Tag Archives: bill

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Senate rejects texting while driving ban

The Arizona Senate has rejected an effort to create a statewide ban on texting while driving by amending an existing House bill.

Democratic Rep. Steve Farley of Tucson said deaths and injuries caused by drivers who were distracted by texting make a compelling argument for the ban. He gave several examples of horrific accidents cause by distracted drivers.

Senate President Andy Biggs argued against the amendment. The Republican said state law already makes reckless driving illegal and a texting ban isn’t required.

The amendment failed on a 16-12 party-line vote Tuesday with two Senators absent.

The underlying bill received initial Senate approval on a voice-vote. It bans marketers from sending unsolicited text messages.

Text-message driving bans have repeatedly failed in the Legislature in recent years.

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Does your teen Drive While InTEXTicated?

A new Arizona bill could ban Valley teens from using their cell phones while driving, or more cleverly put, “driving while inTEXTicated.” Eighty two percent of teens ages 16 and 17 own a cell phone, while 52% of them admit to using their cell phone while driving and 34% say that they have texted while driving. Supporters of this bill say that legally banning new drivers from using their cell phone while driving will protect our Valley teens and teach them a valuable life lesson: concentrate on driving. Three major concerns are addressed by the bill as it aims to protect our teens and keep our roads safer:

1. Teen are the least experienced drivers and do not need any distractions behind the wheel.

There is a reason that Arizona law has created a regulatory process for drivers to earn their licenses- it creates an opportunity and a controlled environment for new drivers to gain experience and learn the rules of the road. The famous Spiderman movie quote, “With great power comes great responsibility,” is completely applicable in this situation. Teenagers are just learning the rules of the road and the power that their vehicle and freedom possess, yet they must be responsible with that power and all that it entails. In order to truly learn safe driving skills, a teen must be fully aware of what is around them and not distracted by their cell phones. For example, a safe driving distance is at least 500 feet, or three car lengths, between you and the car in front of you, yet an inexperienced driver has not quite figured out the visual measurement or how to quickly gauge that distance; one glance at their phone can turn that “safe” zone into a dangerous accident. On average, the minimal amount of time a driver takes away from the road while texting and driving is 5 seconds… if you are driving at 55 MPH, this is equivalent to driving the length of a football field. A lot can happen in that five seconds, which is why it is imperative for new drivers to fully focus on driving and the other vehicles on the road.

2.     Teens are the most tech savvy generation and use their phones more than any other age group.

Teens text, email, use apps, take pictures, make calls, tweet and post to Facebook all from their phones- their tiny device holds their entire social world in the palm of their hands. If a teen is texting while driving, they are 23 times more likely to be in an accident, if they are dialing their phone they are 2.8 times more at risk for an accident, talking or listening on their phones while driving puts teens 1.3 times more at risk for an accident and even if they are only reaching for their device, they are 1.4 times more likely to be in a car accident.

3.     Teens are less likely to think about the long-term consequences of a car accident.

Teenagers have a tendency to think that they are invincible; therefore they are less likely to think about the serious consequences of being involved in a car accident, or even worse, if they are the cause of a serious car accident and hurt someone else. This “superhuman” mentality is why it is important that teens are constantly reminded, educated and made aware of the consequences of using their phone while driving- which is the main goal of this bill. Laws are based on the simple ideology of mental conditioning and behavioral change- simply put, laws are linked to the famous psychology experiment, Pavlov’s dog.

If we implement laws that remind our drivers not to use their phones while driving, they will be conditioned to not “drive while inTEXTicated” throughout their lives, ultimately making our roads safer.

Those against the bill say that the bill is placing too many restrictions on drivers and unnecessarily punishing teens, yet the goal of bringing claims against drivers that break the rules of the roads is to make our roads safer for everyone. The bill puts an extra burden on the least experienced drivers and holds them accountable for their actions and the possible harm that they put all drivers in when they use their phones behind the wheel.  The young drivers that the bill targets are the most tech savvy, they are the least likely to think long term consequences of dividing their attention, and they are the drivers that need the most concentration on the roadway obstacles, therefore this bill would greatly protect the public while adding little inconvenience to the general population.

Currently, the use of cell phones is banned only in certain cities in Arizona and in the case of an accident cell phone usage must be proved as the cause of the wreck in order to hold the motorist responsible for the accident. If the bill passes, the fact that the youth was on the cell phone while driving would be an argument for the youth’s liability of the wreck.  The records of the cell phone should be available during any claim process.

