In 2007 (or was it 2008; it was the 48th 2nd regular session) the state of Arizona inserted a new law into the transportation code that specifcally prevents ADOT (“the department”) from issuing DLs or IDs (i.e. motor vehicle drivers licenses, or in the case of non-drivers, state issued identification cards) that complied with federal REAL ID requirements. HB2677
In what has become an annual ritual, a certain cadre of Republican state legislators bring forth numerous bills designed to limit / curtail / eliminate photo enforcement. This posting covers the 52nd Legislature, 1st Regular session’s activities, that is the Spring of 2015. Continue reading Legislation to ban Photo Enforcement
bear with me here…
Senate OKs bill to allow sawed-off shotguns, silencers
Arizona’s Senate gave preliminary approval Monday to a bill that would end the state’s ban on sawed-off shotguns and silencers on weapons… The proposal, contained in a surprise amendment to Senate Bill 1460, passed with Republican support and Democratic opposition… The amendment, introduced by Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, was tacked onto her bill to restore gun rights to those with felony convictions after certain waiting periods or after the convictions are legally set aside. Ward said her amendment was “constituent driven” and about “making certain things legal that are illegal,” a vague description that drew hushed snickers from some in the Senate.
“My own view,” Ward said during a break in the session, “is we have the right to keep and bear arms, and really, that right shouldn’t be infringed. The government putting any kind of regulations on that is wrong.” — azcentral.com
Meanwhile, the full senate voted down Rep. Ward’s bill to end all photo-enforcement anywhere in Arizona:
Senate slams brakes on photo-enforcement ban
Mind your speed: Photo enforcement will continue to be a tool local governments can use to control traffic, as the state Senate on Monday rejected a bill that would have banned red-light cameras and other technologies.
The issue drew bipartisan opposition, despite the argument from Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, that photo enforcement is unconstitutional and infringes on individual privacy… Safety, and an acknowledgment that local government is better able to gauge its traffic needs, prevailed as four GOP senators joined with the Democrats to kill Senate Bill 1167. Cities and towns lobbied against Ward’s bill, pointing to statistics that they say show the cameras, especially when used for red-light enforcement, cut accidents. … Ward, however, disputed many of the statistics and said the greater issue is what she perceives as the unconstitutionality of photo enforcement in the first place. Such devices, she said, collect information without the consent of the driver that can be stored by private companies and governments for later use, and they infringe on privacy rights. “You have no right to face your accuser,” when photo enforcement is used, she said. — azcentral.com
The new legislative session, 52nd / 1st Regular, is going full bore. State Senator Kavanagh is making panhandling his signature issue. Sen Kavanagh sits on the Public Safety committee.
[UPDATE — this bill was passed, i believe in exactly the same form as was vetoed last year, we have a new governor. HB2211 in 52 1st regular session, 2015. The bill also included autocycles ]
[VETO — gov. Brewer vetoed this bill… “Brewer in her veto said the bill could pose a public-safety risk, primarily if passengers are drinking alcohol.” ]
Somewhere out of the blue; House trans committee chairperson Rep Karen Fann introduced an amendment that makes definitions and regulations for commercial multiple-person, pedaled, motor-assisted quadricycles. Often offered as a “party bus” where the riders drink and pedal around (presumably the driver remains sober). This is an amendment to SB1201 a striker bill that defined Autocycle as essentially an enclosed 3-wheeled motorcycle. Continue reading Arizona Legislature considers defining motorized quadricycles
There is an interesting bill floating around in the state legislature, HB2027 (see
bill-tracker to follow this and other bills of interest)
The first odd thing is the bill is written so it only applies to age restricted communities in unincorporated areas of counties more than 3 million population.(phew! Translation: Sun City, Sun City West, etc. It also, come to think of it, applies to Sun Lakes.). Continue reading More about shoulders; this time golf carts.
Bills affecting cyclists
This legislative session is now over; each bill’s disposition is noted below…
SB1170 bicycle equipment (helmet requirement for < 18 y.o.)
Bill Status: Assigned to Trans and PS (Public Safety) but not on agenda to be heard. [Final status: never heard]
azbikelaw says: mandatory helmet use laws tend to have the unintended consequence of reducing cycling. The safety benefits of bicyclist helmet use tend to overstated.
