Monday, January 13, 2020

Arizona's 54th Legislature's Second Regular Session

Arizona’s 54th Legislature’s Second Regular Session begins today, January 13, 2020; legislators have already filed 284 bills. 

A summary of just a few of the bills that have been filed are as follows.  To see a complete list of bills that have been filed, go to the Arizona State Legislature website at the following link: 



The person completing a death certificate is required to record the decedent’s sex to reflect the decedent’s gender identity. On being presented with a document memorializing a gender transition, a local registrar or the state registrar are required to amend the sex listed on a registered death certificate to reflect the decedent's gender identity.


  • ARS Title Affected: 36
  • First Sponsor: Rep. Gabaldon (D - Dist 2)


A person who violates traffic and vehicle regulation statutes may perform court-approved community restitution in lieu of paying a civil penalty, surcharge, assessment or fee. The court is prohibited from assessing the time payment fee (set elsewhere in statute and currently $20) on civil traffic violations.

  • ARS Title Affected: 28
  • First Sponsor: Rep. Biasiucci (R - Dist 5)


It is a class 1 (highest) misdemeanor for a person to knowingly own, possess, purchase, sell, transfer or manufacture "animal fighting paraphernalia" (defined) for the purpose of engaging in, promoting or facilitating animal fighting or cockfighting.

  • ARS Title Affected: 13
  • First Sponsor: Rep. Kavanagh (R - Dist 23)




The list of debilitating medical conditions that qualifies a person to receive a medical marijuana registry identification card is expanded to include opioid use disorder and autism spectrum disorder. Due to voter protection, this legislation requires the affirmative vote of at least 3/4 of the members of each house of the Legislature for passage.
  • ARS Title Affected: 36 
  • First Sponsor: Rep. Espinoza (D - Dist 19)


Repeals the following statutes established by Laws 2010, Chapter 113 (S1070): the prohibition on state and local government agencies or governing bodies restricting the enforcement of federal immigration law; the requirement for law enforcement officials to determine the immigration status of a person at any lawful stop or arrest where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is unlawfully present in the U.S.; provisions allowing law enforcement to arrest without warrant any person the officer has probable cause to believe has committed a public offense that makes the person removable from the U.S.; the defense of entrapment for employers found to be employing unauthorized aliens; the establishment of willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document, unlawful stopping to hire and pick up passengers for work, and unlawful application for employment or employment by an unauthorized alien as class 1 misdemeanors; the requirement that a vehicle driven in furtherance of the illegal presence of an alien in the U.S. and in violation of a criminal offense be immobilized or impounded; and the establishment of the Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (GIITEM) Fund.
  • ARS Titles Affected: 12, 13, 23, 28, 41
  • First Sponsor: Sen. Quezada (D - Dist 29)


Makes a supplemental appropriation of $1.2 million from the general fund in FY2020-21 to the Department of Veterans' Services to hire additional benefits counselors.
  • ARS Titles Affected: 41
  • First Sponsor: Rep. Andrade (D - Dist 29)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Free Legal Advice - Tax Law

ABC15 and the State Bar of Arizona have partnered to sponsor "Let Joe Know, Ask a Lawyer Phone Bank."  On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., lawyers will be on call to answer questions about tax law.  For more information, click on the following link:

Hawaii Could Be the Seventh State to Allow Medical Aid-In-Dying

Expected to pass in the Senate, Hawaii’s House has approved a controversial medical aid-in-dying measure.  (House Bill 2739)  The measure allows a physician to prescribe life-ending medications to terminally ill, but mentally capable, patients with less than six months to live.  The patient must be capable of taking the medication themselves, only physicians may prescribe the medications, and a mental health consultation is required beforehand. 

