Legislative briefs - East Valley Tribune: Politics

Legislative briefs

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Posted: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 2:47 pm | Updated: 3:46 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Public notices

Newspaper publishers beat back efforts Tuesday to strip them of a key source of revenue.

Public notices

Newspaper publishers beat back efforts Tuesday to strip them of a key source of revenue.

HB 2244 would have repealed existing laws which require local governments to pay newspapers to run certain information in public notices, including everything from budgets to requests for bids. The measure also would have eliminated publication requirements for corporations.

In both cases, the notices instead would be “published” on government web sites.

Backers said forcing governments to spend that money makes no sense when many people now get their news and information on the World Wide Web.

“Obviously, readership is moving away from print media to digital readership,” said Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix. “But we’re still not there yet.”

He cited the testimony of Tommy Arvizo Jr., publisher of the Navajo Times who said 40 percent of those on the reservation lack electricity, much less have Internet access.

The 6-2 vote against the legislation by the House Government Committee does not permanently close the door on the issue. HB 2302, awaiting House floor action, would form a committee to study the question with an eye on seeing which form of publication reaches more people.

Adoption preference

A divided House voted Tuesday to give preference in adoption cases to married couples.

HB2148 would not preclude single people from adopting, but it would require state officials to, in essence, move married couples to the front of the line in most cases.

The 35-22 vote came over the objection of Rep. Phil Lopes, D-Tucson. He said there is no evidence that married couples score better on standardized scales of family functioning and adopted child behavior.

“Evidence, however, does exist that single people based on that same scale of family function do very well,” he said.

Rep. Warde Nichols, R-Gilbert, said his bill contains exceptions, such as when a single person already is a foster parent of that child or the person seeking to adopt is a relative.

“But all things being equal, the data that I have seen ... in the best interest of the child, if the state can place them with a mom and dad, that’s the best possible situation for them.”

Nichols said that with more than 2,500 youngsters awaiting adoption, he doubts that any qualified single person will be turned away. The bill now goes to the Senate.


State lawmakers are trying yet again to make sparklers legal in Arizona.

There was nothing unusual about Tuesday’s 40-17 vote, as the Legislature has previously approved similar measures. But each has been vetoed in the past, most recently just last year by Gov. Jan Brewer.

This version, HB2246, allows city councils to ban their use, though they could not preclude stores from selling them.

County supervisors could also impose bans, but only temporarily in periods of high fire danger.

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, said he believes this measure, which now goes to the Senate, will meet a different fate if it gets to Brewer’s desk again.

Voluntary taxes

Without debate, the state House voted 44-13 Tuesday to let Arizonans give the state some extra money.

HB2001 would put a box on income tax forms to let people contribute to the “I Didn’t Pay Enough” Fund. The measure now goes to the Senate.

Rep. Judy Burges, R-Skull Valley, admitted that the measure has a political component, responding to claims by some — mostly Democrats — that Arizonans are willing to pay more to protect vital services. But Burges said the measure could make a small difference, figuring that $5 from every household would generate $12 million a year.

Burges is opposed to the May 18 ballot measure to ask voters to approve a temporary one-cent hike in state sales taxes to generate about $1 billion a year for the next three years.

Fuel taxes

On a 53-4 margin, the House voted Tuesday to require a sticker on all fuel pumps informing motorists of the state’s 18-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline.

Rep. Warde Nichols, R-Gilbert, said HB2034 addresses his belief that Arizonans are unaware how much they pay in fuel taxes.

The measure was opposed by Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson. He said what Nichols wants fails to inform motorists that they’re not paying state or local sales taxes on gasoline.

Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, also voted against the measure because it does not tell people where the money goes. This bill now goes to the Senate.

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