The start of the New Year also marks the start of a new legislative session in Arizona, as in many states around the country. The First Regular Session of Arizona’s 53rd Legislature opened on Monday, January 9th. So far, 1,144 bills, memorials, and resolutions have been introduced. Here’s an early look at some of the bills we’ve been working on.

Criminal Justice Reform

We are part of two bipartisan coalitions working on reforming our criminal justice system. One coalition is focusing this session on reducing recidivism, and has introduced a number of bills to accomplish this goal. For example, HB 2290 would allow people with criminal convictions, who under current law may be barred from receiving an occupational license necessary for employment, to receive an occupational license on a provisional basis, which will give them more opportunity to work. SB 1069 would allow people with low-level, non-violent felony convictions to expunge these convictions from their record. These bills will make it easier for people with criminal records to obtain meaningful employment, and therefore, make them less likely to reoffend. The other coalition is focused on reforming Arizona’s civil asset forfeiture laws. This coalition’s bill, HB 2477, will require increased reporting from law enforcement, raise the burden of proof required for forfeitures, and eliminate attorney fee provisions of the current law that prevent people from challenging forfeitures.

Immigrants’ Rights

So far this session we’ve been actively fighting bills—both new and old—that threaten the rights of immigrants. SB 1279, for example, would require immigrants convicted of crimes to serve longer prison sentences than citizens, and would make immigrants ineligible for parole, probation, or any type of early release. This bill has been introduced three years in a row, and this year we defeated it again. SB 1021 and HB 2086 would prevent the City of Phoenix from issuing a municipal identification card that would be available to immigrants. Finally, HB 2121 would place new requirements on local law enforcement agencies, including requiring compliance with immigration detainers (also called “ICE holds”), which the ACLU believes are unconstitutional violations of the Fourth Amendment.

Free Speech

Legislators have also introduced a number of bills threatening free speech rights. SB 1051 would criminalize homelessness by threatening criminal sanctions against people who solicit money near stoplights. SB 1422, the subject of much national attention, would chill the rights of speech and assembly by expanding the definition of “riot” and making it a racketeering crime. Finally, HB 2404 limits political speech by making it more difficult for Arizonans to collect signatures to place an initiative on the ballot.

Bill

Description

Sponsor

Immigrants' Rights

SB 1021

Restricts cities' ability to issue an identification card

 

  Sen. Kavanagh (LD-23)

SB 1279

Requires undocumented immigrants convicted of a crime to serve their full sentence, which is not required of citizens, and prohibits immigrants’ participation in alternatives to incarceration

 

  Sen. Smith (LD-11)

HB 2086

Prevents cities from issuing an identification card

 

  Rep. Lawrence (LD-23)

HB 2121

Requires local law enforcement to engage in additional immigration enforcement

 

  Rep. Thorpe (LD-6)

Reproductive Rights

SB 1367

Creates new regulations and requirements for when a fetus or embryo is “born alive,” removing discretion from doctors

 

Sen. Smith (LD-11)

Privacy and Technology

SB 1162

Requires continuous monitoring of all electronic activity of registered sex offenders

 

Sen. Borrelli (LD-5)

SB 1342

Defines warrant requirements for the use of Stingray cellphone tracking devices

 

Sen. Worsley (LD-25)

Disability Rights

SB 1198

Makes it more difficult to file an Arizona Disability Act claim against a business of public accommodation

 

Sen. Kavanagh (LD-23)

HB2 504

Makes it more difficult to file an Arizona Disability Act claim against a business of public accommodation

 

Rep. Syms (LD-28)

Criminal Justice

SB 1067

Reduces the number of people sent back to prison on technical violations

 

Sen. Burges (LD-22)

SB 1069

Allows a person to remove low-level felonies from their record

 

Sen. Burges (LD-22)

SB 1071

Allows a person with a criminal record to receive an occupational license on a provisional basis

 

Sen. Burges (LD-22)

SB 1157

Simplifies the process for competency hearings in limited jurisdiction courts

 

Sen. Borrelli (LD-5)

SB 1158

Gives judges discretion to mitigate fines and fees

 

Sen. Borrelli (LD-5)

SB 1160

Allows judges to place restrictions on drivers’ licenses instead of suspending them outright

 

Sen. Borrelli (LD-5)

SB 1163

Allows courts to determine if a defendant presents too great a risk to public safety to be released on bail

 

Sen. Borrelli (LD-5)

SB 1171

Reduces the percentage of a felony sentence that must be served

 

Sen. Allen (LD-6)

SB 1187

Increases penalties for crimes committed due to the victim’s political beliefs

 

Sen. Kavanagh (LD-23)

HB 2290

Allows a person with a criminal record to receive an occupational license on a provisional basis

 

Rep. Rivero (LD-21)

Free Speech

SB 1051

Further criminalizes panhandling

 

Sen. Kavanagh (LD-23)

SB 1142

Expands the definition of "riot" and makes it a racketeering crime

 

Sen. Borrelli (LD-5)

HB 2120

Restricts colleges and universities from teaching on social justice

 

Rep. Thorpe (LD-6)

HB 2404

Makes it more difficult for citizens to gather signatures for ballot initiatives

 

Rep. Leach (LD-11)

LGBTQ Rights

SB 1199

Makes it more difficult for a person to legally change their name

 

Sen. Kavanagh (LD-23)

HB 2294

Excludes gender confirmation surgery from AHCCCS coverage

 

Rep. Kern (LD-21)

 

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