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LIST: Five new Arizona laws for 2020 and their potential impact

Arizona capitol
Posted at 5:58 AM, Dec 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-31 11:04:08-05

PHOENIX — Several new laws will go into place after we ring in the New Year. Here's what you need to know about five laws that will impact Arizonans the most.

1) The New Year begins with a pay raise for folks on the lowest rung of the economic ladder. Beginning January 1, 2020, the minimum wage rises to $12 an hour across Arizona. In Flagstaff, it's $13 an hour. The legislature was going to punish Flagstaff, one of the most expensive cities to live in Arizona, for raising its rate higher than the state. But State Senator Sylvia Allen's amendment to the 2019 budget included a provision splitting the costs between the city and the state, avoiding any sort of legal battle that would have ensued.

2) Many marijuana dispensaries which serve Arizona patients already test their products for contaminants like heavy metals and pesticides. In November of 2020, testing will be no longer be optional -- it will be law. Third-party labs do the testing following health department guidelines. Patients and caregivers can request the results.

3) When the new school year begins in August, public school teachers and administrators will start being trained to detect signs of suicidal behavior in students. The Mitch Warnock Act is named after a Corona Del Sol student. The legislation expands suicide awareness and prevention training in Arizona's public schools. A 2019 Health of Women and Children study reported the teen suicide rate in Arizona rose 25 percent over a three-year period. The bill's sponsor, Sean Bowie (D, Ahwatukee), said the bill will provide a critical tool for educators to spot those warning signs in their students who are at risk.

4) It is now illegal for any retailer to sell tobacco products — including cigarettes, cigars and electronic cigarettes — to anyone under 21 years old, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA officially changed the federal minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 after President Donald Trump approved the provision as part of a $1.4 trillion spending package he signed December 20.

"As required by the legislation, @US_FDA intends to publish a final rule updating its current regulations solely to carry out the amendments made by the legislation within 180 days," the FDA Center for Tobacco Products said on Twitter on December 21. "FDA will provide additional details on this issue as they become available."

Many stores like Circle K are putting the new law into effect on January 1, though no exact date for a strict deadline has been given.

5) Finally the state's primary is being moved to the first Tuesday in August. In 2020, that means the election is scheduled for August 4.