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A Few New Laws That Could Impact You

Judge Gerald A. Williams
North Valley Justice of the Peace

~ 5/20/2015

Each year, our state legislature considers hundreds of potential new laws. As most of us hopefully remember from a civics class, if a bill passes both the House of Representatives and the Senate in identical form, it goes to the Governor. If the Governor signs it, then it becomes a law and will eventually show up in a set of books called the Arizona Revised Statutes.

Many new laws will impact only a few. For example, one new law gives a homebuilder the right to repair problems before the homeowner can file a lawsuit alleging a construction defect. Others have the potential to impact almost everyone.   

There are a few new traffic laws worth knowing about. HB 2308 allows people who receive a civil traffic ticket for a moving violation to have the charge dismissed by going to Defensive Driving School, one ticket within every 12 months. The previous law allowed for driving school attendance every 24 months. Another bill, SB 1064, requires that photo enforcement tickets be sent via certified mail and also posted at the driver’s residence, preferably on the garage door.     

Other laws are aimed at panhandling. SB 1094 establishes the new petty offense of aggressive solicitation. It makes it illegal for someone hang out by ATMs and ask for money. SB 1063 expands the misdemeanor offense of obstructing a highway or public thoroughfare to include pushing a walk button, not to cross the street, but to trigger a red light so that the occupants of stopped cars can be asked for money. 

Some other laws are just really good ideas. HB 2294 allows a court to order veterans to seek counseling for DUIs, or for domestic violence, not just at a state approved counselor, but also at the Department of Veterans Affairs. One that was a very big deal to me was SB 1116. It authorizes justice courts and city courts to order defendants, who are unable to pay their fines, to perform community service or restitution instead. 

Overall, it was a relatively quiet legislative session. For fans of limited government, that is perhaps a good thing.                  
 
Judge Gerald Williams is the Justice of the Peace for the North Valley Justice Court.  His column appears monthly in The Foothills Focus.