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home : latest news : regional April 28, 2016

2/27/2013 9:32:00 AM
Fann's bill seeking local control over fireworks fails again
Joanna Dodder Nellans
Special to the Review

Arizona Rep. Karen Fann of Prescott tried for a second time this year to give local governments more control over fireworks, but again was thwarted.

Fann said on Feb. 20 that House Public Safety, Military and Regulatory Affairs Committee Chair Justin Pierce, R-Mesa, told her she didn't have enough votes to get House Bill 2187 out of his committee, so she pulled it to avoid wasting the committee's time. Pierce was not available for comment late Wednesday afternoon.

"Apparently the fireworks lobbyist once again got to everybody before I even got a hearing in committee," Fann said, referring to lobbyist Mike Williams.

Fireworks were illegal in Arizona until 2010 when the Legislature changed the law to allow certain kinds.

The law allows local governments to ban fireworks use because of wildfire danger, but does not allow them to ban their sales. Fann was trying to change the law to allow local governments to ban their sales. Local governments have asked her to sponsor the legislation because the current law is confusing to the public.

"That's like selling a pack of cigarettes to a 15-year-old and saying he can't smoke them," Fann remarked. "That makes no sense. You're just encouraging them to break the law."

Fireworks have started wildfires in the Prescott region, including two in 2011. In one case, an 11-year-old boy ignited a wildfire in Prescott Valley when he threw a spent sparkler in the grass in his yard.

Friday is the last day for committees in the Arizona House of Representatives to hear House bills. It's also the deadline for Senate committees to hear Senate bills. Bills that don't get through committees by Friday are dead.

Many of Fann's bills relate to her position as chair of the House Transportation Committee.

Fann's other bills (besides placeholders labeled as "technical corrections" that she's not using) are:

• HB 2170: Requires school buses to display stop signals and flashing lights when they stop on private property. Current law requires it only on public roadways.

• HB2171: Several changes related to driver's licenses and driver's training schools. Gives the Arizona Department of Transportation 60 days instead of 30 days to schedule hearings on revoked licenses so there is more time to get blood test results. Requires driver's school trainers to provide fingerprints. Also updates state law to conform to federal law governing commercial driver's licenses.

• HB2172: Increases the bond required of larger fuel suppliers. Stops the requirement for ADOT to survey watercraft fuel use. Increases relocation assistance for businesses that lose land to highway right-of-way expansions.

• HB2173: Drops the requirement for the Department of Economic Security to send notices to all of a person's previous employers when they apply for unemployment insurance. Adds a 15 percent penalty if fraud produces a state overpayment of unemployment insurance.

• HB2174: Allows the Emergency Response Commission to assess fees to implement the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act that informs people about hazardous materials in their vicinity. The federal government requires the notification but has stopped paying for costs.

• HB2175: Allows sanitary and wastewater improvement districts to charge hook-up fees. Requested by

County Supervisors Association.

• HB2176: Allows the Registrar of Contractors to help homeowners with contractor issues before the current 15-day limit, if the homeowner cannot find the contractor.

• HB2178: Allows someone who illegally diverts a watercourse to conduct public education activities instead of a fine, although they still must pay damages.

• HB2180: Makes Arizona law conform to federal bankruptcy laws relating to vehicle liens.

• HB2181: Reauthorizes the Arizona State Parks system to exist for another 10 years.

• HB2182: Makes Arizona law conform to federal DUI law. Employers must have ignition interlock devices in vehicles driven by employees who are restricted to vehicles with the devices. Stops allowing people with asthma to wear monitoring bracelets in place of breathing into the interlock devices.

• HB2183: Sets up requirements for businesses that pick up Motor Vehicle Department tags, etc., for others.

• HB2185: Allows fire alarm companies to fingerprint employees.

• HB2189: Requires handyman ads to note that handyman work must total a maximum of $1,000 to avoid contractor licensing. Held by House Public Safety, Military and Regulatory Affairs Committee

Chair Justin Pierce, R-Mesa.

• HB2298: Fann is conducting a hearing on this before seeking committee votes. It would require vehicle owners to get new license plates after a certain period of time so they don't become hard to read. She wants to find out whether ADOT and law enforcement officials think this is a problem or not.

• HB2299: Slightly changes the definition of off-highway vehicles so newer models still qualify.

• HB2301: Extends large wind energy project tax credits by 10 years.

• HB2302: Says new Arizona businesses shouldn't have to submit up-front cash deposits to the worker's compensation program. Currently only three states require this, Fann said.

• HB2372: Limits the number of dealer license plates that dealers can possess.

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