HB2677 theft; bicycle; increased penalty
Bill Status: Assigned to Judiciary but not on agenda. [Final status: never heard]
HB2545 bicyclists; public ways
Bill Status: on agenda 2/13 house trans committee; at the hearing, without any notice, the bill was not heard w/o explanation (last few seconds of the hearing). [Final status: Held/never heard]
Mods to 28-735, the 3 foot rule… removes the bad clause, subsection C. azbikelaw says: that’s good but i would also like to see subsection B removed also, and simply have 28-735 be added to the list of enabling statutes to 28-672, et al. These piddling civil fines of $500/1000 are silly.
Adds language that allows drivers of vehicles overtaking a bicyclist may cross the center line, where safe, while overtaking. azbikelaw says: other states (e.g. FL) deal with this issue by adding an ‘obstruction’ exception to the “driving on the right side” law 28-721, which is also in UVC. Anyhow the law that refers to no-passing signs and markings is 28-727.
Modifies 28-815 (bicyclists keep right rule) in several places to add the word ‘shoulder’. azbikelaw says: it is a little-known fact that Tucson/Pima DOT’s claim, but only if asked, they have virtually no bike lanes; but rather they have “bike routes with striped shoulders”… I’m not quite sure what to make of this part of the bill…. In any event, one of them, the addition to 28-815D regarding parking would outlaw all parking/stopping/standing on shoulders — is that what was intended?
Adds that any driver causing right-hook, or overtaking collision is prima facie at fault.
Adds language to 28-898 that attempts ensure that crash debris gets removed from any shoulder or bike lane… azbikelaw says: I’m not at all sure this is worded as intended. I’m struggling to understand what the problem with the existing 898 is, the term highway is very broad, so the law already requires removal of debris from any bike lane or shoulder (because highway includes them and more).
SB1277 (Enables local authorities to) Change normal right-of-way rules such that Buses emerging from a bus-pullout have the right-of-way.
Bill Status: passed (DP) Senate Trans 2/11/2014 6-0 SB1277 passed senate trans comittee yesterday with virtually no discussion 6-0. I watched the hearing online — apparently from the way she described it, this was wholly Judy Burges’ brainstorm (she’s the chairperson). she said, (i’m paraphrasing) “whenever anybody including me sees a bus about to pull out, they speed up to get by it and that’s dangerous”. [Final Status: although bill passed Senate committee process; was never scheduled for a COW (Committe of the Whole; i.e. the full senate) vote. So, it’s dead]
azbikelaw says: bad. Jiggering the normal right-of-way rules is always bad. by the way, this points out that bus pullouts are in general a bad idea; and are only appropriate in places where a bus is going to dwell, and not simply regular passenger pickup/dropoff. Secondarily the part about allowing cities to enact/enable this is also bad because it creates inconsistency across Arizona (and elsewhere). Traffic rules should be UNIFORM and not vary from city-to-city.
HB2027 — golf carts must yield to right-hooking traffic.
Bill Status: moving fast, already passed 6-0 out of Trans committee 1/23… On Consent Calendar 2/10 (a Consent Calendar allows bills “to bypass Committee of the Whole and move unamended bills to Third Reading”); and Caucus Calendar 2/11/2014. On Senate Tran committee to be heard 2/25. [Final Status; passed unanimously in both houses. Signed by Gov Brewer 4/15/2014. Chapter 23]
There is some seriously weird stuff in here. Here is much more background. As introduced only would apply “IN AN AGE RESTRICTED COMMUNITY THAT IS LOCATED IN AN UNINCORPORATED AREA OF A COUNTY WITH A POPULATION OF MORE THAN THREE MILLION PERSONS… ” — i.e. population/county bit simply means Maricopa county only (really, why can’t the legislation just say that?), the next most populous county in Arizona is Pima with fewer than 1 million.
azbikelaw says: I think this is bad simply because the logic could spill-over/slippery-slope to bicyclists. This bill also is interesting in that it calls attention to the fact that it’s not clear in Arizona law if any “driver of a vehicle” (which includes both motorists and bicycle riders) is permitted to operate on the shoulder?? Most people assume that motorists may not, and that bicyclists should — but there’s no statute that says that. For more, see shoulder-use, and see important definitions here. In any event, note that this bill does not require an NEV/cart to use the shoulder, it only makes clear it is allowed. I also noticed that the phrase ” driving on shoulder;” was added to the statute title of 28-721 and just now realized that title changes do not show up as additions in bill markups (ie. not in all caps). hmm.
