New State Laws Ease Wine Buys, Potlucks ; Statutes OK'd in Last Session Went into Effect at Midnight

By Fischer, Howard | AZ Daily Star, August 6, 2016 | Go to article overview

New State Laws Ease Wine Buys, Potlucks ; Statutes OK'd in Last Session Went into Effect at Midnight


Fischer, Howard, AZ Daily Star


PHOENIX -- Like wine?

Neighborhood potlucks?

As of midnight, you should be able to get more of both.

Previous state laws had strict restrictions on the ability of Arizonans to get wine from out-of-state vinters that might not be available here. In many cases, residents had to go to a winery to place the order to have it shipped.

Now, Arizonans are able to place orders by phone, mail or online. Initially, the limit will be six cases. That will increase to nine in 2018 and a dozen starting in 2019.

There are some restrictions, including a requirement for the seller to obtain proper identification to ensure the recipient is at least 21. That means whoever does the delivery must inspect a valid photo ID from the recipient.

And getting free booze will also get easier: A separate measure eliminated the requirement that beer and wine stores be at least 5,000 square feet before providing samples.

Potlucks are a different issue.

In general, state health regulations cover situations where food is sold.

There is an exception for a "noncommercial social event," a definition that includes potlucks. But that exemption applies only when the event is at a workplace, making a gathering of folks at a mobile home park, for example, illegal.

As of Saturday, Aug. 6, neighborhood potlucks also will fall under the exemption.

On a related front, another new law spells out that health departments can no longer regulate food grown in school gardens if it is prepared and used on-site. And, also on the subject of the health department, agencies that procure organs for transplants will have to be licensed.

Several measures dealing with education also gained legislative approval.

One limits the ability of schools to use assessment tests that seek personal information.

Another requires the state Board of Education to prepare a list of academic-assessment tests that schools can use rather than the one now mandated.

And lawmakers forbade local school boards and interscholastic organizations from prohibiting students from wearing religious or cultural accessories as long as they do not create health or safety issues.

At the higher-education level, one new law prohibits state colleges and universities from limiting student protests to certain "free speech" zones. A similar measure spells out the right of students to free speech.

That second one also makes it illegal to block someone from going to a government meeting or political rally. That followed efforts by protesters earlier this year to keep people from going to a Donald Trump rally in Fountain Hills.

It also wouldn't be an Arizona legislative session if there were not some new laws dealing with guns.

Lawmakers created an exception to existing regulations that allow colleges and universities to ban weapons on campus. Now, individuals need not disarm themselves if they are on a public right-of-way going through the campus.

They also approved two measures designed to keep local governments from enacting any of their own rules, something that, at least on paper, is already illegal.

It's aimed largely at Tucson, which has refused to repeal two gun regulations that former Attorney General Tom Horne concluded in 2013 are beyond the city's authority.

One requires people to report the loss or theft of a gun to police; the other allows police to request a breath sample from someone who appears intoxicated and has negligently discharged a firearm. The new law provides some teeth, allowing a judge to assess a penalty of up to $50,000 for a knowing or willful violation of state pre-emption as well as removing public officials from office.

Another new law allows any legislator to ask the attorney general to investigate whether a local ordinance or policy is contrary to state law. But the real key is that if the city does not come into compliance within 30 days, the state treasurer would be required to stop providing revenue-sharing dollars, money that makes up a large share of each city's operating budget. …

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