Legislative Briefs

2006-03-01T00:00:00Z Legislative Briefs Arizona Daily Star
March 01, 2006 12:00 am

Property taxes

State lawmakers voted Wednesday to help find landlords who are cheating government out of property taxes.

HB 2474 sets up procedures for both county assessors and the state Department of Revenue to figure out whether property listed as being occupied by owners is really being rented out. Some landowners list their homes as owner-occupied, whether intentionally or by mistake, because it results in lower taxes.

The measure, given preliminary approval by the House, also says people may not list property for rent or lease unless the proper information is on file with the county assessor. A final roll-call vote will send the bill to the Senate.

Minors in Mexico

Border cities and counties could empower police to stop minors from entering Mexico without parental permission under the terms of legislation given preliminary House approval Wednesday.

Backers of HB 2387 say that some teens cross the border to take advantage of lax drinking age laws in Mexico, then drive back into this country intoxicated. This law would let police prevent entry, though they could not detain anyone.

Legislative staffers said the Nogales Police Department reported that 443 citations for underage drinking have been issued to minors since March of 2004 who were crossing back into this country from Mexico.

Rep. Ted Downing, D-Tucson, questioned the legality of such a proposal. But staffers said there is a similar program operating in San Diego which was reduced the number of intoxicated teens there.

Security breaches

State senators voted Wednesday to require companies to notify people affected if their security is compromised and personal information is stolen.

SB 1338 follows several incidents last year where outsiders obtained personal identifying information, either through theft or mistake. Backers of the legislation say that the people whose names, addresses, social security numbers and other data is stolen need to be told to protect themselves from identity theft.

The legislation, which now goes to the House, also applies to government agencies.

Prostitution

People charged with prostitution would have to serve time in jail under the terms of legislation approved by the House on Wednesday.

Current law allows a judge to sentence an offender -- whether the prostitute or client -- to up to six months in jail. HB 2307 spells out that first-time offenders must serve at least 15 days.

That increases to 30 days for a second offense, 60 days for a third and 180 days for a fourth. The 36-22 vote sends the measure to the Senate.

Game and Fish

The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Agriculture voted 4-3 Wednesday to recommend confirmation of Jennifer L. Martin to the Game and Fish Commission.

Wednesday's vote came over the objection of some who said that Martin, a self-employed technical writer, lacked experience either in managing an agency or in actual hunting or fishing. But she did work for that agency for three years as a wildlife specialist and has a bachelor's degree from Northern Arizona University in wildlife management.

Her nomination by Gov. Janet Napolitano still needs to be approved by the full Senate.

Lieutenant governor

Voters may get the opportunity to decide what they want to call the state's second highest elected official.

On a voice vote the House of Representatives approved a measure to rename the post of secretary of state to lieutenant governor. But the duties, which include being in charge of elections, tracking administrative rules, and registering trade names and lobbyists would remain unchanged.

Supporters say the believe the new title is more familiar to people from other states and that it will help remind people that whoever is in that post becomes governor if the incumbent dies, resigns or is removed from office. HCR 2042, which still requires Senate approval, eventually would be placed on the November ballot.

Egg donors

The House voted 33-21 Wednesday to make the sale of human eggs illegal.

Rep. Bob Stump, R-Peoria, said HB 2142 is necessary because the procedure can be medically risky and the eggs harvested often are used for human cloning research. His measure, which now goes to the Senate, would subject both donors and buyers to up to a year in prison and fines of up to $150,000.

But Rep. Jennifer Burns, R-Tucson, said the legislation is not limited to eggs offered for sale for cloning research. And Rep. Marian McClure, R-Tucson, said the legislation is unfair because it does not also criminalize the sale of sperm.

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