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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : neighbors December 17, 2014


2/15/2014 6:00:00 AM
Fann bills would restrict fireworks, teen driver texting
Photos.com/illustrationOne of Arizona Rep. Karen Fannís bills would prohibit 16- to 17-year-old drivers with Class G licenses from texting or talking on phones while driving unless itís an emergency.
Photos.com/illustration
One of Arizona Rep. Karen Fannís bills would prohibit 16- to 17-year-old drivers with Class G licenses from texting or talking on phones while driving unless itís an emergency.
Photos.comA bill by Arizona Rep. Karen Fann would allow any county to ban the sale of fireworks when a federal or state agency implements first-stage fire restrictions.
Photos.com
A bill by Arizona Rep. Karen Fann would allow any county to ban the sale of fireworks when a federal or state agency implements first-stage fire restrictions.
Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier

Arizona Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, is sponsoring two dozen bills this year, ranging from legislation to limit the use of fireworks to a bill that would prevent some teens from using phones while driving.

She's hoping the third time will be a charm on the fireworks legislation, House Bill 2224. Similar bills failed the last two years because of lobbying by the fireworks industry, she said.

"I'm hoping with what happened in Yarnell, maybe we'll get a little more support," Fann said, referring to the deaths of 19 hotshots from Prescott in the Yarnell Hill wildfire June 30. Two of her other bills relate to that tragedy, too.

Fireworks were illegal in Arizona until 2010 when the Legislature and governor changed the law to allow certain kinds.

The law allows local governments to ban the use of fireworks because of wildfire danger, but does not allow them to ban their sales.

"That's like selling a pack of cigarettes to a 15-year-old and saying he can't smoke them," Fann previously remarked.

Her bill would allow any county to ban the sale of fireworks when a federal or state agency implements first-stage fire restrictions anywhere in the county.

Fireworks have started wildfires in the Prescott region, including two in 2011. In one case, an 11-year-old boy ignited a wildfire in Prescott Valley when he threw a spent sparkler in the grass in his yard.

House Bill 2359 would prohibit 16- to 17-year-old drivers with graduated driver licenses (Class G licenses) from texting or talking on phones while driving unless it's an emergency. It doesn't apply to young drivers with permits because adults have to be in vehicles with them, Fann said.

Police couldn't pull drivers over for violating the phone ban alone; they would need some other violation to do that. Fann said she doesn't want officers to be able to stop someone on a hunch that they are texting or phoning someone.

"I don't cotton to this 'guilty unless proven innocent' stuff," she explained.

Fann chairs the House Transportation Committee, so many of her bills pertain to transportation issues.

Fann helped provide the following descriptions for all her other bills that remain active. She already has withdrawn a few. Minor clean-up and reauthorization bills are not listed. Monday was the deadline for House members to file bills.

• HB2111 - Teen drivers with permits and commercial driver trainees currently need to be accompanied by licensed drivers; this bill allows the licensed drivers to hold out-of-state licenses.

• HB2112 - Makes it a criminal misdemeanor to submit false reports to the Department of Weights and Measures. Department officials tell Fann they are seeing an increasing number of false reports on everything from taxi driver insurance verification to gas pump usage.

"Obviously a slap on the hand and $100 fine is not deterring these people," she said.

• HB2113 - The Phoenix International Raceway Plate Act creates an Arizona Motorsports commemorative special license plate and fund.

The state has more than 60 types of license plates, and $17 of the $25 plate fee on special plates goes into donations for the respective groups. Money for this group would go to scholarships to motorsports events for terminally ill and special needs children.

• HB2114 - Provides more aid to people displaced by transportation projects, to conform to federal law.

• HB2115 (strike-everything amendment) - Includes severance pay as income when people are applying for unemployment benefits. Bill is in response to an appeals court ruling in Wynn v. Arizona Department of Economic Security that awarded unemployment to a man who received $75,000 (one year's salary) from his former employer. Bill also clarifies for businesses which workers are employees versus independent contractors.

• HB2116 (strike-everything amendment not yet online) - Changes Arizona law to conform to federal law by saying the state will stop charging diesel tax on railroad companies.

• HB2117 (strike-everything amendment not yet online) - Phases out the sale over 18 months of older-style water softeners that automatically use as much as 40 pounds of salt per month. They are causing salinity problems in the Phoenix area, Fann said.

