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Legislative Roundup: Cell phones and tampon tax

Christianna Silva / Arizona Sonora News Service

PHOENIX – On Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, the capitol was full of gratuitous shows of love: singing on the House floor,  heart-shaped balloons on the rose garden. Nothing was too cheesy. But whether state minimum wage workers will feel the love became the question.

On Monday, the state Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction over a lawsuit to block Proposition 206, the $10 minimum wage hike that was voter-approved during the last election. The court will hear oral arguments on March 9, but until then, there are plenty of stories to bring you up to date on the conflict.

To wrap the work week up, on Thursday the governor rode into his office with style. That is to say, he sat in the passenger side of a race car and fishtailed in front of the capitol. What a way to end a week.

Can You Hear Me Now?

If new teen drivers are pulled over for any reason, and are also using their cell phones, they might catch an extra fine or ticket.

Drivers in the City of Phoenix and the City of Tucson already can’t text while they’re behind the wheel  – but new teen drivers might not be able to use a phone at all while in the state. The Arizona Senate voted to pass a bill that bans all cell phone use by the newest teen drivers if they are stopped for another reason. The bill passed through the Senate and is now up in the Arizona House.

The Tampon Tax

Women pay about $7 per month for 40 years of tampons and pads: that’s $3,360 that every women has to spend in her lifetime. To lessen that burden, Rep. Daniel Hernandez, D-Tucson, introduced House Bill 2418. The bill will eliminate the tax on feminine hygiene products, diapers and baby formula in the state of Arizona.

Arizona isn’t the first to look at eliminating the “Tampon tax:” Colorado and Ohio are among states looking at similar bills.

HB 2418 passed through the House Ways & Means Committee on Thursday with a 6-3 vote. It has also been assigned to the House Committee on Health and the House Committee on Rules, but has yet to be heard.

Trump Isn’t the Only One Worrying About Tax Returns

Hidden inside House Bill 2280, a bill to promote electronic filing of taxes and tax returns, is a requirement that state workers file their tax returns on time or risk losing their jobs.

HB 2280, proposed by Rep. Don Shooter, R-Yuma, states that those who fail to file their own tax returns on time could be “subject to immediate dismissal.”

The bill passed through the House Ways & Means Committee with ease on Wednesday. It has been assigned to the House Committee on Rules, but has yet to be heard.

Puff, Puff the Bill Passed

You could smoke an entire hemp shoe and just end up sitting on your couch, not at all high, treating a sore throat. That’s why there is yet another bill up in the Senate to let farmers grow hemp.

Senate Bill 1337, introduced by Sen. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, authorizes industrial hemp production, processing, manufacturing, distribution and commerce conducted by licensed growers and processors in Arizona.

“We’ve been missing out on a multi million-dollar industry,” Borrelli said to the members of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Public Safety on Monday.

On Tuesday, the bill passed through the House Committee on Appropriation unanimously. The bill was also assigned to the House Committee on Rules, but has yet to be heard.

Christianna Silva is the Don Bolles Fellow covering the Legislature for Arizona Sonora News, a service provided by the school of journalism at the University of Arizona. Reach her at christiannaj@email.arizona.edu.

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