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Legislative Roundup: Riots and mariachi bands

Christianna Silva / Arizona Sonora News Service

PHOENIX – The Arizona State Legislature doesn’t usually meet when they don’t have to. This is the same legislature that left early to grab dinner on Valentines Day. But, against the trend, legislators came in bright and early on Presidents Day Monday morning, and, once again upending the norm, they came into work with a mariachi band.

The mariachi band even played the National Anthem at the House of Representatives, where representatives are worried mold might be causing headaches during the work day. The Department of Administration didn’t find any mold, and honestly, it could just be the legislation causing the headaches.

Time to Play

Arizona students are getting closer to having a required full 50 minutes of “unstructured recess” with House Bill 2082. Rep. Jesus Rubalcava, D-Gila Bend, introduced the bill because he believes that giving students in kindergarten through fifth grade a 50-minute break will help them focus better during class. Rubalcava is pushing the idea that recess is just as important as any other class.

The bill also prohibits punishing students by taking away their recess without notifying their parents.

On Monday, the Arizona House of Representatives approved the bill without any votes against it. The bill needs a final roll-call vote before its last stop at the state Senate.

A Rock-y Path

Insurance companies in Arizona are attempting to stop providing free glass replacements for customers who have full coverage policies. A bill to support this effort, introduced by Sen. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, appears to have failed for this session.

The apparent death of Senate Bill 1169 allows Arizona drivers to drive through dust storms without fear that they might have to pay for the cracks caused by rocks. Drivers who already have full coverage policies can relax – they still won’t have to pay when their car windshields are cracked or shattered by rocks, for this year at least.

I’m Just a Bill, Sitting on Capitol Hill…

The first bill of the session was signed by Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday. House Bill 2088, introduced by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Chandler, will allow the town of San Tan Valley to vote on incorporation.

Protestors Might Want to Protest this Protest Bill

Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, is in some deep water. The bill he introduced, Senate Bill 1142, passed through the Senate this week and is on its way to the House of Representatives.

SB1142 expands racketeering laws to include rioting, allowing police to intervene and arrest protestors before they become aggressive. The bill expands the definition of riot to include the conspiracy to commit a riot. An overt act of rioting is not required for it to be considered a riot. In fact, if SB1142 passes, police could arrest people who are simply planning these political events if officers suspect those events could turn into riots.

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.