Some new laws will go into effect or be in effect in 2020 in Arizona. One of the most notable of these is an increase in Arizona’s minimum wage.
Arizona Minimum Wage increased
Minimum wage workers in the state started seeing a pay increase from $11 per hour to $12 per hour starting on Jan. 1. This is a result of Prop 206, which was approved by Arizona voters in 2016. It called for gradual increases in the state’s minimum wage until 2020. After that, the minimum wage increases will be tied to the annual inflation rate.
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and industry organizations had sued to stop Prop 206, but the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of it.
Phoenix Business Journal reported that, even with the rising minimum wages, the economic and employment picture for Arizona looks strong going into 2020.
The minimum wage in Flagstaff will be going even higher, to $13 an hour. This is due to a city ordinance. That will increase to $15 an hour in 2021.
Schools must provide suicide prevention training
A state law that went into effect in late August 2019 but will really be felt this year is the Mitch Warnock Act, SB 1468, which requires teachers in Arizona’s schools have training in suicide prevention. It was named after a Corona Del Sol High School student who took his own life at age 18.
The training will be provided through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment Service (AHCCCS). The state is providing $20 million in grants for suicide prevention programs.
Parker Unified School District Superintendent Brad Sale spoke about the new law in August. He said it requires teachers in grades six through 12 will be required to undergo training to spot the warning signs that a student may be contemplating suicide, and what steps can be taken to prevent it.
Sale said young people all over have anxiety and depression. He said the schools need to be able to recognize their needs and respond.
Mandatory testing of marijuana dispensaries
Patients who use medical marijuana in the state will have an extra layer of protection when SB 1494 goes into effect Nov. 20. This new law requires mandatory third-party testing of marijuana dispensaries and their products for contaminants like heavy metals and pesticides. Dispensaries will be required to provide the results of these tests to patients and care-givers on request, and they will be required to post notices that patients and care-givers can ask for these results.
The Cannabis Industry Journal said on their website this is a vital protection for patients. Ryan Treacy, co-founder of the Arizona Cannabis Laboratory Association, said, “Now patients can make sure they are getting a safe and clean product and getting exactly what they paid for.”
Opioid prescriptions must be electronic, not written
Another matter on the medical front was HB 2075, which requires that all prescriptions for opioids be made electronically rather than on paper. This was an amendment to Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act of 2017. Published reports indicate this will help the state better track opioid use and potential abuse. These same reports say it will also prevent fraud, which is sometimes associated with paper prescriptions.
This law went into effect Jan. 1.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there have been 3,813 suspected opioid deaths in the state since 2016. There have also been 31,124 suspected opioid overdoses. In November 2019, there were 268,646 opioid prescriptions written in Arizona.
More reporting requirements for abortions
Still another health matter is SB 1394, which was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Doug Ducey in April 2018. It expands reporting requirements for abortions performed in the state. It went into effect Jan. 1.
The law requires doctors to ask women seeking abortions why they want to end their pregnancies. Their answers will be provided to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Patients may decline to answer, and their names are kept confidential.
In addition, the new law requires reports on the specialty of the physician involved and where the abortion was performed. The ADHS is now required to prepare an annual report on abortions in the state and including this information.
Minimum age for tobacco raised
Another new law is a Federal law, but it had its beginnings in Arizona. In October, Tucson passed an ordinance raising the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. Raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco became part of the $1.4 trillion spending package signed by President Donald Trump on Dec. 20.
Although no exact date has been set for when this will go into effect, some stores have already begun enforcing it.
Fees and other stuff
There are also some new fees that Arizonans will have to pay.
HB 2527 creates a $4 fee for drivers who receive traffic tickets. This money will be earmarked for the Arizona Department of Public Safety for training and a new advertising campaign to advise drivers on how to act during traffic stops.
In addition to that fee, HB 2313 requires a $9 fine or forfeiture that someone must pay for a criminal offense, traffic ticket or violation of state game and fish requirements. This money will go into the Arizona Victim Rights’ Fund.
Arizona drivers will be taking a hit from HB 2166, which adds $32 to every vehicle registration fee. That includes cars, trucks and every other kind of vehicle. The fee will go towards DPS operations. While the fee was originally estimated at $18, the Arizona Department of Transportation set it at $32.
Starting in 2020, Arizona has changed the date of its primary election to the first Tuesday in August. The 2020 primary election will be Aug. 4.