Journalists’ Roundtable: School safety, sports gambling, new bills
May 18, 2018
This week’s local journalists discuss school safety in the wake of another shooting, sports gambling becoming legal, the governor vetoing an increase in auto insurance and Horizon welcomes a new journalist to Arizona.
A mass shooting at a Texas high school ended up leaving 10 people dead and 10 others injured Friday. The tragedy has the topic of gun control back in the news and protesters back in the streets.
“Even if he [Governor Doug Ducey] picked up all the Democrats, the Republicans didn’t like the other half of the stops, the severe threat orders of protection,” Howie Fischer with Capitol Media Times says. “They said, ‘Wait a second. You’re going to set up a procedure for someone who has not yet done something on the suspicion they might where they can be held up to 72 hours for evaluation.’ It doesn’t matter if the Democrats got what they wanted, this bill is still going nowhere.”
Ducey had called a special session on gun control in the past, and the most recent event might help that actually happen. However, it is a campaign year which may disrupt things. As Fischer says, “Why would you call a special unless you had the votes?”
Sports gambling in Arizona?
The Supreme Court has recently said the federal government cannot tell the states what to do which resulted took out the law that made sports gambling illegal.
“The way the Supreme Court decision was written, Congress, if they decided, could just outright ban sports gambling, but I’m not sure what the temperature of that is,” Richard Ruelas with The Arizona Republic says. “Sports gambling and gaming seem to be fairly popular and the governor tweeted almost immediately that it was good news for Arizona.”
The reason Ducey believes this is good news is because it may become a potential revenue source for the state. The governor is currently renegotiating the gaming compacts with the tribes that expire in 2022. The numerous sports leagues will also benefit from this because it’s predicted that legal sports gambling using the best bitcoin online casinos will attract people back to the game.
Veto: Auto insurance liability increase
Ducey vetoed a bill that would nearly double the liability needed for increase which hasn’t been done since 1972. Arizona’s requirement is if a driver gets in an accident, they should be financially responsible for the damage they caused. There’s the 15-30-10 coverage which is $15,000 for injury to any one person, $30,000 for injuries to all persons in the accident and $10,000 property damage.
“The bill got out of the House and out of the Senate. The insurance industry sort of stood aside,” Fischer says. “Doug Ducey said, ‘What about the people at the bottom who purchase that minimum? Will they still keep purchasing it?’ If you can’t cover the injuries you caused, then the rest of us have to buy what they call uninsured motorist coverage.”
Carmen Foreman with the Arizona Capitol Times explains that Ducey is concerned that once insurance premiums are raised, poor folks won’t be able to afford it and will become uninsured which would create more damages.
Bills signed into law
As of August 3, 200-pound delivery robots will be legal in Arizona. The robots are about two or three feet tall, and they can reach a speed no greater than 7 mph.
“How dangerous are these?” Fischer says. “They will be on the sidewalk sharing the sidewalk with pedestrians.”
A couple more new laws include notifying parents if their child has been threatened at school. Also, food stamp recipients in the state will receive a bonus if they buy food from Arizona.
McSally changes stance on immigration
Rep. Martha McSally is running against other Republican candidates Joe Arpaio and Kelli Ward for the U.S. Senate. Foreman says her action may have supplied her opponents with more firepower.
“McSally asked for unanimous consent to take her name off a bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients,” Foreman says. “The move just screams that it’s election season.”
Ruelas says McSally is concerned that if she agrees to keep her name on the bill, she risks being known for that one decision. Following the removal from that bill, McSally endorsed another that includes contingent status for DACA recipients, fully funding the border wall and penalizing sanctuary cities.
Sinema changes stance on Iran Deal
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema was only one of 25 Democrats who did not go with the Iran Deal presented by former President Barack Obama. However, now she has publicly voiced that she is against President Donald Trump backing out on the deal.
“Now she’s trying to get elected statewide, and I think she’s decided that if she’s going to get her own party’s backing then she needs to say that Trump was wrong,” Fisher says. “She’s doing the same thing. She’s putting her finger in the air and asking what is the feeling of folks in Arizona. Whoever’s elected on the other side is going to back Trump so she needs to differentiate herself.”
Welcome to Arizona, Carmen Foreman!
Foreman moved to Arizona from Virginia a couple months ago. She covered state politics for the Roanoke Times for about four years.
“Things there were a little more progressive,” Foreman says. “Immigration wasn’t as much of an issue. When I started here, it was a few days after that unfortunate Uber death and only a few days before Red for Ed started making noise. I’ve been running ever since I got here.”
For more information on Foreman, follow her on Twitter at @CarmenMForeman.