HB2165 — Increases state minimum for automobile liability
Status: Not assigned to any committee [Final status: never heard]
azbikelaw says: long overdue (see 42yearsistoolong.com ). Doesn’t really raise limits enough.
HB2622 — vulnerable users of public ways
Status: assigned to Judiciary but not on agenda. [Final status: Never heard]
azbikelaw says: I am not really a fan of the concept; I say toughen up penalties for anyone who hurts/kills anyone.
SB1147 — text messaging while driving; prohibition
Status: Assigned to Trans, PS (public safety) and GE (Gov’t and Environment) but not on agenda of any (The dreaded “triple assignment”! This is a recurring theme bill and has been introduced for many years in a row) [Final Status: Never heard]
HB2359 — teenage drivers; communication devices prohibited
Status: Passed Tran committee 6-0 2/20/2014 [Final status: passed House 41-17; Never heard in Senate]
Bans all electronic comm device use by novice drivers for 6 month. (Similar or identical to bill introduces last year by John McComish)
Other Bills of Some Interest: e.g. effecting Title 28
SB1201 — Autocycle (this is a “striker” bill; and later added definitions for a “Motorized Quadricycle) [Final status: VETOED]
Adds a definition of autocycle, effectively a three-wheeled enclosed motorcycle, and provides a class M driver license exemption for autocycle riders. Then in mid-March, in the house, an amendment was added to include new definition and regulations for a motorized quadricycle. A.k.a. party bikes.
The key people tend to be those involved with the respective transportation committee,
Senate Transportation Committee for 51R2 , Notably Sen. Steve Farley (D-Tucson) is now a member; Sen Farley has (repeatedly and unsuccessfully) tried to get various bans on cell phones while driving.
Also besides the legislators themselves, staff can be very helpful: Liisa Laikko, Transportation Committee Analyst (602)926-3171; there are a bunch of others including analyst interns, a Repub policy advisor, a Dem policy advisor, etc.
House Transportation Committee for 51R2. Can’t find out if they have a non-partisan analyst, as is done on the senate tran committee? The list two analysts: Republican Analyst: Justin Riches, and Democratic Analyst: Mark Bogart
Both houses of Arizona’s legislature is controlled, by a heavy margin and for a long time, by Republicans. Rep Ethan Orr (R-Tucson) has introduced several “bicycle” bills and they don’t go anywhere — this is likely to persist as he will be punished for his recalcitrance. Orr is not a “team player”…
azcentral.com: …Private-prison lobbyists succeeded in getting state lawmakers to include nearly $1 million in extra funding in the state budget even though the Arizona Department of Corrections says the money isn’t needed. The eleventh-hour funding was placed into the budget by House Appropriations Chairman John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, who said GEO Group Inc. lobbyists informed him the company wasn’t making enough money from the emergency beds it provides Arizona at prisons in Phoenix and Florence…. (Dem) Campbell said Kavanagh is responsible for pushing the proposal through the House with support from all but one Republican: Rep. Ethan Orr of Tucson.
[Update as of 2/23/2013, The McComish novice cell ban, SB1241, is moving forward. The Farley full text ban SB1218 is dead. See below ]
[Update as of 4/4/2013 McComish bill appears stalled, it is being prevented from coming to a vote in full senate. In other news, Farley tried again, via amendment, to get a texting ban; see notes below on SB2378]
It’s the start of a new legislative season in Arizona, the 51st Regular session, for those keeping track. (find other bills of interest with the legislation tag)
A cell phone ban has been introduced, SB1241. The same (or similar?) bill was introduced last year, bill-would-ban-cell-phone-use-by-teen-drivers-with-learners-permits. The bill applies only to “novice” drivers, that is those who are 16-18 years old, and the ban only lasts for 6 months. On the brighter side, it is a total ban, which I prefer to, say, a handsfree exception. For background, see NTSB has called for a total ban.
Arizona presently has no laws* restricting use of “electronic communication devices”, though there are some local bans, e.g. the City of Phoenix banned texting in 2007, and in 2012 the City of Tucson did something (i don’t have that handy; i’m thinking it was a handheld cell ban w/ handsfree loophole). Many other states have moved to try and limit cell use while driving; here is a good chart from ghsa.org. The main federal site is at distraction.gov.
