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Legislative Roundup: Tanning, guns, tuition costs

Christianna Silva / Arizona Sonora News Service

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 Rules and both the minority and majority caucuses in the Arizona House of Representatives.

This is not the only bill to make the state legislature in order to change age restrictions. A bill to raise the legal smoking age to 21 passed the Committee on Health by a 7-2 vote on Feb. 2.

Rep. Paul Boyer, R-Dist 20, introduced HB 2335, which includes electronic cigarettes and vaporizers, to decrease the number of smokers in Arizona. The bill is also assigned to the Committee on Commerce and Public Safety and the Committee on Rules, which have both yet to hear it.

Smart Guns

On Monday, the Arizona House of Representatives voted along party lines against “smart” guns.

House Bill 2216, introduced by Rep. Paul Boyer, R-Phoenix, would make requiring a person to use electronic firearm tracking technology or to disclose any information about the person or their gun for use with electronic firearm tracking technology a class 6 felony. A class 6 felony is up to 1 year of jail time and $150,000 surcharges.

Basically, guns can be fitted with a hardware sensor that broadcasts transactions every time the gun is used. This bill makes it a felony to both require that a gun owner has that sensor and a felony to track that information from a person and their weapon.

False Terrorism Threats

Senate Bill 1350, introduced by Sen. Warren Petersen, R-Dist. 12, will increase mandatory minimum sentences for terrorist threats and false reporting, but eliminating the crime of a “hoax” and replacing it with making a terrorist threat and false reporting of terrorism.

This bill expands the definition of terrorism to include an “act committed with the intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population and further the goals, desires, aims, public pronouncements, manifestos or political objectives of any terrorist organization.”

On Thursday, the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 6-1 vote. It was also assigned to the Senate Rules Committee but has yet to be heard.

Lowering Tuition Costs

Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, is attempting to push through a bill that would place a cap on university tuition hikes to control costs. So far, she has not been able to gather enough votes to limit the increases to 2 percent.

Senate Bill 1061, introduced by Sen. Allen, the chair of the Senate Education Committee, would limit year-over-year increases to 2 percent. It garnered a strong opposition from the Arizona Board of Regents and has been put on hold by the Senate Education Committee. It was also assigned to the Senate Rules Committee but has yet to be heard.

A Win for Sexual Assault Survivors

On Thursday, Senate Bill 1355 passed the Senate Committee on Judiciary, introduced by Sen. Katie Hobbs because it “tells survivors ‘Arizona has your back.'”

The bill, which was unanimously voted with no one speaking out against it at the committee hearing, allows sexual assault survivors to receive a medical examination whether they decide to involve the police or not, and makes sure the victim will not be required to pay for the examination.

If this bill passes, the survivor will have access to the kit and its preserved contents without charge for 20 years or the maximum applicable statute of limitations, unless the survivor asks to keep it preserved for longer.

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.