which establishes procedures for issuing warrants for tracking device and SB1377, which deals with medical marijuana legislation and allows cannabidiol to be prescribed if it meets certain requirements.
Texting while driving
On Thursday, Governor Doug Ducey signed the first ever statewide texting ban in Arizona into law. It will ban texting-while-driving for teens.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.