To read the bill in its entirety, visit http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/50leg/2r/bills/sb1056s.pdf.

 

Tommy Richardson is an attorney with Friedl Richardson Trial Lawyers, a Phoenix-based personal injury law firm founded in 1997 with a mission to make the community safer by helping people injured due to other’s breaking the rules.

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Ariz. House approves unemployment changes

The Arizona House of Representatives has approved a bill that shifts to workers the burden of proving they’re eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

Republican state Rep. Warren Petersen of Gilbert argued his bill prevents people from collecting benefits when they’re not eligible while employers fight their claims. Democrats argued it puts federal funding of the state’s program in jeopardy.

The bill requires workers to present documents showing they’re eligible when filing for unemployment insurance benefits.

Democratic state Rep. Debbie McCune Davis of Phoenix says most employment lawyers tell clients not to put anything in writing when letting workers go. That means workers can’t prove they deserve benefits without a long wait.

The bill also lets employers simply say a worker voluntarily resigned or quit.

It now goes to the Senate.

Arizona SciTech Festival - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Arizona House panel OKs high-tech tax credits

An Arizona House committee has given initial approval to a bill that sets up a tax credit for insurance companies who invest in a new high-tech fund overseen by the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The bill sponsored by Republican House Speaker Andy Tobin gives insurers a credit against premium taxes they would owe of up to $10 million in the budget year beginning July 1 and $20 million in the next two years.

Tobin says the credit will prompt investment in biotechnology, semiconductors, electronics or other high-tech businesses.

It is one of two tax credit bills he is pushing that expand or create new tax credits. Tobin contends they will spur economic growth.

The bill passed the Commerce Committee Wednesday on a 7-2 vote with two Republicans opposing Tobin’s bill.

save on summer utility bill

How To Save On Your Summer Utility Bill

When Darcy Small’s 4-year-old twin daughters go off to college, they’ll have a stash of cash that came directly from savings on their family’s annual utility bill. The Small family moved from Oregon to Arizona a year ago and went from not using an air conditioner to having a summer utility bill that topped out at $600 a month. Small learned of SRP’s Time-of-Day Price Plans and out of necessity signed up for SRP EZ-3™.

“We were probably just like typical customers, running our air conditioner all day to keep it comfortable,” Small explained. “We then got an insert in our SRP bill about price plans, and our perception was, ‘I don’t want to be hot for three hours during the day.’ But then we gave it a try for one month, and we were sold.”

With high summer temperatures approaching, SRP is once again offering customers a guaranteed way to save money. The two Time-of-Day plans are designed to accommodate a variety of lifestyles and are popular with customers who can be flexible with energy usage. The more flexibility customers have, the more they can save.

“It’s actually quite easy once you figure out exactly how to do it,” Small added. “During the hotter months, our thermostat is set at 72 degrees during the day, which is most comfortable for us. At 1:30 p.m., the thermostat is set to go down to 62 degrees, and then at 3 p.m., it turns off. From 3 to 6 p.m., the air conditioner doesn’t run. So by 6 p.m., it’s usually 79 degrees, which is starting to get a bit warm, but then it kicks back down to 72 degrees.”

SRP Time-of-Day plans offer lower prices during off-peak hours to encourage customers to use less energy during on-peak hours, when the cost to produce electricity is highest. From now through Oct. 31, 2012, residential customers who switch to either EZ-3 or SRP Time-of-Use™ are guaranteed to save by shifting energy usage to the lower-priced off-peak hours.

If a customer’s first three bills exceed what would have been paid on the residential Basic Price Plan, the customer can call SRP within 30 days of the third utility bill to be credited the difference and returned to the Basic plan at no charge. To learn more, go to savewithsrp.com/prices or call (602) 236-8888.

SRP also offers a Time-of-Use Plan for Business customers. For more information, call the Business Contact Center at (602) 236-9632 or log on to savewithsrpbiz.com/prices.

“It’s the easiest money you will ever save,” Small boasted. “Give it a try for one month, and I can almost guarantee you won’t go back to the regular plan. The extra money goes straight into our children’s college accounts … that’s about $500 every year. So over 18 years, it’s a pretty decent college fund.”

For more information on how to save on your utility bill, visit SRP’s website at srpnet.com.