It's a holiday weekend so here's a nice list of happy news about some good bills that have passed the Arizona House of Representatives. Happy Presidents Day, Valentines Day, and Arizona Statehood Day!
Renters and Landlords -
I reach out to renters and landlords regularly to learn more about what is needed to make things work smoothly and be fair. When I heard stories that some landlords refused to give renters receipts when they paid the rent, I started looking for ways to fix that. There are many parts of law that still need changes to address this problem, but here's one success story!
HB2085 / SB1095 -If signed into law, Renters must get a receipt when they pay their rent in-person to a clerk in a real-estate office.
Last year, Rep. Toma sponsored this bill with the main goal to allow unlicensed staff in the office of a licensed real estate broker to accept and record rent payments from tenants. That's a good idea, and I asked him to amend it so that such staff should be required to give the renters a receipt. This year the bill included my request for renters' receipts. It passed both the House and the Senate.
Good for Business
HB2114 -An extra month to file tax forms! Corporate or exempt organizations that request an extension on filing their Arizona income tax forms will get an extra month! Often, corporations request an extension to file their tax forms in October rather than April. Because many corporations file their forms in many different states, they requested an extra month to file their Arizona forms. This extension applies to only the forms; the actual taxes are due in April, without extensions allowed.
Good for Workers
HB2142 - A new Apprentice Program for work in agriculture could be a life-changer for people looking for a new career or a first career. The average age of principal Arizona farm producers (the main farmer) is 61 years. The statistics and the stories show that there is great interest in learning about agriculture, but it is very difficult to get into it, unless you know a farmer who needs help. This program will bring together people who want to learn with ag producers.
Good for Consumers
HB2331 - In 2019, a veteran was forced out of his mobile home and it was sold at auction because he owed $236 in property taxes. To stop that kind of extreme injustice, this bill will require that a person must be a full year late on paying their taxes on a mobile home, and even then it could not be auctioned for 6 months after that.
HB2025 - In the year that they pay off their mortgage -- ending the loan -- it's not uncommon for folks to not notice that they need to pay their property tax bill themselves. Before the loan was paid off, the mortgage company had paid property taxes. If this bill is signed into law, there will not be interest or penalties on that one-time late property tax payment. The year you own your home fully without debt on it should be a time to cheer!
Criminal Justice Reform
With serious CJR, we can do all three: keep Arizonans safer, save taxpayers' dollars, and treat people more appropriately when they violate laws.
Arizona is ranked #4 for WORST incarceration rates in the US. With 585 per 100,000 people, we have far more than the US average of 419 per 100k population. (Click for info from The Sentencing Project.)
HB2673 - With wide bipartisan support, it allows judges to waive mandatory minimum sentences, in some situations.
The Republican Liberty Caucus tweeted, "This judicial safety valve will help reduce the amount of people imprisoned for victimless drug offenses. HB2673 will help prevent people from being wrongfully sentenced to excessive prison terms. It will improve the efficiency & effectiveness of our crim. justice system."
Molly M. Gill, VP of the FAMM Foundation tweeted, "Mandatory minimums are costly and often unjust. Glad to see #azleg House Criminal Justice Committee pass it with all yeses and one 'present.'"
HB2361 - The term, "Hannah Priors" refers to several crimes that are put together for a trial. They can be a big problem for people facing their first arrest. The series of small offenses cause an offender to be treated as a repetitive offender, with longer sentences. If it is signed into law, "people would only be sentenced as repetitive offenders if they had prior historical felony convictions – i.e., they are true repeat offenders." Click here to read the explanation from FAMM.
Resources for Vaccine info, Food Pantries, Help for Rent, Unemployment Insurance, Local School Districts and more:
I have been updating my list of COVID-19 Resources. Click here for the latest.
Thank you for all you are doing to stop or slow the spread of COVID-19. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance during these times.
If you have any concerns or questions please reply to this email to ask me. Or call my office. Rep. Jermaine and I share an assistant, Kathy, who is working from home and the office phones are forwarded to Kathy: 602-926-4870 .
Happy Presidents Day to you!
Legislative District 18 - Ahwatukee, Chandler, Mesa and Tempe
Office phone: 602-926-4870
Office email: [email protected]