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Legislative Roundup: Tanning, guns, tuition costs

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PHOENIX -This was the busiest week yet this session for Arizona lawmakers, with committee hearings taking hours and bills vetted by the dozens. The week on the capitol began graced with dozens of Arizona firefighters spotting the mall, and ended with a farmers market. Somewhere in between, a mini horse trotted across the Rose Garden to lobby for service animals. What’s My Age Again? Every May, tanning salons are crowded with 16-year old high schoolers preparing for prom. House Bill 2194 will make that a whole lot more difficult. The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Heather Carter, R-Dist. 15, is aimed at decreasing the 3.5 million people in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer. HB 2194 will require that all people who use tanning salons must be 18-years old and older. This week, it passed the Committee on Health, the Committee on...

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Legislative roundup

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PHOENIX – A wild few weeks for news across the country didn’t disappoint here in Arizona: with inaugurations, late nights, and dozens of bills, legislators, interns and lobbyists are flooding into the Capitol coffee shop in gaggles. This past weekend was the third weekend in a row that the capitol was flooded with protestors. Two weekends ago, Arizonans marched to stand in solidarity against the newly elected president and his regime in Phoenix’s sister march to the national Women’s March on Washington. On Saturday the 28th,  demonstrators gathered at the capitol to protest against the advancement of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline. And this past weekend, hundreds of protestors gathered on the capitol and at Sky Harbor International Airport to protest the president’s immigration ban. Lighting up the age restrictions A bill to raise the legal smoking age...

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Committee curbs principal powers over high school student media

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PHOENIX – A bill to expand freedom of the press protections for student journalists at public schools, community colleges and universities across Arizona passed through the committee on education unanimously today. Senate Bill 1384, introduced by Sen. Kimberly Yee, R-Dist 20, allows student journalists across the state to exercise freedom of speech and freedom of the press in school-sponsored media. It prohibits a student journalist from being disciplined for exercising that freedom. It also charges student media advisers with the responsibility to determine the content of school-sponsored media. Section C of the bill clarifies that SB1384 does not protect or authorize libelous or slanderous work, or invasions of privacy, violations of federal or state law or work that endangers other students. This bill effectively nullifies Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, a 1988 Supreme Court Case that gave the principal of a high school the right to determine...

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Teacher pay, not certification, needs reform, educators say

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PHOENIX – The only education bills to show significant movement in the Arizona legislature involve teacher certification, but educators say that’s avoiding the real problem in Arizona education: teacher pay. According to educators across the state, the only solution that will get more teachers into Arizona is increasing teacher pay. Gov. Doug Ducey is offering 2 percent over the next five years. Many people say it just isn’t enough. Heidi Vega, the director of communications at the Arizona School Boards Association, says ASBA’s stance on these teacher certification bills is simple: it could potentially help, but at the end of the day, teacher certification just isn’t the reason Arizona has a teacher shortage. The average teacher salary in Arizona is around $43,000, and according to the National Education Association, that salary has decreased by over 7 percent in the past decade....

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Ducey’s ‘Miracle Drug’ could be costly

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Arizona inmates exiting prison with opioid addictions can be part of a substance abuse program that utilizes the drug Vivitrol, and while Gov. Doug Ducey calls it a “miracle drug,” some worry it is an expensive, understudied quick fix to a much larger problem. Vivitrol is a monthly extended-release injection that prevents patients from getting high – as long as the patient is taking it consistently. Vivitrol works by blocking the receptors that opioids bind to in order to give the user any pain relief or euphoria. “If they have the naltrexone in their system they will not be able to experience any euphoria from opioid,” said Daniel Ayanga, a psychiatrist who published a study on the treatment of opioid use disorder. Once those patients are taken off the drug, they are just as likely to relapse as those who never...

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