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Arizona Legislature Wraps 2014 Session With a Flurry of Activity

State lawmakers wrapped up their 2014 session shortly before 2 a.m. Thursday morning. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports on some of the last-minute activity.

Potentially the most controversial measure given final approval paves the way for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to operate legally in the state. It exempts these kinds of firms, which link drivers and passengers with an Internet ap, from many of the same regulations about insurance and drug testing that apply to taxi operators. But, Rep. Warren Petersen said the state should not stand in the way of innovation — and making money.

“Since when is that a problem? When is it evil for somebody to try to attract money? There are people who are doing it for less than the taxi industry and saving the consumer money. When is that a bad thing?” Petersen asked.

The other measures approved on the last day and night were all over the board. For example, one expands the drugs optometrists can prescribe even though they’re not medical doctors. Another sets up state regulations of trampoline centers. There also are bills making it a crime to point a laser at an aircraft; making it illegal to put naked pictures of your ex on the Internet without permission; and even setting up rules for a silver-alert system to notify the public when elderly people are lost.

And, before adjourning for the year, lawmakers even required state emergency officials to prepare a list of how much food, water and medicine people should have on hand should a solar flare or a high-altitude nuclear blast wipe out computer systems across the state.

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