For more information:  

Friday, March 9, 2018

The AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act

House Gives Final OK to Bill Extending AMBER Alerts to Indian Country

Until now, tribal law enforcement agencies had to work through state and local police agencies to post an AMBER alert.  This bill is sponsored by Senator McCain of Arizona, and was sparked by the May 2016 abduction of Ashlynne Mike, an eleven year old Navajo girl; an alert was not posted until the day her body was found.  The AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act will give tribes direct access to funds letting them quickly post AMBER alerts by text messaging, radio, and television.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

SB 1439 – Prohibition on Discrimination Against Health Care Entities

Introduced by Arizona Senator Nancy Barto (R) District 15, SB 1439 protects health care entities, which includes physicians and other health care workers, from discrimination if they choose not to participate in medical treatments or procedures that could end a patient’s life.  Proponents of the bill feel health care providers should be free to opt out of these treatments based on their beliefs without adverse consequences.  Opponents of the bill feel a person should be allowed to make end of life decisions when faced with a terminal illness, and that health care directives should be followed by health care entities.  Pursuant to SB 1439, “discriminate” means taking or threatening any adverse action including, but not limited to, termination of employment, transfer or demotion from current position, and adverse administrative action.     

Arizona law already provides health care providers protection from criminal or civil liability for declining to follow an advanced directive or the decisions of a surrogate decision maker (A.R.S. § 36-3205(C)), as well as disallows the revocation, denial, or suspension of the professional license of a health care provider for acting according to their religious beliefs.  (A.R.S. § 41-1493.04.)  SB 1439 would provide further protection for health care entities by ensuring they are not retaliated against in less overt ways for following their conscience when treating patients.

SB 1439 also creates a civil cause of action for health care entities who have been discriminated against.   

You can read the text of SB 1439 at the following link. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Arizona's Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

Arizona’s Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which became effective on August 8, 2016, can be found in Title 14, Chapter 13 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. Under this new law a fiduciary, as defined in 14-13102 to include a successor personal representative, conservator, agent or trustee, will have the ability to access, manage, and distribute the deceased or incapacitated person’s digital assets. The purpose of the act is to solve the problem of the inability of a fiduciary to access digital assets which include images, photos, videos, and text files, which are stored either locally on a device owned by the user, or on devices that are accessed by way of the internet, such as when a user stores information “in the cloud.” Digital assets also include social media and e-mail accounts.

Pursuant to 14-13104.A., “[a] user may use an online tool to direct the custodian to disclose to a designated recipient or not to disclose some or all of the user's digital assets, including the content of electronic communications. If the online tool allows the user to modify or delete a direction at all times, a direction regarding disclosure using an online tool overrides a contrary direction by the user in a will, trust, power of attorney or other record.” The new law makes the user’s online instructions legally enforceable and overrides any contrary provision that may exist in a user’s other estate planning documents if the online tool allows the user to modify or delete a direction at all times.

A.R.S. 14-13104.B. allows a user to give legally enforceable directions for the disposition of digital assets in a will, trust, power of attorney, or other written record “[i]f a user has not used an online tool to give direction under subsection A of this section or if the custodian has not provided an online tool.” Note this includes the content of electronic communications sent or received by the user. If the user has not provided any direction, either by using an online tool or traditional estate planning documents, the terms of service will determine whether a fiduciary may access a user’s digital assets. Finally, if the terms of service do not address accessibility by a fiduciary, the default rules in the new law apply, and they can be found in A.R.S. 14-13107, 14-13108, 14-13109, 14-13110, 14-13111, 14-13112, 14-13113, and 14-13114.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Suggestions, Not Demands - Rethinking Living Wills

I wanted to take a moment and bring to the attention of my readers an article that was published in the October, 2004 issue of Arizona Attorney, but still relevant today. The article, titled “Suggestions, Not Demands – Rethinking Living Wills,” was written by Kenney Hegland, who feels one of the inherent problems with living wills is the attempt to make decisions today that may not be implemented for a number of years. That is, deciding now what one will want then.

He states studies show that living wills have little impact on the medical treatment one actually receives at the end of their life, and that doctors usually do what family members want, despite what the patient may have indicated in their living will. However, he doesn’t see this as a problem as he feels living wills are too casual, vague, and speculative to be taken seriously, mainly due to the fact that many living wills are of the “check the box” type.

He brings up a number of excellent points; a worthwhile read.

Suggestions, Not Demands - Rethinking Living Wills