• HB2118 (strike-everything amendment not yet online) - Requires companies to remove abandoned utility lines along public rights of way before construction occurs.

• HB2119 - Creates the Developmental Disabilities Awareness special license plate and fund, as well as the Equine Education Organization special plate and fund.

The state has more than 60 types of license plates and $17 of the $25 plate fee on special plates goes into donations for the respective groups. The developmental disabilities proceeds would go to unmet services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, such as dental work. The equine proceeds would go towards programs that publicize the importance of horses in Arizona.

• HB2120 - Makes it illegal to sell more than four vehicles per year without becoming a licensed dealer and paying sales tax to the state.

Fann said it's becoming increasingly popular for people to buy cars at valley auto auctions and immediately park and sell them. State officials estimate they are losing $48 million annually from this "curbstoning" or repeated unlicensed flipping of used cars for profit.

"It's getting to be big business," Fann said.

• HB2219 - Provides as much as $15 million annually for state research and development tax credits, versus the current amount of $5 million.

• HB2221 - Establishes doctor reporting requirements and preauthorization procedures for workers' compensation claims in which patients use opium-based narcotics.

Arizona has the sixth-highest mortality rates for people taking opium-based narcotic prescriptions, Fann said. And 15 percent of workers' comp patients who take opioids increase their doses by more than 400 percent in the first year, she added.

"The goal (of workers' comp) is to get employees well and back to work, and stringing them out on opioids for months and months is not the way," Fann said.

• HB2225 - As previously reported by The Daily Courier, this bill would require judicial review for media requests for photos, x-rays and video recordings of human remains from county coroners. The judge would weigh the public's right to know versus privacy concerns.

This bill stems from a media lawsuit over access to coroner records related to the death of Prescott's 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots last June 30.

The bill would keep the coroners out of the middle of these lawsuits, Fann said.

See previous Daily Courier stories for more details.

• HB2358 - Requires the Department of Revenue to use existing state law formulas to calculate the value of large solar energy sites. The department was using other methods, Fann said.

• HB2361 - Requires doctors to submit workers' compensation bills within two years.

• HB2430 - Allows trucks transporting coal ash in the northeast corner of the state to be longer and heavier than state law otherwise allows, when they are hauling into neighboring states that allow those longer lengths and higher weights.

• HB2624 - As previously reported in The Daily Courier, would create a state park where Prescott's 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots died on June 30 near Yarnell.





See previous Daily Courier story for more details. Follow Joanna Dodder on Twitter @joannadodder



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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Article comment by: Here's the coordination test

Beer between legs, smoke in left hand, text with right hand, steer with knees. Beautiful!

Posted: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

My kids could text without looking at the flip phone back in the day. I rarely do it only in emergencies like if I want someone to pick up a six pack before I get home.

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: Ex Patriot

I'll put my phone away when the police do the same.

Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: Watch her go.

It didn't pass two years in a row, let's try for three. Let's water it down to teen texting now, because that might pass, so legislators and their staffs can keep texting and talking in their cars. In the meantime, let's ignore the stuff that might garner bipartisan support. Our elected officials at all levels won't tackle anything of substance.

Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: NOW I Know

I thought it was lighting, but fire works started the Yarnell Fire.

Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: Granville Gran

If there has not been enough votes to pass a broader texting bill, work on getting the votes.

Why in the world write a bill that will address only a small portion of the drivers and address only part of the problem? Are not those who die in accidents due to adult texters important?

The logical path is to examine WHY those who voted against such a common sense bill would do such a stupid thing.

Voters are all for a sweeping bill on texting. Although texting and driving is done by people of all ages, it is usually the irresponsible who text and drive.

The rest of us will vote to stop them, and vote out anyone who votes against a bill that addresses this problem regardless of age.


Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: karen fann

In response to the texting comments: There have been some no-texting bills introduced over the past few years but none have garnered enough votes to pass. I am hoping the legislators will consider passing this scaled down version which will help our youngest drivers to concentrate on their driving and learn good driving habits.
Also a correction to the article, this applies to the permit drivers and the Class G (graduated drivers license) which is for the 6 months after their permit.


Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: karen fann

In response to the texting comments: There have been some no-texting bills introduced over the past few years but none have garnered enough votes to pass. I am hoping the legislators will consider passing this scaled down version which will help our youngest drivers to concentrate on their driving and learn good driving habits.
Also a correction to the article, this applies to the permit drivers and the Class G (graduated drivers license) which is for the 6 months after their permit.


Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: Kettle vs Pot

Know who, as a demographic, I see on cellphones while driving the most? The police. Seemingly every time I encounter an officer in traffic they have a phone to their ear. Teens far less so. So who's going to be charged with enforcement of this law again?

Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: Busy Bills...

Good grief. Can't they do the hard stuff?

Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: Ban all Texting while driving

Only Teens? That's like saying it's ok for everyone else to drive intoxicated except for teens. Texting and driving is the new DUI.

Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: scare tactics

Teens using their cell phones while driving? Is Fann so out of touch that she does not see adults practicing in this dangerous and needless behavior? Is she saying she SUPPORTS adults using cell phones while driving?? That's what she's telling anyone who's ever seen or been a victim of adults who drive and call/text.
This is the worst and most typical type of electioneering: create a boogie man focus for blame for an older, impressionable electorate that need reinforcement that someone else (in this case, teens) is to blame and, darn it, Fann is here to help.
She does know her voting demographic: A bunch of Grandpa Simpsons easily led. And she's serving up exactly what she wants them to remember her for.
Disgusting politicking.


Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: Greg G

I'm happy that we're tackling teen driver texting. It's very troubling to know that they're texting along with all the adults I see texting. So how will we limit this? Should we just put an age limit on driving while texting? 20 would be good. Then technically we could magically eliminate teen texting and only have adult texting. We'll all be safe then.
Really. Sorry for the sarcasm, but where do you think teens learn to not give a crap about those around them? Lose the blinders.


Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: Get It Right

Never should have allowed anyone to use their cell phones when driving right from the beginning. Biggest mistake, and now they want to ban them. Make up your mind. People will drive the way they want, no matter what, until there's an accident involved. We're an arrogant society today.

Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: legalize freedom

Nice to see one can buy and sell more rehab facilities than cars in Az . Way to go . How about regulating and licensing those and leave the people who alone who work to trade up their personal cars/ trucks and or restore others to flip on an already small scale ?

Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: russ willis

link to the text of the teen texting bill is here
http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/51leg/2r/bills/hb2359p.pdf
not a primary violation, that is, there must be some other reason for the stop. first two violations merely extend the glass G restrictions. third violation is a brief suspension.

what we need is a comprehensive ban on cellphone use, primary violation, lengthy suspension, and then some teeth in the suspension that actually prevents suspended drivers from driving, like ignition locks. operating a dangerous machine on public roads is a privilege, not a right. people who abuse the privilege should be denied the privilege. and not just kids.


Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: Just Wondering

And I thought Republicans wanted smaller government.

Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: Not a Fan

Four vehicles a year ? Say goodbye to the auto collector's and restorers , or mechanics , who buy ,sell , swap and barely break even on 6 to 8 vehicles a year after putting countless hours into what they love now are forced to buy a dealer license or be punished by the state . No love for the auto dealers who work on volume , probably support this as well . Its unfair taxation at its worst . Taxed when we purchase the vehicle , buy the parts , pay for extra labor , put the gas in , dispose of broken parts , fluids , then taxed again when the vehicle is sold , and all this before it is ever licensed , registered and insured ! Go away Fann .

Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: Granville Gran

OK. Is it just me? I see all kinds of drivers texting.

From teens all the way through to middle aged people.

What is wrong with Fann? Does she not have eyes?

Or is she in the business of discriminating based upon age?

If she truly wants to make a difference include ALL drivers in the bill.

Oops, that might affect Ms. Fann???


Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: C. Starnes

How about removing the fluoride from all of the municipal water supplies? How about putting a ban on geoengineering? Focus on the real serious issues, for once.

Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: Who was Ma Bell?

Fireworks Lobby?
Man, now that is my idea of a formable opponent.
But the used car thing, Tom S has got to be loving that one.
Ironically, you no longer need a manual device to send a text from your car, so I guess it's time to do something about it.


Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: David Nystrom, Dewey-Humboldt

Geez - sponsoring roughly two dozen bills just this year? Fann sure wants to regulate and control our lives! What we need is less regulation and more freedom, not more.

Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: O. delilah

The law will not "prevent" teens from using phones while they're driving. The law will PUNISH teens for using their phones while they're driving. Big, big difference.

Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014
Article comment by: Ma Bell

Why not just prohibit texting while driving for EVERYONE, not just teens? The problem of texting when driving is out of control. It is just as problematic and dangerous as drunk driving!



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