2013 AZ Legislation Highlights

I. Superior Court: 

HB2308 – Probate; Omnibus – Chapter 26 (Farnsworth)

The bill makes several changes to the law governing probate proceedings.

Changes Include: 1) permitting the court to require disputes to go to arbitration in all phases of a probate proceeding, including those that occur prior to the appointment of a fiduciary. It also 2) allows the court to require each person who seeks appointment as a guardian or conservator to furnish a full set of fingerprints for the purposes of conducting a criminal background investigation.

SB 1073 – Parenting Time Hearings – Chapter 31 (Barto)

The bill requires the court to hold an evidentiary hearing within 60 days after a party files a motion for temporary orders in any pre-decree matter involving legal decision making and parenting time.

SB 1175 – Vulnerable Adult; Duty – Chapter 67 (Yarbrough)

The bill creates a presumption against a petitioner in a position of trust and confidence bringing a civil action against a vulnerable adult regarding a governing instrument, unless shown otherwise by clear and convincing evidence and makes changes to legal proceedings. Persons are deemed to be in a position of trust and confidence to a vulnerable adult if they have assumed a duty to provide care to the vulnerable adult, are a joint tenant or a tenant in common with the vulnerable adult, are in a fiduciary relationship with the vulnerable adult including a de facto guardian or conservator, or are in a court-determined confidential relationship with the vulnerable adult.

The legislation requires the superior court to find a transaction by a person using a vulnerable adult’s assets to be for the benefit of the vulnerable adult before giving approval of the transaction. It also determines that a civil action brought by a person in a position of trust and confidence against a vulnerable adult regarding a governing instrument established by the vulnerable adult is presumed not to be for the benefit of the vulnerable adult, unless shown otherwise by clear and convincing evidence.

SB 1237 – Guardianships; Conservatorships; Transfer – Chapter 36 (Driggs)

The bill modifies the procedure for Arizona courts to transfer a guardianship or conservatorship to another state. Guardianship, as defined pursuant to A.R.S. § 14- 12102, means a person who has qualified as a guardian of an incapacitated person pursuant to testamentary or court appointment. A conservator is defined as a person appointed by the court to manage the estate of an adult protected person. The legislation requires the court to receive a certified copy of a provisional order accepting the proceeding under provisions similar to those used by Arizona in accepting guardianships or conservatorships transferred from other states.

II. Justice Court:

HB 2240Small Claims Division; Jurisdiction; Limits – Chapter 208 (Stevens)

The legislation increases the jurisdictional limit for cases within the small claims division of the justice courts from $2,500 to $3,500, and becomes effective January 1, 2014.

III. Legislative Bills/Changes – Informational:

HB 2311Restitution Lien; Administrative Hearing – Chapter 19 (Farnsworth)

The bill permits the Director of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) to remove a restitution lien from a vehicle record under specified circumstances and prohibits certain liens from being perfected against a motor vehicle title.

A criminal restitution order establishes that the defendant owes money to victims and/or the courts and liens may be placed on property, including automobiles owned by the defendant. The legislation requires ADOT to place a code on the obligor’s record that automatically restores the restitution lien on any vehicle that is subsequently titled or registered by the obligor. It also requires ADOT to provide notice of the hearing to the governmental agency that requested the lien be placed on the obligor’s record, which shall then notify any victim for whom restitution was ordered.

HB 2442 – Fitness for Duty; Probation Officers – Chapter 201 (Olson)

The legislation allows an employer to order a probation officer to submit to a physical examination if the officer has acted or failed to act in an observable manner that indicates there is a physical condition materially limiting the probation officer’s ability to perform the outlined job description. The order must state all specific objective facts on which the order is based except the specific names of the individuals who reported the probation officer’s conduct to the supervisor. It must provide at least ten days’ notice to the probation officer to be examined, and must include the time, place, manner, conditions and scope of the examination, as well as the person who will conduct the examination. It also allows a representative of the probation officer to be present during.The bill allows the employer to provide the examining physician with additional information related to the fitness of the probation officer and mandates the physician to consider and report only on the probation officer’s medical records that are directly relevant to the actions in question and record preexisting conditions that are relevant to the examination. The physician may consider and report any condition of the probation officer that the physician identifies to be a danger to the safety of the probation officer or the community. The employer must provide notice to the probation officer when the report is received by the employer. The probation officer must receive the final report of the examination containing the medical professional’s findings; it must be provided immediately if the probation officer presents the final report of an independent medical examination or if the probation officer waives any right to request an independent medical examination. The bill waives the probation officer’s right to present the results of the independent medical examination if the probation officer does not present the result within twenty days after the employer provides the probation officer notice that the report has been received by the employer. The report must be provided only to the employer and the probation officer except as required for any subsequent appeal or certification action involving the probation officer, and the employer to make a reasonable good faith effort to deliver the report to the probation officer. The employer may not take final action until the probation officer has had at least twenty days to review the report unless the probation officer waives the twenty-day period or the employer grants an extension. e examination with consent of the physician conducting the examination. The bill excludes any pre-examination materials from any proceeding held and maintains a probation officer’s rights as they exist in statute. It becomes effective October 31, 2013.

HB 2517 – Domestic Violence; Arrest – Chapter 213 (J. Pierce)

The bill establishes a minimum age requirement of at least fifteen years before a peace officer is required, with certain exceptions, to make an arrest in domestic violence cases involving a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. It includes websites for local resources in the list of available resources a peace officer must provide to the alleged or potential victim when responding to a domestic violence call.

HB 2401 – Service Animal; Definition – Chapter 59 (Carter) T

he bill updates the definition of service animal to include both dogs and miniature horses that are specially trained, and prohibits the operator of a public place from discriminating against individuals who use service animals if the work performed by the service animal is directly related to the individual’s disability.

HB 2165 – Public Libraries; Circulation Records; Privacy – Chapter 89 (Dial)

The bill modifies statutory provisions governing library disclosure of records and information. Current law prohibits a library or library system supported by public funds from disclosing any information which identifies a user of library services as requesting or obtaining specific materials or services or using the library for any other purpose. However, a library or library system supported by public funds is authorized to disclose information if necessary for the reasonable operation of the library, upon written consent of the user, on receipt of a court order, or if required by law. Any person who knowingly discloses such information without authorization is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor. The legislation adds e-books to a statutory provision governing disclosure of library circulation records. It also allows for library records to be disclosed if necessary for the reasonable operation of the library upon written consent of the user, on receipt of a court order, or if required by law.

Thank you to Susan Regan for submitting this blog post.

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