Not just immigration and concealed guns: Variety of laws go into effect - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Not just immigration and concealed guns: Variety of laws go into effect

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Posted: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 5:24 pm | Updated: 9:39 pm, Thu Jul 29, 2010.

Beginning Thursday, cities won’t be able to regulate guns or knives.

Foreclosure consultants will have their practices restricted.

Yellow lights will be at least three seconds long.

And it will become a crime to try to create a human-animal hybrid.

Much has been made of the high-profile laws which take effect Thursday, ranging from immigration and concealed weapons to being able to buy a drink early Sunday morning rather than waiting until 10 a.m. as has been the case.

But a couple hundred other measures signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer also kick in. And they will impose new regulations on everything from health care to home sales.

The measures on knives and guns did not get the same attention that did a higher profile measure which says, come Thursday, Arizonans won’t need a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

In essence, these separate laws are designed to preempt cities from enacting their own rules about possession, sale, licensing or registration of guns or knives. While neither affects things like sales taxes, they overrule any local law which is more restrictive, even if it is already on the books.

That specifically includes restrictions that now exist in some cities limiting when a gun can be carried into a park.

Another measure is aimed at protecting homeowners in financial trouble. It sets out rules for what foreclosure consultants are permitted to do.

Potentially more significant, it precludes them from collecting any money until their services are complete. This is designed to address complaints that homeowners paid money up front to self-professed consultants who then disappeared with the cash and provided no help.

And homeowners get three days to cancel a contract.

A related measure is specifically designed to help the elderly stay in their homes. It sets up state regulation of “reverse mortgages.” These financial arrangements let those 62 and older with equity in their homes get some money up front for living expenses.

Much of what the new law requires simply is in the form of disclosure. Borrowers would need to be provided information, in detail and up front, about the costs and conditions of the loan, including special fees and what actions will make it payable before the homeowner dies.

It also imposes limits on what other kinds of other products lenders can try to induce borrowers to buy, like insurance. And it mandates that borrowers get independent financial counseling before they obtain a reverse mortgage.

Lawmakers also agreed to further trim the power of homeowner associations. This latest law restricts the ability of homeowner associations to prohibit “open house” and “for sale” signs, as well as signs which say a property is for rent. Prior legislation has curbed the power of HOAs to limit everything from solar panels to flagpoles.

Another form of real estate is behind legislation which will let landlords pay greater “finder fees” to tenants who help them rent more apartments.

Current law limits those fees to $100. Lobbyists for the industry pushed to have that doubled in hopes that it would help many of the apartment complexes fill the vacancies they now have.

Legislators also adopted a variety of new health laws. Some are aimed strictly at research like the legislation banning human-animal hybrids. That law also makes it illegal to put a human embryo into a non-human womb, or vice versa, and bans the sale or purchase of any human embryo fertilized in a laboratory, though patients can still buy fertilized eggs for treatment of infertility.

But a closely related measure imposes new requirements on what has to be disclosed to women before they become egg donors. Supporters of the legislation said women are not now informed of both the known and unknown risks.

It also will become illegal to use any public funds to pay for insurance for public employees that includes elective abortions. That is aimed at health care coverage offered by some communities which does not include prohibitions against paying for such care.

Legislators also agreed to create a new crime of “sexting.”

Current law already makes it a felony to send sexually explicit photos of a minor. But prosecutors said they needed some lesser punishment for teens who see nothing wrong with sending naked pictures of themselves or friends to each other.

One new law creates a Parents’ Bill of Rights, spelling out that certain rights are reserved to a parent or legal guardian without obstruction or interference from any government entity or employee. These include the child’s moral or religious training, health care decisions, access to all education and health care records and, with only limited exceptions, the right to consent in writing before any video or voice recordings are made.

It also spells out that parents must “opt in” to sex education programs for their teens.

The yellow light provision stems from complaints by some legislators that cities, hoping to generate revenues from cameras that catch red-light runners, have been tinkering with the warning time that approaching motorists get.

As approved, the law does more than spell out that three-second minimum time. It also bars cities from issuing citations unless the traffic light timing system conforms to specifications approved by the state Department of Transportation.

Other bills taking effect Thursday include:

• Allowing charities to have instant ticket raffles;

• Eliminating the $10 cap on late fees for auto loans;

• Providing reduced-fee hunting and fishing licenses to Arizona Eagle Scouts and Girl Scouts who have received the Gold Award;

• Barring the Department of Environmental Quality from enacting greenhouse gas regulations without legislative approval;

• Exempting dairy farming from certain local zoning regulations;

• Limiting the ability of cities to use zoning rules to keep out churches so as not to interfere with liquor licenses;

• Requiring school boards to publicly consider whether to have a “recess” period for youngsters in kindergarten through fifth grade, though there is no mandate to actually approve one;

• Spelling out that businesses are not required to have bilingual staffers to handle customer requests;

• Expanding the kinds of medications that optometrists can administer;

• Increasing the penalty for assaulting someone who the assailant knows is a code enforcement officer or a park ranger;

• Requiring health professionals to list the type of license they hold on all advertising materials;

• Boosting the deposit a retailer can charge on automotive batteries from $5 to $15 but gives the buyer 45 days to return the old one for a full refund, up from 30;

• Providing tuition waivers at state universities and community colleges for military who were awarded the Purple Heart for an injury sustained while stationed in Arizona.

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