Americans United for Separation of Church and State

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Church State Issues

Arizona bill would allow liquor sales closer to schools

Mar 27, 2015

Arizona Republic

Arizona bill would allow liquor sales closer to schools [and churches]

If you ask me all these silly laws that make it illegal to sell liquor or do other things within 300 feet of a church are a blatant violation of both the Arizona Constitution and the US Constitution both which forbid mixing religion and government.


Arizona bill would allow liquor sales closer to schools

Ronald J. Hansen and Mary Jo Pitzl, The Republic azcentral.com 12:20 a.m. MST

March 27, 2015

Convenience stores selling liquor may be able to locate next to schools and churches under a bill advancing in the House of Representatives.

An amended Senate Bill 1419 would limit liquor sales to no more than 40 percent of a store's sales for those located closer than the usual 300-foot buffer.

Republicans supported the measure, which received preliminary approval in the House on Thursday. They noted that it would apply to grocery stores that sell produce and are at least 4,500 square feet. They would be subject to audits by the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control.

Democrats opposing it said the bill claims to apply to grocers, but really impacts convenience stores that can become magnets for crime.

Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, defended the bill, saying the state can still inspect the stores to ensure compliance with alcohol laws.

Gun rights: The House also gave preliminary approval to SB 1460, which was amended to allow a person's gun rights to be automatically restored if they have a conviction for less-serious felonies legally set aside.

Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, made the change to largely mirror a bill that had favor in the Senate until Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, changed it to also do away with Arizona's prohibition on sawed-off shotguns and silencers.

Student information: The House also gave preliminary approval to a bill that would bar schools from giving out student information, to anyone who wants the data for political purposes. Critics say that could hamper parent-teacher organizations, because it would be hard to determine if groups have political intent.

House members on Thursday added an amendment to SB 1172 that would bar educators from sharing information about upcoming elections or pending bills at the state Legislature. It would apply if school employees were acting on behalf of their district or charter school and impose up to a $5,000 penalty for any violation.

Unfinished business: The House and Senate adjourned for the week Thursday, leaving some of the session's most contentious bills for the final week of business.

For example, a bill to replace the federal Common Core educational standards was scratched Thursday.

The compromise plan between the ride-sharing industry and taxis also remains unfinished. Both sides agree the plan needs some fixing, but the two parties did not want the other to gain an upper hand.