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Legislative roundup: A retired justice, minimum wage & drunken hair cuts

PHOENIX – On Wednesday this week, Sen. Kimberly Yee, R-Glendale, brought former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to the Arizona State Senate to speak about civics. Yee pointed out that O’Connor was the first female senate majority leader. Some 40 years later, Yee is the second. O’Connor also visited the Arizona House of Representatives later that day.

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, introduced her guest on Wednesday as well: former state senator and minority leader Alfredo Gutierrez.

Later on Wednesday, over at the House of Representatives, Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Dist 6, gave a pretty weird apology on the House floor. In the beginning of the session, he publicly apologized for his treatment of a fellow lawmaker, saying “I overstepped my authority.” He didn’t name who he over stepped his authority with, but he asked Rep. Isela Blanc, D-Dist 26, to step outside the House building to talk. She refused.

Desegregation 

As current law states, when a student leaves a school and decides to switch to another school, the original school can say they aren’t allowed to do so, and point to segregation laws to uphold their reasoning. This has not actually happened in Arizona according to the Education Committee, which is why SB1254 would remove that wording.

“It’s archaic language,” Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Cochise, said. That’s why she sponsored Senate bill 1254.

SB1254 passed through the House Education Committee on Monday. It has already passed through the Senate and is now on it’s way to the House for a floor vote.

Drink, drank, drunk

Do you wish you could get drunk in more public places, like while you have your nails done or get a hair cut? Some state legislators sure do.

HB2337, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Weninger, R-Chandler, would temporarily increase the issuance rate of new beer and wine bar licenses. Basically, it makes it easier for Arizona businesses to obtain beer and wine licenses. It would allow craft distillers to obtain 150 daily festival licenses a year and ship directly to consumers and shortens license and acquisition of control protest periods.

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The bill passed through the Senate Committee on Commerce and Public Safety and is now on it’s way to the Senate for a floor vote.

Make it rain with a minimum wage gig

In November, almost 60 percent of voters decided to increase the minimum wage, but there was no lack of conflict surrounding the proposition.

Last month, the Arizona 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 heard oral arguments on March 9, and ruled unanimously against the challenge.

“The Supreme Court has spoken,” Gov. Doug Ducey, who vocally opposed the minimum wage hike, said. “We’re going to follow the law.”

What’s up in the governor's office?

National politics doesn’t always make an appearance here at the state capitol, but on Tuesday, Gov. Doug Ducey made a few quick comments about national healthcare.

Ducey has always been public about his disdain for the Affordable Care Act. This week, he repeated that act need to be repealed and replaced, but said the Republican plan to replace it isn’t quite ready. He said the new plan is flawed and must be fixed before it is enacted.

Ducey also signed his first letter of the 2017 legislative session, in which he attacks professional licensing.

Ding, dong, the bill is dead

On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee rejected a bill introduced by Sen. Steve Farley, D-Dist 9, that would require a periodic review of all sales-tax breaks by a 4-5 vote.

For the second time this year, the Arizona House of Representatives rejected a bill introduced by Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Dist 6, which requires all government computer passwords to be “strong.”

A bill introduced by Sen. Sonny Borrelli, R-Dist. 5, Senate Bill 1153, was rejected by the House Appropriations Committee with a 5-8 vote. The bill would have required the Gambling Commission to adopt rules relating to all hourly lottery games that would give 50 percent of the prize money to the winners, and the other 50 percent would be transmitted to the State Treasurer and deposited to fund education and the DPS.

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