The state’s legislative season kicks off in January, and there are always implications for our broadcasting business. Here are some of the expected themes from ABA's Arizona Legislative Lobbyist, John Moody. The ABA will monitor and advocate for/against as needed:
"Fake News" fall-out: With all of the fake news rhetoric at the federal level, it is possible that legislation could be introduced to amend Arizona’s defamation statutes (e.g., requirement to demand correction/damages from broadcasters).
Tax reform: With 19 newly-elected true freshman legislators (mostly in the House) and new legislative leaders in both Chambers, a lot is possible this coming session, including tax reform that could affect broadcasters.
Attorney's fees in public records cases: This would require courts to award attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party in public records cases (now discretionary).
Public Records; Law Enforcement Officers: We may see bills attempting to prohibit/delay the disclosure of police officer names during deadly shooting cases.
Text messages/public records: Given a number of extremely politically-charged public records disputes in recent years for production of text messages from Arizona government agencies, it is possible we could see legislation to exclude text messages from the public records laws.
Police body camera/video of law enforcement activity: Always a topic of conversation among some legislators.
Other/unknown: Drone/privacy issues, police body camera rights, campaign finance reporting, access to medical examiners officer files, open meeting law reform.