191 new state laws (AZ) cover guns, abortion, stray pets and "more"
191 new state laws cover guns, abortion, stray pets and more
By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.29.2009
PHOENIX — With the Arizona Legislature's long-running struggle to adopt a balanced budget the governor would sign this year, it might be hard to remember that it passed a raft of new laws too, most of which take effect Wednesday.
Gov. Jan Brewer signed 190 bills into law this year and allowed one more to take effect without her signature. The changes will affect how Arizona regulates guns, religious viewpoints at schools, stray pets, abortion and a host of other issues. They include:
• Anyone with a state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon will be able to bring it into a bar or restaurant where beer, wine or liquor is sold. It will be up to business owners to post a "no weapons" sign if they don't want their patrons to be armed. Anyone who is armed is not permitted to drink. Bill Weigele, president of the Arizona Licensed Beverage Association, said it's not yet clear to him how many places will seek to continue to keep out customers who are armed.
• People can bring their weapons into parking lots and garages as long as they leave them in their vehicles. That includes parking lots at public colleges and universities.
• Anyone who feels threatened can "display" a gun without being charged with intimidation.
• Students can't be marked down for expressing a religious viewpoint in an assignment. That does not mean a student, asked to explain the theory of evolution as taught in class, can simply respond with an essay saying evolution is untrue. A student still would have to answer the question.
• A school cannot bar a youngster from wearing jewelry or T-shirts with religious messages unless there is a ban on all jewelry and all clothing with messages. And students will be allowed to have prayer meetings or other religious activities to the same extent that other nonreligious activities are permitted.
• If a dog or cat is not licensed when it's picked up by officials, it must be spayed or neutered at the owner's expense. An owner can get around that by showing the surgery would be "medically contraindicated" or by paying a $50 fee on top of any other charges.
• Pharmacists with special training can administer certain vaccines and immunizations without a doctor's prescription. State law already allows pharmacists to administer certain immunizations, vaccinations and emergency medications. But until now, pharmacists had to have a signed prescription from a physician. This measure eliminates that requirement.
• It will become more difficult for those who were injured in hospital emergency rooms to successfully sue for malpractice. The new law leaves in place the requirement that someone suing for medical malpractice must show that the care received did not meet the professional standards expected. But current law requires proof only by a "preponderance of the evidence," essentially a finding that it is more likely than not that the doctor committed malpractice. The new law bars recovery unless malpractice can be proved by "clear and convincing evidence," a burden that's more difficult to prove.
• Create a special fund that can be used to financially reimburse those defrauded by loan originators.
• Require cities and counties to allow charter schools to operate anywhere public schools are permitted.
• Allow insurance companies to divert a combined total of up to $10 million a year in tax premiums to instead help provide scholarships for students to attend private and parochial schools.
• Specify that those discharged from the military while in Arizona are considered state residents, no matter how long they have been in Arizona, and they're entitled to pay lower tuition rates at universities and community colleges.
• Limit the ability of cities to remove political signs from street rights of way.
• Expand laws giving special protections to domestic-violence victims to also include those who were just dating, as opposed to married or living together.