* oops, that’s not exactly true; in Arizona, there’s a ban on all cell use by school bus drivers.
Here’s another bill sponsored by Steve Farley (D-Tucson) SB1268 class G licensees; communication devices. This bill seems nearly identical to SB1241(?); and as of 2/23 it is not assigned to any committee which I imagine means it is dead.
In any event, SB1241 is moving forward: it was heard and got a DO PASS by Public Safety on 2/13. It was then (supposed to be) heard by Transportation 2/19 (minutes not yet available.
Full Texting Ban Proposed
This year, being no different than other years, Sen Steve Farley (D-Tucson) has introduced a general purpose (not age-restricted) bill that would ban texting; SB1218. According to an azcentral.com news story, this is one of only five senate bills to be “triple assigned”; meaning it must pass through THREE committees, any one of which can kill it.
Moving on, a news story 2/23 Scrap heap of dead bills piling up at Arizona Legislature, specifically mentions SB1218 as being “dead”. “Dead” means leadership didn’t assign the bill to (any) committee — i.e. it didn’t really get triple-assigned. Dead is not absolute but generally, dead means dead.
Farley tries to slip in texting ban
Sen Steve Farley attempted to slip in a texting ban via a floor amendment to an (arguably) unrelated bill, HB2312; see Senate rejects texting-while-driving amendment 4/2/2013, here are some gems: “But (Farley’s) attempt to amend House Bill 2312 failed on a 16-12 party-line vote, with Republicans opposed and Democrats in support. Senate President Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, led the charge against Farley’s amendment. He said the books on state traffic laws are already thick with regulations that could enforce penalties against drivers whose on-road behavior is reckless”
Various legislators (Mr. Farley and Al Melvin come to mind) have in the past, repeatedly for several years running, introduced various more general restrictions on cell communications that never were enacted; stalling in various committees — see e.g. the 2010 go-round where a bill that year “sailed” through the Senate but stalled in the House.
handsfreeinfo.com/arizona-cell-phone-laws-legislation has a really good session-by-session history of Arizona cell legislation attempts which describes activity back as far as at least 2007.
Arizona Update — July 2013
News item about Farley’s ongoing multi-year efforts, Driver-texting ban still elusive in Arizona, begins “Almost every state has responded to rising smartphone use with a law banning drivers from texting, many in the past few years. Arizona is one of nine states that have yet to make that leap…”. Though I still haven’t seen compelling empirical data showing bans are having the desired effect. My list of studies is here. This begs the question; If cell phone use is so distracting (and it certainly is, there is mountain of off-road evidence that it impairs driving ability) what are the bans really doing? Are there unintended consequences?
[Update as of 2/23/2013, neither bill mentioned below has been assigned to any committee which I imagine means it is dead]
It’s the start of a new legislative season in Arizona, the 51st Regular session, for those keeping track. (find other bills of interest with the legislation tag)
There are two bills that would modify §28-735, Arizona’s 3-foot passing rule. The first is only a technical correction, however the second seeks to modify the onerous “section C”. By far the best and most simple correction would be to simply eliminate section C altogether. In any event, the present proposal seeks add specific reasons (excuses?) why a bicyclist might not be in an otherwise passable bike lane; e.g. preparing to turn, passing another cyclist…
Section C was added by Senator Bee as a “floor amendment” (ie. last minute) and is widely viewed as anti-cyclist. More background on the law here, called HB2625 from the year 2000. Although I don’t know of any time section C has ever actually kicked in; it has caused confusion causing some to either mendaciously or ignorantly claim that 3-foot passing minimum does not apply to overtaking bicyclists traveling in a bike lane (including more than one Flagstaff police officer).
Some background on 3-foot laws:
Deep background on AZ’s law: azbikelaw.org/articles/ThreeFoot.html
Compendium of US states with similar laws: azbikelaw.org/three-foot-passing-laws
about the “confusion” regarding applicability of AZ law to roads with bike lanes: azbikelaw.org/the-city-of-flagstaff-hates-bicyclists/
[Update as of 2/23/2013, HB2177 has not been assigned to any committee which I imagine means it is dead]
It’s the start of a new legislative season in Arizona, the 51st Regular session, for those keeping track. (find other bills of interest with the legislation tag) Continue reading Motorized Bicycle bill seeks to clarify engine power