What do a rock ‘n’ roll theme park, roadside puppy sales and graffiti taggers’ parents have in common? They all come under new state laws that take effect Friday.
Eloy gets to form a special district to issue $750 million in tax-exempt bonds for the proposed Decades rocker theme park.
Pet sales in parks and on roadsides in urban counties are banned in an effort to combat puppy mills.
And parents of any kid nabbed twice for tagging can be ordered to perform community service with their child if they knew about the crime.
Plenty of more-important changes also are among the 316 new laws about to kick in.
Among our favorites is a mandatory 30-day jail term – no suspensions allowed – for any driver with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 to 0.20.
Also, excellent reforms to safeguard children were crafted in a bundle of bills by Republican state Reps. Jonathan Paton of Tucson and Kirk Adams of Mesa.
The laws pry open some Child Protective Services records, particularly after a child’s death or severe injury, and opens some custody court hearings, too.
CPS or police will be able to take custody of a child who is reported missing and at risk of harm.
Law enforcement and CPS will have to work closely together to protect children. And state employee disciplinary records will be open for inspection.
Also Friday, Arizona joins about a dozen other states in refusing to implement “Real ID” security standards for driver’s licenses, as mandated by the federal government.
Gov. Janet Napolitano called it “just another unfunded federal mandate.”
On the education front, a new law allows the state to take over a school district that has underperforming and failing schools.
We’re not enthusiastic about this law. Such districts need immediate reforms, intervention and support to help the schools – and thus the students – quickly.
Takeover by the state bureaucracy would be mind-numbingly slow, by comparison. And help for kids in bad schools should not be delayed.
One of the timeliest and most- important new laws, alas, won’t kick in until January 2010.
Created in response to Arizona’s own mortgage crisis, this law requires people who originate mortgage loans to obtain state licenses and to come under regulation by the state Department of Financial Institutions.
Now there’s a thought.
Here’s hoping some of these new statutes will result in better protection of at-risk children, less driving while drunk, reduced graffiti and puppy mills and – of course – a wildly successful rockin’ theme park for the little burg of Eloy.