Highlight on Bill Signings

18 May 2018

At the end of the Arizona legislative session, there are always some key bills touted by their sponsors and/or supporters.

  • Suppose your 14-year-old daughter wants to marry her 15-year-old boyfriend. Now the law is on your side if you say no.
  • People who drive on a suspended license and get in an accident can now be charged with a felony, rather than a misdemeanor.
  • Ready to make a will online? Arizona’s recognition of electronic preparation and signing of wills and trusts is now law.
  • Want to know what’s happening on a certain occupational licensing board? Now they must record their public meetings.
  • Need mid-level dental work? Meet your new dental therapist.
  • Need to challenge an occupational regulation that makes it harder for you to do your job? Now that will be easier.

Below are the descriptions of enacted laws sent out by legislative Communications staff and the Goldwater Institute.

Representative Syms Applauds Enactment of Pam’s Law

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Representative Maria Syms (R-28) today applauded the enactment of Pam’s Law.

Pam’s Law (HB 2522) closes a loophole in Arizona law that prevented prosecutors from being able to file felony charges against a man driving on a suspended license after he ran a red light and killed a Chandler mother.

In 2016, Pamela Hesselbacher and her children were struck by a truck while walking across a crosswalk on their way home from the park. Her children suffered serious injuries, and Pamela was killed. The driver had a suspended license for failure to maintain high-risk insurance. The driver was required to maintain high-risk insurance because he had a long history of driving violations, including several DUI charges. Despite his history, prosecutors could not file felony charges against the driver.

Representative Syms worked with Pamela’s family and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to introduce HB 2522. The new law permits prosecutors to bring felony charges against a driver who seriously injures or kills another person while committing a traffic violation and driving on a suspended license for failing to maintain high-risk insurance.

“As a mother and a legislator, it’s frustrating to see a loophole in state law that allows a high-risk driver with a suspended license to kill a mother and seriously injure her children and get off with just a misdemeanor,” said Representative Syms. “Thanks to Pam’s Law, if you’re a high-risk driver that gets behind the wheel with a suspended license, you will be held accountable under the law.”

Representative Ugenti-Rita’s Legislation to Establish a Minimum Age to Marry is Signed Into Law

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Representative Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-23) applauded the enactment of HB 2006, legislation she introduced to establish a minimum age to marry in Arizona.

Previously, Arizona had no legal minimum age to marry. However, in Arizona you must be 18 years of age to legally enter into a contract, vote in an election, or purchase tobacco. You must be 21 years of age to gamble in a casino or purchase an Arizona Lottery ticket, which can cost as little as fifty cents.

As signed by Governor Ducey, HB 2006 prohibits anyone under the age of 16 to marry. Minors ages 16 and 17 can only marry if they are legally emancipated or their parent or guardian consents to the marriage and the other person is no more than three years older.

According to The Economist, “Married children are twice as likely to live in poverty and three times more likely to be beaten by spouses than are married adults. Around 50% more of them drop out of high school, and they are four times less likely to finish college. They are at considerably higher risk of diabetes, cancer, stroke and other physical illnesses. And they are much more likely to suffer from mental-health problems.”

“I am pleased that Arizona has finally taken the long overdue action to protect children by establishing a minimum age to marry,” said Representative Ugenti-Rita. “It is difficult for me to envision a scenario where marriage is in the best interest of someone 15 years of age or younger. Too often, child marriages are the result of manipulation for the purpose of exploitation. I would like to thank my colleagues for their support and Governor Ducey for signing HB 2006 into law.”

"Representative Leach’s Praises Enactment of Electronic Wills and Trusts Bill

Leach (4)

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Representative Vince Leach (R-11) thanked Governor Ducey for signing HB 2656 into law.

HB 2656 was sponsored by Representative Leach to recognize wills and trusts prepared and signed electronically.

“Arizona’s recognition of electronic preparation and signing of wills and trusts is long overdue,” said Representative Leach. “People can still prepare their documents the old-fashioned way, but this new option provides a faster and safer alternative to that process.”

“Even though Governor Ducey signed this bill with his pen and not an electronic signature, I’m still thrilled Arizonans will now have alternative option for filing these wills and trusts.”

Goldwater Institute

Phoenix—This year’s Arizona legislative session has come to an end, but not without the passage of Goldwater Institute bills that will improve the lives of all Arizonans, including increasing transparency in occupational licensing process, expanding access to dental care, and making it easier for people to work in the job of their choice.

Governor Doug Ducey has signed the following three bills:

• Increased transparency in occupational licensing boards: Arizona’s occupational licensing boards wield great power over people’s ability to work, but much of their work has been obscured from the public. In a win for greater transparency in the occupational licensing process, House Bill 2649, sponsored by Representative Travis Grantham, requires each board to make digital recordings of its public meetings and make them publicly available within five days of the meeting. These recordings, as well as all final agency orders, must then remain available to the public for at least three years. Because of this new law, which passed with strong bipartisan support, the public will have increased access and oversight by the general public to these powerful boards.

• Expanded access to dental care: Of Arizona’s 7 million residents, 2.4 million are living in “dental health professional shortage areas” with one or fewer dentists per 5,000 people. But with the signing of Senate Bill 2235, sponsored by Senator Nancy Barto, the state now allows for the licensing of mid-level dental practitioners—known as “dental therapists”—who provide many of the same services that dentists can, including preventative examinations and less complicated dental extractions. Allowing dental therapy services to be performed by educated and trained dental therapists creates greater access to safe and affordable dental care throughout Arizona. The Goldwater Institute partnered with a bipartisan coalition including Tohono O’odham Nation, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, For McDowell Yavapai Nation, Chicanos Por La Casa, HualaPai Tribe, Arizona Rural Health Coalition, Cocopah Indian Tribe, and many more to help address the dental care crisis in rural Arizona.

• Reducing occupational licensing barriers for those who need it most: Senate Bill 1273, sponsored by Senator Warren Petersen, makes it easier for Arizonans to work in the job of their choice. In Arizona, the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) has the authority to review, approve, disapprove, or set aside rules made by state regulatory agencies. However, that oversight is limited only to rules submitted to GRRC by the agencies themselves—meaning that average Arizonans affected by occupational licensing laws did not have a way to challenge onerous regulations that prevent them from working. This has hit low-income Arizonans particularly hard, who often lack the resources to navigate complex regulatory regimes. But with the signing of SB 1273—also passing with bipartisan support—any person is now able to petition GRRC to review occupational regulations that affect professions with an average salary that is 200 percent or below the federal poverty guidelines. If GRRC finds that the regulation is unduly burdensome or does not advance a health or safety objective, GRRC can change or set aside the rule.

“The passage of these Goldwater bills at the end of the legislative session is great news for all Arizonans,” Goldwater Institute President and CEO Victor Riches said. “While these laws will improve people’s daily lives in differing ways, they share some important characteristics: They help create a system in which there is more fairness, more transparency, more accountability, and more freedom.”

About the Goldwater Institute

The Goldwater Institute drives results by working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and strengthen the freedom guaranteed to all Americans in the constitutions of the United States and all 50 states. With the blessing of its namesake, the Goldwater Institute opened in 1988. Its early years focused on defending liberty in Barry Goldwater’s home state of Arizona. Today, the Goldwater Institute is a national leader for constitutionally limited government respected by the left and right for its adherence to principle and real world impact. No less a liberal icon than the New York Times calls the Goldwater Institute a “watchdog for conservative ideals” that plays an “outsize role” in American political life.



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Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder and Editor of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She asks a lot of questions! In her spare time, she loves photography, cooking and hanging out with her family.