New law bars affordable housing requirements

Cities and counties are going to be prohibited from requiring developers to provide affordable homes or apartments.

Legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Doug Ducey bars land use regulations, plan provisions or zoning conditions that have the effect of establishing the sales or lease price for any housing unit. Also illegal would be requiring any particular housing units “be designed for sale or lease to any particular class or group of residents.”

The measure was supported by home builders and business groups.

Opposition came from Valerie Iverson, executive director of the Arizona Housing Alliance, who said there is a shortage of more than 200,000 affordable rentals in the state.

Ducey vetoes tax-break legislation for coins

Arizonans won’t be using gold and silver coins as legal tender, at least not this year.

Late Wednesday, Ducey vetoed legislation declaring such coins to be on the same legal basis as money issued by the federal government.

Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, said the problem with a system based solely on federal reserve notes is that it is subject to inflation. He called that “fiat currency,” the soundness of which is at risk relative to the price of oil and other commodities.

But much of the purpose of the law was to provide a tax break for those who invest in the coins.

Anyone who invests in an item at $500 and sells it for $750 has a capital gain. But by calling the coins legal tender, they would be exempt from the state’s tax on such gains.

Utah and Oklahoma have enacted similar laws.

Jan Brewer vetoed nearly identical legislation in 2013 when she was governor.

Senate revives Real ID

With efforts stalled in the House, Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, is making another bid to let Arizonans get a document that will let them board commercial aircraft without a passport beginning next year.

His proposal would require the state Department of Transportation to issue a special type of driver’s license that would comply with requirements of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as secure identification. That agency has said licenses that do not meet its requirements may not be recognized beginning in January as sufficient to let people take commercial flights.

Without a federally recognized license, that pretty much leaves a passport as the only other form of ID that would get someone past security checkpoints.

Those who do not want such a license could keep what they now have.

The Senate had previously approved Worsley’s proposal. But it has stalled in the House, requiring him to add it as an amendment to HB 2609. That bill, given preliminary Senate approval Wednesday, eventually will require House ratification.

Bill bans powdered alcohol

On a 32-26 margin the state House voted Wednesday to ban the sale or use of powdered alcohol — but not its manufacture.

“I don’t think we should take the chance that our children could be overdosing on alcohol,” said Rep. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson. She said this product, recently given federal approval, is not sold anywhere else and she does not want Arizona to be a testing ground.

But Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Scottsdale said that ignores a simple fact. “Alcohol is a legal substance,” she said. And Townsend said the concerns about abuse and overdose could be applied to the liquid forms of alcohol.

HB 2178 now goes to the governor.

From Capitol Media Services. Follow Howard Fischer on Twitter at @azcapmedia