Every year, hundreds of new bills are passed from the State Legislatures to the Governors. If the governor doesn’t veto these bills, they are enacted into law. In Arizona, all new laws are reviewed by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. This League acts as an essential link between the incorporated cities and towns in Arizona. Each newly enacted law is reviewed by the League and the potential impact that the law may have on the cities and residents. Every year, the laws that are reviewed and identified as potentially impactful to local governments and businesses are compiled into an annual publication, and 2021 was no different.
In 2021 Arizona State Legislature had its first regular session in the State Capitol of Phoenix from January 11th to June 30th. During this time, hundreds of bills were proposed, and many of them were passed into laws.
Rather than having to sort through pages of legislation to figure out what’s new in your state, we’ve broken down six new Arizona laws from the 2021 report that could affect you.
- Cracking Down on Texting and Driving
- Business Owners and COVID Liability
- Recreational Drugs
- Gym Memberships
- Minimum Wage
- Sports Betting
1. Cracking Down on Texting and Driving
This bill established a statewide law that strictly prohibits the use of a mobile wireless device while operating a vehicle. Your first offense may only earn you a $75 ticket, but the punishment becomes more severe after that; a second offense could result in up to $250 in fines.
What’s more, if the offense leads to injury or death of another individual, you could be facing a suspended license, misdemeanor charges (which could leave you facing up to 6-month jail time), and fines up to $2500.
2. Business Owners and COVID Liability
If you live in Arizona and run a nonprofit or a business, this new law protects you from just about any lawsuit from someone wanting to blame you for their contraction of COVID 19. However, this new law surrounding the liability of COVID contraction and spread raises the burden of proof for anyone claiming against an entity like a business.
Through this law, clear and convincing evidence that intentional misconduct or gross negligence took place is necessary to prove that an entity is at fault for the individual’s contraction of the virus. This burden of proof can be challenging to meet, making it much harder for businesses to be held liable.
3. Recreational Drugs
While marijuana is still illegal federally, Arizona has become the 13th state to legalize marijuana recreationally. Proposition 207, also known as the Smart and Safe Arizona Act, has legalized the sale, possession, and consumption of marijuana by any and all individuals aged 21 and up.
This new law and the expected growth in marijuana sales are expected to gross a whopping $300 million in annual tax revenue to go towards community colleges, public safety and health programs, and roads and highways. This law and the addition to the state budget are sure to affect the residents of Arizona.
4. Gym Memberships
If you joined a health club or gym this year to hold up your New Year’s resolution or get in shape and now want to cancel your membership but feel trapped by the contract, you’re not alone. Many Arizona residents say they feel stuck in health club memberships that they can’t cancel.
This new law has created statewide standards for health club memberships that regulate the wording of the contracts that health clubs often include to make it difficult to get out of the contract. This means gyms can no longer make it difficult or near impossible to cancel a membership with them, and you can keep going to the gym without having to worry about being stuck in the health club membership contract.
5. Minimum Wage
You may know this, but the minimum wage in Arizona was voted to raise by 15 cents an hour, bringing the statewide hourly minimum wage to $12.15. However, if your Arizona business has an annual revenue of under 500,000, it’s not subject to minimum wage laws.
This means that the more prominent businesses statewide have increased wages for their employees. Even if you are a smaller business owner who isn’t subject to the change, the surge in the income of the other Arizona residents will likely make its way to you.
6. Sports Betting
Professional Sports Teams for the State and Tribal Casinos will be awarded licenses that allow them to run betting kiosks on site. So rather than heading over to Nevada and Las Vegas to place those bets, people can stay at home and do the same thing.
This law, which goes into effect at the start of this year’s NFL season, is expected to bring in over 30 million dollars each year in state revenue. This influx of cash into Arizona’s economy means that if you are a business owner in Arizona, this law could affect you.
With laws constantly changing, it may be challenging to keep up with. You may find yourself in violation of a law you weren’t aware of. Even if you didn’t know a law existed, you are responsible if you break it. Unfortunately, you can be arrested, charged, and even potentially convicted of any crime you commit, regardless of if you were aware that you were breaking the law.
Jeff GOULD Law focuses on your legal needs throughout the state of Arizona and provides representation to those seeking experienced, honest, and aggressive legal assistance.
If you or someone you know is in need of legal assistance, contact Jeff GOULD Law, the Attorney In YOUR Corner, for help.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog/site is NOT, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. It is for general informational use only. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Further, this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.