Much of the interest in the Arizona Legislature’s long session was on the budget and income tax (editorial June 26). However, legislators did much more than that, and there will be some strong benefits for Arizonans.
One new law will increase the number of prison inmates who can work to clear forests of overgrowth and help prevent fires. Another law gives protection against frivolous COVID-19 lawsuits to those working and operating in good faith during the pandemic, including health care personnel, businesses, schools, governments and churches. Another will extend the state’s prison transition program to give help to former inmates in starting a new life and trying to avoid rearrest.
Another bill signed by Gov. Doug Ducey gives protection to the unborn by banning abortions solely for the reason of a genetic abnormality. SB 1453 will allow community colleges to offer four-year degrees. HB 2772 is a major expansion of gambling, benefiting Indian tribes, sports franchises, the state and those who want to make wagers. As we’ve said before, this has pluses and minuses, but the state has been moving in this direction for a long time. SB 1485 helps protect election integrity.
Other laws expand access to telemedicine, provide clean water in various areas and prevent abuses of asset forfeiture. Another protects Second Amendment rights by blocking frivolous lawsuits. And still others expand broadband access and allow sale of cocktails to-go, something that helped businesses during the pandemic. Another provides aid for fighting wildfires and also recovery from those.
A sum of $50 million will be provided for the long-sought widening of Interstate 10 between Casa Grande and Chandler. That is being planned, and the time when it will become a reality is in sight.
The Legislature often is criticized for what it does and doesn’t do, and too many things become partisan matters tied to political campaigns. However, legislators have done pretty well for Arizonans this year.
— Donovan Kramer Jr.