Arizona Guardian reporter Dennis Welch discusses new state laws that took effect September 30, 2009.
Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. A motion was filed in a longstanding legal battle other Arizona's educational programs for English language learners. Tim Hogan, attorney for the plantiffs, was expected to file a motion to expand the case from ELL students in the Nogales school district to include English learners statewide. Instead, he filed a motion asking the Federal District Court for a hearing to decide in the state is violating the federal equal opportunities act. We'll have much more on the motion when we talk with Tim Hogan Monday on "Horizon." Today is the effective date for bills passed and signed by the governor during the last regular session of the legislature. Here to tell us what the new laws are in effect is Dennis Welch of the "The Arizona Guardian." Thanks for joining us. The big one is not so much what is in effect, but what got blocked by the courts. The abortion law here, talk to us.
Dennis Welch: Yeah the first one, that was one of the bigger laws passed this year, was a law looking to curtail or make it harder for women to get an abortion. But yesterday it was struck down in court. What they did leave in was a waiting period but it was somewhat truncated. Originally they wanted a 24-hour waiting period in which you had to consult with a doctor in person. That was struck down. They said no, we'll keep the 24-hour waiting period but you can do it on the phone and doesn't have to be a doctor affiliated with the operation. You can talk with them. Other parts that were struck out that happened to in there was a provision that would have made it legal for only doctors to perform these types of procedures. Right now, currently nurse practitioners are the ones who perform the bulk of the operations like that.
Ted Simons: Any idea that pharmacist could refuse to prescribe emergency contraception, that is on hold as well.
Dennis Welch: That has been on hold as well. It's all on hold for right now. It could come back but as of right now, they could revisit the issue.
Ted Simons: Let's talk gun law laws. If you have a concealed weapons permit you can go where booze is served, correct?
Dennis Welch: You can as long as it's allowed by the restaurant. Now, there's 5300 establishments statewide that this would effect. Now, they have the option of going to the state and getting one of those placards they can put on their premises saying we don't allow guns on the premises.
Ted Simons: So weapons sign has to be there?
Dennis Welch: Yes.
Ted Simons: Ok. Also the idea of guns allowed in parking lots and garages in the firearms are left in the vehicles. That's effective?
Dennis Welch: That's effective and that was an interesting one because there was a lot of -- there were fights about that down at the legislature. Some people, businesses didn't like it, because of maybe disgruntled employees showing up with the firearms and whatnot. There was an argument about people saying this may make bars more of a target by thieves who might want to break into the cars at bars and steal the guns. The law of averages is tough. You have about138,000 concealed weapons permits in a state of five or six million so you're going to be lucky to find one of those guns.
Ted Simons: And a couple more laws. To make this more difficult to sue emergency room doctors. And you have to show clear and convincing evidence as opposed to preponderance of the evidence and also the idea that public schools can't discriminate against religious views.
Dennis Welch: It has to do with the thing that they can't be marked down if they express a religious opinion -- they still have to be able to explain that, even though they may not believe it because of their religious views.
Ted Simons: In other words, it's -- you can't specifically ban something if it's an opinion kind of assignment, and you do have to do the assignment anyway.
Dennis Welch: You do, you just can't say this theory is -- goes against my belief systems so I'm not going to do that.
Ted Simons: Religion also involved in terms of attire, some sort of jewelry or T-shirts now allowed on campus.
Dennis Welch: You can't ban certain types of jewelry and slogans on T-shirts unless you do a general ban on all jewelry and slogans on T-shirts.
Ted Simons: And unlicensed pets, spayed and neutered at an owner's expense? That is a done deal.
Dennis Welch: It's a done deal. A lot of dog owners, if your dog gets out and they find them and take them to the pound and he's not licensed, he's going to get spade or neutered and you're going to get the bill.
Ted Simons: So FIDO and Fluffy better watch themselves.
Dennis Welch: Yeah.
Ted Simons: Is there anything that didn't get passed or got lost during the craziness of the end of the session that looks like it could get spotlights next session?
Dennis Welch: There's more things out there, such as you could be back with more abortion-type bills next year. The problem is this session was the budget dominated everything. It's probably going to dominate a lot of other things but what made it particularly bad this session, was the senate's moratorium on hearing bills. That's going to be revisited and they're going to hear more bills earlier in the session and that shouldn't -- that should allow for more types of legislation to move through.
Ted Simons: And more horse trading that gets things through the pipe as well.
Dennis Welch: Definitely.
Ted Simons: Dennis, thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.