Resign to run

Gov. Jan Brewer signed legislation Tuesday to ease the path of elected officials who want to seek another office.

A 1980 voter-approved measure prohibits anyone serving in elective office from running for another post before the last year of his or her term. At least part of the idea was precluding those officials from spending their time campaigning rather than doing their job.

But Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said the law is full of loopholes.

The most obvious is that someone can form an "exploratory committee'' at any time saying, in essence, that they are weighing whether to run for another office. That act allows someone to gather nominating signatures and even solicit campaign donations for the future office.

What's obvious, Kavanagh said, is that the person clearly is in running but just cannot make the formal declaration without running afoul of the law and being ejected from his or her current post. This new law, which takes effect later this year, permits that formal announcement without that risk.

Veto stamped on fireworks legislation

Calling it a matter of public safety, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed legislation Tuesday which would have eased the penalty for those who use fireworks when and where they have been banned.

Arizona legalized things like sparklers and smoke devices in 2010.

Lawmakers did agree to permit cities to ban their use, though not their sale. Counties cannot restrict the use of these items except during periods of declared high fire danger.

Current law makes violations a misdemeanor, with a possible 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. This legislation would have eliminated any possibility of incarceration, with a $300 maximum fine.

"This bill's language does not take into account different regional circumstances and local safety and fire concerns regarding the use of fireworks,'' Brewer wrote in her veto message. "The risk and danger from fires started by fireworks are much greater in Arizona's rural areas.''

Arizona has never allowed firecrackers or any device that shoots into the air.

No certification created for music therapists

A bid by music therapists to get some state recognition was quashed Tuesday by Gov. Jan Brewer.

The legislation sponsored by Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, would have the state certify individuals who had certain training and experience.

Barbara Else, a Tucson music therapist, said some hospitals and facilities require such certification before they allow an individual to practice there. Without that certification, she said, some patients cannot get access to the specialized care music therapists can provide.

Brewer said, though, that the legislation appears to be a one-way street: The health department would be required to issue a state certification to those who qualify but would have no authority to revoke that certification or impose penalties on those who act outside the scope of their practice.

"Further, there is no background check requirement despite the fact that music therapists often work with vulnerable children and adults,'' the governor wrote.

Else said she had hoped to meet with Brewer's staff prior to Tuesday's action. She said the veto means the therapists need to regroup to try again next year.

Brewer signature creates tougher metal theft law

A new law signed Tuesday by the governor is aimed at stemming the outbreak of the theft of metals.

Existing law already makes it a crime to steal items. And there are requirements for scrap metal dealers to keep certain records.

This new law expands that to also make it illegal to have possession of items knowing or having reason to know that the items were stolen. It also criminalizes purchasing metal of another knowing it was stolen.

The legislation comes as the price of copper in particular has risen, leading to thieves removing wiring and pipes from homes, businesses and even electrical transformers.

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