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New laws help speeders and landlords, restrict cities and towns

cars speeding freeway620Gov. Doug Ducey has signed bills into law that will give speeders twice as many chances to neutralize their tickets; take away the ability of cities and counties to regulate plastic bag use and grant landlords new rights to kick out the guests of tenants.

SPEEDERS
Come July 3, motorists will have twice as many chances to get out of their speeding tickets.

That’s the day a new law takes effect which says that citations can be wiped out every 12 months by attending four-hour defensive driving classes. Now a traffic ticket can get dismissed that way no more often than once every 24 months.

Going to the class – or taking it online – does more than dismiss the ticket. It also ensures that the motorist’s insurance company is never notified and never has the chance to raise that person’s premiums.

Insurance industry lobbyists worked to kill the bill. They said not allowing their clients to raise the rates for bad drivers means higher costs for everyone else.

Nothing in the legislation changes existing law which says that those whose violations result in death or serious physical injury cannot attend defensive driving school to erase the citation.

RECYCLING
Cities and counties are going to lose their right to force recycling and regulate the use of plastic bags.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation Monday to make it illegal for any community to adopt legislation similar to what exists in California where merchants are required to charge customers a nickel when they want a new plastic bag. The governor provided no reason for his decision.

The measure was sought by grocery stores and restaurants who did not want the additional regulation.

It most immediately will overturn a Bisbee city ordinance which imposes a nickel-a-bag tax on disposable bags. The retailers get to keep two cents for the cost of bags and administering the fee, with the balance going to a fund which can be used to provide reusable carryout bags and promoting conservation and recycling programs.

But it also short-circuits similar measures being considered in Flagstaff, Tucson and Tempe.

Foes argued, unsuccessfully, that this is a matter best left to local control.

RENTERS
Landlords are getting new rights to kick out the guests of tenants.

The legislation says a landlord can call police if a guest remains on the premises “without the permission of the tenant or the landlord.” It takes effect July 3.

Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, said the measure is needed to help tenants who cannot get rid of an unwanted guest. But foes pointed out that the law does not even require the permission of the tenant before a guest can be removed.

Ellen Katz, an attorney with the William E. Morris Institute for Justice, complained that the wording would allow a landlord to decide that a boyfriend or even a dinner guest was not welcome. But Griffin said most leases have provisions that protect invited guests.

FEDERAL LANDS
Arizona won’t be asking the federal government turn over millions of acres of federal lands to the state.

Gov. Doug Ducey vetoed a measure to require the attorney general request that Arizona be given title to national forests, national monuments, property owned by the Bureau of Land Management, wilderness areas and national historic sites no later than the end of 2021. The measure would then have allowed the state to sue.

National parks, military reservations and Indian reservations would have been exempt.

Ducey also vetoed a parallel measure to have the state enter into compacts with other states to demand title to federal lands.

Proponents contend Arizona is financially hobbled with just 18 percent of all state land in private hands, leaving a small property tax base. They said states back East, admitted to the Union earlier, were not subject to the same set-aside of federal lands.

Ducey instead signed legislation to create a federal lands transfer study committee. “I look forward to reviewing recommendations set forth by this planning committee prior to making decisions about how to proceed,” he wrote.

FELINE NEUTERING
Feral cats could be released from animal control without the normal 72 hour hold under the terms of legislation signed Monday by Gov. Doug Ducey.

The 72-hour law is designed to give owners a chance to retrieve the animals. This new law allows early release for cats that are clearly homeless – but only if they were brought in by volunteers specifically to have them neutered and then release them where they were found.

Opponents of the measure did not want the stray cats released at all, contending that returning them to their neighborhoods allows them to prey on birds there.

The measure also requires animal shelters to keep cats that have been implanted with microchips, presumably by an owner, for at least 120 hours.

One comment

  1. Since most minor speeding tickets are issued in speed traps where the posted limit is set at least 10 mph lower than the safety-optimum 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under good conditions, this is a great new law. It will prevent much of the predatory profiteering by insurance companies that issue high premium surcharges to their safe driving policyholders who get tickets in these predatory speed traps. See our website for how these scams work.

    Since 1974, most speeding enforcement has become a multi-billion dollar a year for-profit business for authorities and their supporting insurance company business partners. If all main road speed limits were posted at the safest 85th percentile speed levels, this money grab speed trap business would end.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

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