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Blizzard of bills: Brewer signs 338, vetoes 14

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signs immigration bill SB1070 into law Friday, April 23, 2010, in Phoenix. The sweeping measure would make it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally, and would require local law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signs immigration bill SB1070 into law Friday, April 23, 2010, in Phoenix. The sweeping measure would make it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally, and would require local law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

After a flurry of action in the final weeks of the legislative session, Gov. Jan Brewer wound up signing a total of 338 bills while vetoing 14.

About half of that action took place within a week of the May 11 deadline for her to approve, reject or allow bills to become law without her signature.

In the end, every bill either received a veto stamp or her approval; she didn’t allow any measure to become law without her signature.

Majority of these bills will take effect on July 29.

BILL SIGNINGS

In addition to the budget, Brewer’s most high-profile action dealt with signing S1070, regarded as the strictest state-level immigration law in the country.

One of the most important, yet expected, bills Brewer approved was S1043, which restores KidsCare, a children’s health insurance program, and undoes a rollback in the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program.

S1043 was aimed at preventing the loss of more than

$7 billion in federal money for health care, as the landmark federal health care bill passed by Congress prohibited state cuts to those programs.

Click here to download a full list of bills signed and vetoed.

The state continued to acquire a more socially conservative reputation under Brewer’s term as she approved proposals advocated by the Religious Right, such as prohibiting the use — with certain exceptions — of taxpayer dollars to pay for insurance that provides abortion-related benefits.

Those enacted bills also include a proposal that prohibits the use of human embryos to create “human-animal hybrids,” and another that bans the purchase or sale of an embryo for any reason other than the treatment or study of infertility.

Other bills that reached Brewer’s desk and received her approval ranged from the technical, such as continuing boards or commissions, to the controversial, and those in between.

She signed H2282, sponsored by Litchfield Park Republican Rep. Steve Montenegro, which requires local governments, beginning in January 2013, to establish and maintain websites that would show a comprehensive report of all revenues and expenditures over $5,000.

Also signed was H2246, which allows for the sale and use of small fireworks, such as sparklers. The bill also requires the state fire marshal to adopt rules about the sale of consumer fireworks, providing for a civil penalty for the use of prohibited fireworks.

One enacted bill makes juvenile “sexting” — using electronic devices to send sexually explicit photos — a petty offense or misdemeanor.

Another signed bill changes the classifications used to show a school’s performance, labeling them with a grade system everyone knows well — A,B,C,D, and F. Under S1286, “A” means a school or school district is excelling and “F” refers to those that are failing.

She also signed a measure allowing alcohol retailers to restock or sell liquor between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Sundays. That same bill continues the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control for five years.

S1018 prohibits the placement of photo-enforcement systems within 600 feet of a speed limit change, except in school zones. The new law also requires a speed limit sign to be placed between the two photo enforcement warning signs already required by law, and gives the state Department of Public Safety the authority to sever ties with the photo-enforcement vendor, a move that is expected in July.

S1045 terminates in 2012 the State Compensation Fund, which provides workers’ compensation insurance, and mandates its replacement with a private entity by 2013.

S1274 extends the deadline to donate to a school tuition organization until April 15, and claim a tax credit for the current or preceding tax year.

H2238 cracks down on those who prey on child prostitutes by removing the defense that they had no idea how old the child was.

H2080 expands the groups of health professionals that can certify that a pupil has a chronic health problem preventing him or her from attending class for extended periods.

S1056 applies sex offender registration, community notification and Internet sex offender website requirements to people judged guilty for certain sex offenses, except those who are determined insane.

S1107 extends the distribution of luxury tax revenues to the Corrections Fund until fiscal year 2015.

S1349 allows the State Parks Board to enter into an agreement with public or private entities or an Indian tribe to operate state parks. An emergency clause means it took effect the moment Brewer signed it.

BILL VETOES

Most measures the governor vetoed weren’t controversial, with a few notable exceptions.

Brewer rejected a proposal that would have defied the federal government over the regulation of light bulbs, saying although she agreed with the bill’s intent she felt that a better way to challenge the federal government would be over firearms regulation.

The governor also rejected a bill that would have exempted Maricopa County from reimbursing the Department of Health Services for the cost of housing and treating sexually violent people next fiscal year.

In her veto letter, Brewer said nearly 60 percent of sexually violent people at the Arizona State Hospital come from Maricopa County. The bill, S1179, would have reduced funding at the hospital by more than $1.7 million annually, she said.

“The lack of sufficient funding for the sexually violent persons unit could potentially lead to a major public safety risk,” she said.

A measure that would have made it legal for motorcyclists in Maricopa County to use a technique called “lane-splitting” was also rejected by the governor.

H2475 would have allowed motorcyclists to pass vehicles in the same lane and drive between lanes of stopped traffic.

Proponents said motorcyclists stopped at the back of traffic lines run the risk of being crushed between cars that may not see them.

Brewer, however, said the one-year experiment posed safety questions for Arizona drivers and law-enforcement officers.

“It is not clear how this proposal . . . could be implemented in a way that all motorists would be advised of this change in traffic law and educated on how to operate in a safe manner,” the governor said in her veto letter.

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