Rent Your Stuff for $$$: What Could Go Wrong? (video)

peer-to-peer car sharing

We heard two bills in Commerce about renting your stuff: SB1379 (renting all of part of your house) and SB1720 (renting your car).

SB1379 is an attempt to regulate the short-term rental industry. AirBnB started as a way for people to make extra cash by renting a room or a guest house on your property, but it has become big business. Tourist towns, in particular, have been overrun with party houses, short-term rentals that accommodate 20+ people for large, noisy get-togethers. The original version of 1379 included occupancy levels. Those were taken out to get it out of the Senate. Occupancy levels seem to be one of the biggest complaints from the neighbors. As it is, 1379 adds some regulation to a completely unregulated industry in the state. In my opinion, it does not go far enough in its current form.

SB1720 is a consensus bill on peer-to-peer car sharing. This is not you renting your car to your buddy for some cash. This is you listing your car on a electronic platform for rent by people you don’t know. This bill has been proposed in the past, and I had concerns about insurance, particularly if the car is totaled and there is a loan on it. There is a lot in 1720 about insurance, but my concerns about people losing their cars in accidents or losing their cars and still owing money on them have not been assuaged. In my opinion, 1720 has huge red flags for anyone who is considering listing their car and renting it.

Continue reading Rent Your Stuff for $$$: What Could Go Wrong? (video)

What Have Republicans Got Against Engineers? (video)

Construction in downtown Tucson

I have been in the legislature now for five years, and every year we have some bills that dumb down professions by reducing educational and experience requirements and/or eliminating licensure and oversight. What could go wrong?

Today in the Commerce Committee, we heard Senator J.D. Mesnard’s SB1062 on engineering definitions. I don’t know what the Republicans have got against engineers, but engineering is a perpetual target for deregulation.

SB1062 bifurcates (Legislators’ favorite word) the engineering statute and makes two levels of engineers. The current definition of engineer includes knowledge of math and the physical sciences along with education and experience in engineering practices (plus other specifics). That definition has been moved to a section called “professional engineer.” Under SB1062, “professional engineers” have advanced engineering education, experience and an engineering license but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree. Mesnard said that projects that impact public health and safety — like building roads, bridges, and structures including homes would require a professional engineer. SB1062 creates a lower level profession called “engineer.” This is a person who “identifies as an engineer” but has no license. The qualifications refer vaguely to education and experience, but nothing is defined. An unlicensed “engineer” can provide services that fall under the domain of “engineering practice” (also defined in the bill). Continue reading What Have Republicans Got Against Engineers? (video)

Cannabis Reform & Tax Cuts: Highs & Lows in #AZLeg (video)

Reefer Madness poster

Feb. 20 was another very long Thursday with the House Health and Human Services Committee starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m., with no lunch and a few hours in between for floor action and introductions. Thank goodness I had time to eat a yogurt cup and apple slices that were in my refrigerator. I had other food, but I never had time to sit down and eat it. (Thank goodness I ate a hearty breakfast.)

Thursday’s low point was in the afternoon when the Republicans passed more than $300 million in tax giveaways in two bills. There are more than a dozen additional tax breaks in the House queue, alone. What the Republicans are doing with these tax giveaways is so incredibly irresponsible… but I digress.

Anyway, today’s video is about the high point of the day (no pun intended) when four marijuana bills passed the health committee, including my bill HB 2840, giving medical marijuana patients the choice between electronic medical marijuana cards and physical cards.

Continue reading Cannabis Reform & Tax Cuts: Highs & Lows in #AZLeg (video)

With #HB2872, #AZGOP Uses #ALEC Legislation to Attack Labor Unions (video)

Writers Union joins ASARCO picket

Arizona Republicans are on the attack in 2020. We have heard anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ, anti-voter, and anti-immigrant legislation so far, and now to round out the set– we have anti-union legislation. Today’s featured bad bill is HB2872 proposed by Majority Leader Warren Petersen. It is an anti-union model bill from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Unions are private organizations, and this bill puts unnecessary, burdensome regulation and reporting requirements on unions that are not required of any other businesses. In fact, when I read HB2872, I thought, “Gosh, I would love to have this level of cost-benefit analysis reporting from my private insurance company regarding their profits and losses, salaries, and how much they actually spend on my care, compared to how much I pay.” But they aren’t required to do that.

HB2872 is national, model legislation that is duplicative and unnecessary because the reporting is already required by the federal government, and it is published online– for everyone to see. So, why is this bill necessary?

Continue reading With #HB2872, #AZGOP Uses #ALEC Legislation to Attack Labor Unions (video)

#AZLeg Hears Competing Bills on Vaping (video)

Is vaping safe?

Vaping is a hot topic in the Arizona Legislature this session. E-cigarettes (also known as nicotine vape pens) are unregulated in Arizona. Nicotine vaping is widespread, and usage is increasing, particularly among youth.

Many adults use nicotine vape pens as a way to stop smoking real cigarettes. E-cigarettes don’t have the particulates that tobacco cigarettes do, but that doesn’t mean they are safe.

We have had two competing vaping bills in the Legislature. SB1147 is a tobacco industry bill that carves out vaping and regulates it separately in the Arizona statutes; it also preempts local laws. HB2357 regulates “any product derived from tobacco or containing nicotine” the same.

Back in the 1990s, when e-cigarettes first came to the US, tobacco control researchers at the UA and elsewhere said that e-cigarettes were “drug delivery devices” that should be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The tobacco industry fought this and said e-cigarettes were tobacco and should be regulated like tobacco. They won their court case at the national level, and e-cigarettes have been regulated like tobacco since then.

HB2357 is aligned with the federal law. SB1147 puts vaping into its own category— not a tobacco product or a nicotine delivery device.

Continue reading #AZLeg Hears Competing Bills on Vaping (video)

#AZ House Debates, Passes Association Health Plans SB1085 (video)

Although we had a short floor calendar on May 1, we had some rousing debates. The highlight was a two-hour debate on SB1085, association health plans. (Watch the action here, beginning at 19:32 min.)

The Republicans have had three bills this year to lower healthcare insurance costs by encouraging people to leave the healthcare marketplace. I agree that the Affordable Care Act is too expensive, particularly for sole proprietors (like my husband who was offered a silver ACA plan for more than $1000 per month just for him.) This is why I voted for direct care contracts. I believe those are a better deal for sole proprietors than association health plans.)

Democrats debated valiantly, led by Health and Human Services Ranking Member Rep. Kelli Butler (right). Here, she does Q&A with Rep. Isela Blanc.

I get that costs are too high, but the association health plans are not the way to go. They could, indeed, lower costs for business owners, but they could be risky due to limited coverage. There are reasons why these plans will likely be cheaper. Remember the old adage “you get what you pay for”. If sole proprietor business owners want to take a risk with their own insurance and their own health, I have a mind to let them take their own risk. (Just don’t ask me to help you later with a Go Fund Me Request if it turns out I was right on limited coverage under cheap junk insurance plans.)

Where I object is when businesses are making these risky insurance decisions for their employees— just to save money.

Continue reading #AZ House Debates, Passes Association Health Plans SB1085 (video)