Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday finished up work on the 2017 legislative session by acting on 33 remaining bills, including signing legislation creating a $1 billion university loan program and 26 other bills. But he also vetoed six bills, including one legalizing the growing of hemp. A look at some of the bills signed and vetoed by the Republican governor:
Ducey signed three bills that boost tax incentives for big and small business. One bill is a new $10 million "angel investor" tax credit program for capital infusions into small businesses, and the second one expands eligibility for a state jobs creations tax fund to smaller businesses. The third bill extends until 2025 a job-creation tax credit for big companies. It includes new lower property taxes for Intel and other manufacturers in special trade zones that already pay an ultra-low tax rate on new equipment and a tax break pushed by corporate jet seller NetJets exempting it from sales taxes that Ducey vetoed earlier in the session.
Ducey signed legislation allowing current or retired firefighters with certain cancers to presumptively qualify for workers compensation coverage. A second bill he signed requires coverage if a firefighter has a fatal or disabling heart attack within 24 hours of being exposed to smoke from a fire.
Ducey signed a proposal exempting the sale of U.S. gold coins from state capital gains taxes after vetoing two previous version of the bill.
Ducey also signed legislation boosting mileage payments for state lawmakers above what it paid to other state employees. House Speaker J.D. Mesnard has said lawmakers who travel long distances in their own cars need an increase from the current state rate of 44.5 cents per mile to the federal rate of 53.5 cents a mile.
Elections for sales-tax increases by counties, cities and towns must be placed only on November general election year ballots under legislation signed by Ducey. It was pushed by conservative Republican lawmakers who believed higher turnout will make tax-increase elections more representative. Opponents said it handcuffs cities from asking for tax increases when they need the money.
Welfare recipients will again be eligible for two years of cash payments but be required to work or be enrolled in job training and ensure their children are attending school. The measure partially restores cuts the Republican governor pushed through in a measure in 2015 that limited lifetime welfare payments to one year, the shortest in the nation. Payments would be reduced or eliminated if a participant is caught with a controlled substance or quits a job.
SCHOOL SUBSTANCE ABUSE
School districts will be required to report the amount of suspensions and expulsions involving the sale and use of drugs under a measure signed by the governor. The annual reports to the Arizona Department of Education must include statistics on the possession, use, sale, and type of drug involved in each case and be posted online by the state agency.
The governor vetoed legislation allowing the growing, processing, marketing and sales of industrial hemp. Sponsor Sen. Sonny Borrelli said the measure is needed to boost the state's agricultural economy. Ducey said lawmakers didn't include funding for Department of Agriculture to set up and oversee the needed licensing program. A $250,000 per year appropriation was removed by an amendment.
The governor refused to grant greater protections to high school and college journalists from administrative censorship. The measure would have limited restrictions to content that is libelous, invades personal privacy, violates federal or state law, or "materially and substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the school." Ducey said it might have unintended consequences, especially on high school campuses where adult supervision is especially important.
Ducey also vetoed bills changing how teachers and principals are evaluated, easing rulemaking for charter schools, eliminating a waiting period before state employees start earning pensions and setting up a voluntary payment system for conservation easements that Ducey called a "slippery slope" for tax policy and a possible threat to military installations.