Brewer signs plethora of new Arizona laws on variety of subjects

2013-04-30T00:00:00Z 2013-04-30T09:24:18Z Brewer signs plethora of new Arizona laws on variety of subjectsHoward Fischer Capitol Media Services Arizona Daily Star
April 30, 2013 12:00 am  • 

PHOENIX - In other action Monday by Gov. Jan Brewer:

Criminal trespass

Brewer signed legislation making it easier for police to arrest trespassers who remain on someone else's property.

Current law says a property owner must first post a "no trespass" sign or ask someone to leave before police can act. This legislation allows the owner to call police and have a responding officer make the request.

Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, said some people are afraid to leave their homes to confront people on their property. She said this eliminates that need.

The final version is narrower than Griffin's original proposal. She wanted to make it a crime to remain on someone's property within 100 miles of the Mexican border without specific written permission.

Griffin denied that this was ever aimed specifically at those crossing the border illegally. She said the earlier version was drawn up "under a deadline."

Living wage

Arizona cities will be forbidden from enacting their own "living wage" ordinances.

A measure signed by the governor spells out that issues of wages and fringe benefits are strictly matters of statewide concern, meaning communities cannot adopt requirements for employers within their jurisdictions to pay more.

There are no such living wage ordinances now in Arizona. But lobbyists for the restaurant industry wanted to make sure none are enacted here, as they have been in San Francisco, for example.

Rep. Tom Forese, R-Chandler, said his legislation, which takes effect later this year, is not meant to stop cities from forcing companies that have contracts with city government to pay their employees a certain amount; Tucson has such a law.

Health, safety audits

Without comment, Brewer signed legislation to allow firms that conduct their own internal health and safety audits to keep them secret, at least from those who might sue.

Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, said the measure will encourage companies to do more than state and federal laws now require to check the safety of their workplaces as well as their products, as they will know that what they find will not be used against them in court. The only requirement is that a firm must actively work to resolve the problem.

Foes of the measure said they are not convinced that hiding internal reports from those who have been injured actually improves safety in the long run.

TEACHER EVALUATIONS

Brewer signed a measure to make it easier for schools to get rid of teachers who are not performing up to expectations.

Current law allows school districts to put some new teachers on probation. This new law also permits a district to give probationary status to veteran teachers whose evaluations show they are not properly doing the job. That would trigger performance improvement plans and regular evaluation, and a teacher could eventually be dismissed without improvement.

Redistricting

The Independent Redistricting Commission will get another check from the state. Legislation signed by Brewer provides another $635,226 for ongoing legal expenses. That is on top of the nearly $1.5 million the commission was granted on July 1 plus another $500,000 it got in the interim.

The commission is fighting three separate legal challenges to the lines it drew for the state's 30 legislative and nine congressional districts. One of those lawsuits was filed by the Legislature itself, which contends that voters had no power in 2000 to let the commission draw congressional boundaries.

House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, a plaintiff in that lawsuit, said he's not happy about the spending, but he conceded the state constitution requires lawmakers to give the panel what it needs for legal fights.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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