Brewer OKs bills on guns, abortion, vetoes sparklers - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Brewer OKs bills on guns, abortion, vetoes sparklers

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Posted: Monday, July 13, 2009 7:43 pm | Updated: 2:28 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Arizonans will soon be able to bring their loaded guns into bars. But they won't be able to light any sparklers to celebrate the new law.

GOP may be ready to OK sales tax vote

Arizonans will soon be able to bring their loaded guns into bars.

But they won't be able to light any sparklers to celebrate the new law.

GOP may be ready to OK sales tax vote

And Brewer, completing action Monday on the bills sent to her by the Legislature in the just-completed session, also signed several new abortion restrictions into law, including a new requirement for a 24-hour waiting period before a woman can terminate a pregnancy.

Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday inked her approval to legislation which creates an exception to existing law which makes weapons off limits anywhere alcohol is served. The new law says that, effective Sept. 30, that no longer applies if the person has a state permit to carry and concealed weapon and agrees not to imbibe.

The law does allow bar and restaurant owners to post their businesses as gun-free zones.

Brewer gave no explanation for her decision which reverses a veto of a similar measure four years ago by Janet Napolitano, her Democratic predecessor. But Brewer telegraphed her views in May that she does not share the concerns of armed bar patrons when she addressed the annual convention of the National Rifle Association in Phoenix.

"You know, a saloon girl or two were even known to keep a derringer in their garter belt, just in case,'' she said at the time.

Brewer also signed separate legislation that trims the rights of businesses to prevent employees from driving to work with their weapons, as long as they keep them locked out of view in their vehicles. And she signed another bill allowing someone who feels threatened to display he or she has a concealed firearm without being charged with intimidation.

The governor's veto of the sparkler bill came despite the fact she played with them while growing up in California and admitted to letting her own children light sparklers.

"I have been a supporter of responsible fireworks usage dating back to the time I served in the Legislature,'' she said. "However, I fear the language contained in this specific bill does not sufficiently address the risk of fire on federal, state and county lands,'' Brewer wrote in her veto message, citing Arizona's susceptibility to wildfires "particularly during our driest months.''

Brewer said she was influenced by letters of opposition from rural and urban elected officials as well as the U.S. Forest Service. She made no mention of the fact that the legislation specifically allowed cities to ban the use of sparklers within their urban limits and that the devices remain illegal on federal lands.

On the abortion issues, the governor provided no specific reasoning for her decisions. But here, too, the moves should come as no surprise: Brewer is on record as saying she believes abortion should be illegal except to save the life of the mother.

The most sweeping of the bills requires a woman to visit the doctor at least 24 hours prior to an abortion to be given certain information about the procedure and the probable gestational age and anatomical and physiological characterics of the fetus.

She also would need to be informed, though not necessarily by a doctor, that financial help might be available if she decides to give birth and that the father is financially responsible for child support.

The same law also allows pharmacists with moral concerns to refuse to dispense the "morning after'' pill, essentially a high dose of hormones designed to prevent pregnancy.

Brewer also agreed to create Arizona's own law against partial-birth abortions. The statute mirrors existing federal law but allows charges against doctors to be brought instead by local prosecutors.

And Brewer also agreed that surgical abortions should be performed only by physicians and not specially trained nurse practitioners.

Overall this session Brewer signed 190 bills into law, though she used her power of line-item veto to excise sections of two of them. She also let one bill take effect without her signature.

The remaining 22 were vetoed entirely, many of those dealing with the budget.

Other bills vetoed by Brewer include:

- Prohibiting cities and counties from removing political signs placed in a road right of way, which can include the area adjacent to the street. Brewer said local communities should be able to decide these issues;

- Providing new tax credits for "renewable energy'' plants. The governor said the measure is worded in a way that could lose Arizona millions of dollars each year;

- Giving the Legislature the power to designate the use of certain federal funds;

- Creating four new special license plates.

Bills signed by Brewer on Monday include:

- Allowing insurance companies to divert money they owe in state taxes to instead pay for certain students to attend private and parochial schools;

- Banning the state from issuing "enhanced'' driver licenses to comply with federal laws, licenses which contain a radio frequency identification chip that can be read at a distance by a scanner;

- Revamping "domestic violence'' statutes to also include those who were dating, a move that makes it easier for one party to get an order of protection against another;

- Expanding the legal definitions of child abuse and neglect to include letting them remain in buildings where illegal drugs are made as well as "unreasonable confinement;''

- Requiring motorists convicted of multiple failures to obtain liability insurance to prove coverage before they can get their driver's license and registration reinstated;

- Establishing a special fund to aid those defrauded by licensed loan originators;

- Retroactively revamping laws to make it easier for Harold Fish, found guilty of the 2004 murder of a hiker in Coconino County but whose conviction was overturned on appeal, to claim self defense at a new trial;

- Making it illegal to have animals intentionally fighting each other and banning "horse tripping'' for sport or entertainment;

- Moving the date for the primary election to 10 weeks ahead of the general election instead of nine, a move that will send voters to the polls in late August;

- Expanding the Pinal County Board of Supervisors from three to five members, a move likely to benefit Republicans;

- Increasing the civil penalties against those found guilty of financially exploiting vulnerable adults;

- Expanding laws aimed at scrap metal thieves to ban the sale or purchase of certain used catalytic converters from vehicles.

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