Arizona Legislative Update

Author: Lynn Allen

The 52nd Arizona Legislature began its Second Regular Session on January 11, 2015. A large number of bills were introduced that could impact the makeup of state courts, litigation, insurance matters, and the practice of law in Arizona.

Courts

HB2039 (Election of Judges; Terms; Salary)

Superior Court judges in the state’s larger counties are appointed through merit selection rather than election. This significant bill would eliminate merit selection of justices and judges, providing for their election. Judges and justices would receive an annual salary equal to the annual salary for a member of the state legislature. However, the law would take effect only if voters approve a constitutional amendment to repeal merit selection. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

HCR2028: (Election Of Judges; Terms)

Similarly, this resolution would refer to the voters the decision to eliminate the merit system and replace it with election of Supreme Court justices and superior court judges, regardless of the size of the county, and reduces term of justices to four years.

HB2004 (Court Dispositions; Searchable Public Records)

This bill requires the court to prominently post a clear and concise disposition for each listed case within 30 days after the final disposition of the case if the court maintains case information for a publicly accessible and searchable case record database. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

Litigation

HB2074 (Public Safety Employees; Omnibus)

This bill creates immunity for a public entity or public employee where a peace officer caused an injury if the injury was caused by any act or omission while rendering emergency care at the scene of an emergency occurrence. The bill has not been assigned to a committee.

HB2114 (Independent Business Status; Declaration)

This bill creates a form for the purposes of Title 23 (Labor) that would allow an independent contractor to declare it independent business status. This form would create a rebuttable presumption of an independent contractor relationship. This bill has passed the House.

HB 2464 (Witnesses; Health Care Providers; Subpoenas)

This bill would require that a subpoena directed to a licensed health care provider must be served at least 14 days before the date of appearance.  The party requesting the subpoena must make reasonable and good faith efforts to accommodate the health care provider’s patient care and treatment schedule.

SB1293 (Mediation; Confidential Communications; Exception)

This bill would expand the list of communications during the mediation process that are exempt from confidentiality, including a disclosure made in a report to a law enforcement officer or other officials. This bill has passed the Senate Rules Committee.

SB1088 (Secured Residential Communities; Process Servers)

Currently, process servers face difficulties serving process in gated communities, increasing the cost of litigation due to the need for court intervention for alternative service. This bill requires HOAs to permit process servers to access gated or secured areas of the community to effect service of process.  This bill has been assigned to the Senate Public Safety, Military and Technology Committee.

SB1061 (Process Servers; Motor Vehicle Records)

This bill permits certified process servers to obtain personal information from the Department of Transportation for use in connection with any civil, criminal, administrative, or arbitration proceeding.  This bill has been referred to the Senate Transportation and Judiciary Committees.

Insurance

HB2129 (Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage)

There continues to be litigation over the protections provided to insurance companies using approved forms when selling uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage. This bill provides an insurer that uses a form approved by the Department of Insurance in offering uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage and confirming the selection of limits or rejection of coverage by a named insured or applicant satisfies the insurer’s standard of care in offering and explaining the nature and applicability of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.  This bill has not been assigned to a committee.

Attorney Regulation

There continue to be legislative efforts to eliminate mandatory membership in the State Bar of Arizona. The latest bills follow.

HB2219 (Supreme Court; Attorney Licensing)

This bill requires the Supreme Court to license attorneys for the practice of law and to adopt rules to carry out this requirement. Attorneys could not be required to be a member of any organization to become or remain licensed. This bill has not been assigned to a committee.

HB2221 (Attorney Regulation; Assessments; Membership Dues)

This bill places all regulatory functions related to the practice of law, including the regulation of attorneys, within the authority of the Supreme Court. It would authorize the Supreme Court to collect a mandatory assessment from each attorney to support the Court’s regulatory functions.  This bill has not been assigned to a committee.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lynn Allen is a partner at Tyson & Mendes, LLP.  She specializes in general liability defense, insurance coverage, and bad faith litigation.  Contact Lynn at 602.386.5660 or lallen@tysonmendes.com.

Download full article here.

Copyright © 2017 Tyson & Mendes LLP. All Rights Reserved. Website by Thriveline.