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KNAU's Morning Rundown: Monday, April 5

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Senate Bill Would Bar Driver License Suspensions For Unpaid Traffic Violations

The Arizona Legislature has approved a measure that would restrict the state from suspending an individual’s driver license due to unpaid civil traffic violations. The protection applies to drivers with a non-commercial license. S.B. 1551 was proposed by Sen. Paul Boyer and received bipartisan support. The legislation will now head to Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk to be signed into law.

 

State Legislators Support Income Tax Deadline Extension 

The House of Representatives last Wednesday approved legislation that would extend Arizona’s tax filing deadline to May 17 for the current year. The senate bill would provide an extension for residents filing state income tax returns. State Rep. Shawnna Bolick added the deadline extension to the senate bill; the legislation should now head to Gov. Doug Ducey’s office to be signed into effect. The IRS has already extended its own tax filing deadline to May 17, 2021 due to the continuing pandemic.

 

Flagstaff Precipitation Still Below Average, NWS Says 

Precipitation in Flagstaff continues to fall several inches below average, according to the National Weather Service. Snowfall in both January and March bolstered annual precipitation rates for the city. However, a recently released NWS report shows between October 2020 and March 2021, Flagstaff received 3 inches lower than a normal rate. The entirety of the state remains in some form of drought, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center.

 

Flagstaff City Council Supports Some COVID-19 Relaxations As Cases Decline 

Flagstaff officials last week supported a relaxation of some COVID-19 restrictions for sporting events in the city as cases continue to decline across the state. Dr. David Engelthaler of TGen North consulted the city council at a meeting last week, telling members and the public he’s observed a low risk of outdoor virus transmission; Engelthaler recommended outdoor activities for children’s mental and physical health. A majority of the city council last Tuesday recommended expanding outdoor field permits to a maximum capacity of 100 people and events at the indoor Jay Lively Center to a maximum of 50 people.

 

The city on Thursday received a donation of 230,000 KN95 masks, according to Mayor Paul Deasy. Deasy and the Flagstaff City Council had criticized Gov. Doug Ducey’s loosening of COVID-19 restrictions and say a face covering proclamation remains effective, though the city’s mask mandate will not be enforced.

 

YCSO Seizes Thousands Of Fentanyl Pills, Reports Uptick 

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office says a K9 unit confiscated 20,000 fentanyl pills during a traffic stop last Thursday. Authorities say a 23-year-old Phoenix man is facing multiple charges; YSCO also says deputies have observed a notable increase of fentanyl seizures in recent months.

 

Hopi Tribe Shifts To First Reopening Phase 

Hopi tribal officials on April 1 released an executive order launching a first phase of reopening on the reservation. The tribe’s stay-at-home executive order expired last Wednesday. The new phase allows certain gatherings on the reservation, though the order still requires social distancing and face coverings among attendees. The order instructs residents to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people if social distancing is not possible. Schools and already-shuttered gyms are directed to remain closed, according to the Office of Chairman Timothy Nuvangyaoma. Tribal officials last Thursday reported a decline in cases on the reservation, saying about 5% of COVID-19 tests confirmed a positive result.

 

Court Commitments To Reopen In Coconino County

County officials say the Coconino County Detention Facility will allow individuals to self-surrender to serve jail time starting today. The county had paused self-surrender court commitments to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in its Flagstaff and Page holding facilities. A CCSO spokesperson says a limited number of people will be admitted through self-surrender each day. On Friday, the office reported a total of 224 COVID-19 cases among inmates and staff. CCSO also reported 75% of inmates did not wish to receive a vaccine. 

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