Arizonans who take their cars out of state for some period of time won't have to fear losing their insurance coverage.
Exercising her last veto of the session, Gov. Jan Brewer rejected a measure sought by the industry to allow it to cancel a policy for “any motor vehicle principally garaged outside the state.” The governor said the legislation could remove “important consumer protections” for Arizona policyholders.
The governor did sign legislation removing a requirement that students seeking scholarships to attend private or parochial schools first have attended a public school.
Those scholarships are funded by dollar-for-dollar state income tax credits to donors, essentially making money given to the program a reduction in state revenues. Prior law has required students to switch from public schools.
But the new exemption from prior public school attendance that Brewer approved applies only to those who qualify under a section of the law aimed at students with certain disabilities or those in foster care.
Brewer's move Monday finishes everything that was sent to her before lawmakers wrapped up this year's legislative session last month. It brings her veto tally this year to 25 — one short of last year.
But the governor, in signing 280 measures this year, did use her constitutional power of “line-item veto” to excise spending provisions from three of them. That does not count toward her veto total.
Last year Brewer inked her approval to 256 new laws. There were no line-item vetoes in 2013.
Arizona has one of the strictest laws in the nation against insurers cancelling policies or refusing to renew them. Rep. David Livingston, R-Peoria, said that even extends to situations where people move out of state but hang on to their Arizona policies. He said these motorists should be forced to buy new coverage in their new home state and live with the laws there.
But Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix, said the industry-crafted legislation was broader than that.
“There are no timeframes and there are no definitions in the law,” she said during the vote on the measure.
“There are people who take short-term job assignments outside the boundaries of this state, particularly in hard economic times,” McCune Davis said. She also said that students often take a family-owned car off to college.
“It gives a whole lot of power to insurance companies to decide not to provide coverage to a vehicle, which puts the consumer in the position of having to buy separate coverage for those vehicles, even though they may be owned by someone who is an Arizona resident,” she said.
Brewer, in her veto message, disagreed, citing that same lack of definitions — a lack the governor said gives insurers the unilateral power to decide if a vehicle is “principally garaged outside of Arizona.”
“Furthermore, the legislation may have the uninsured consequence of removing important consumer protections, such as receiving proper notice of the cancellation and the right to protest a cancellation, from customers,” the governor wrote.