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Arizona Supreme Court Clears the Haze: Medical Marijuana Includes Extracted Resin

On May 28, 2019, the Arizona Supreme Court issued a ruling in a criminal case, State v. Jones, clarifying the definition of marijuana under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA). The court held that the act’s definition of marijuana not only includes its dried-leaf/flower form, but also extracted cannabis resin.

New Arizona Garnishment Legislation Signed Into Law

On March 22, 2019, Governor Doug Ducey signed Arizona House Bill (HB) 2230 into law. As described in detail in our recent article, HB 2230 allows judgment creditors to serve writs of garnishment by certified mail, return receipt requested, in addition to traditional methods of service. Arizona employers that are holding or allegedly holding money for garnishees (e.g., employee wages) must now file answers to writs of garnishment received by certified mail within 30 days of receiving the writ via the new service method of certified mail. Employers may want to keep in mind that they may be liable for a default judgment in the amount of the underlying judgment if no answer is timely made.

Fired Wal-Mart Worker Wins Case Under Arizona Medical Marijuana Act

A federal judge has ruled that a fired Walmart employee who had a state medical marijuana card has a valid discrimination claim under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA). The company had suspended the employee without pay and then terminated her after a post-accident drug screen came back positive.

Arizona Law Prohibiting Municipalities From Enacting Employee Benefits Ordinances Held Unconstitutional

The Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One, has ruled that the Arizona State Legislature overstepped its authority in 2016, when it prohibited Arizona cities and other municipalities from enacting their own employee benefits ordinances. The ruling reinstates a portion of a 2006 law that permits Arizona municipalities to pass local ordinances requiring employers to provide employment benefits more favorable than those provided under statewide laws. However, federal law, such as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), still imposes limits on how much these local ordinances may compel employers to do.

New Year, New Laws: 2019 Brings Mini-COBRA, Nondisclosure Restrictions, and Minimum Wage Increase to Arizona

When Arizona’s fifty-third legislature ended last spring, we reported on four new laws that impact Arizona employers and employees. The legislature also passed two additional laws impacting Arizona employers. First, the so-called “mini-COBRA” statute extends qualifying event notification requirements to small employers (those with 20 or fewer employees) that provide health insurance coverage for their employees. The other law affects nondisclosure agreements by limiting their scope when the subject matter involves sexual offenses or obscenity. In addition, Arizona’s minimum wage rate increased on January 1, 2019.

Taking It Easy in Winslow, Arizona, as City Passes Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Winslow, Arizona, is well known to every fan of the Eagles based on the band’s hit debut single, “Take it Easy,” released in 1972. Winslow again hit the radio and news media when its city council passed Ordinance No. 1327 on November 13, 2018.

Arizona Indefinitely Suspends Plaintiffs’ Attorney Behind More Than 1,800 Title III Lawsuits

Bringing at least temporary relief to hundreds of businesses operating in Arizona, the state’s presiding disciplinary judge entered an order suspending Arizona attorney Peter Strojnik from the practice of law on an indefinite basis. The order results from a motion for interim suspension that the State Bar of Arizona filed on March 6, 2018, that included more than 300 pages of exhibits detailing the litigation tactics Strojnik used to bring more than 1,700 lawsuits against Arizona businesses alleging minor, technical violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA), such as a lack of van-accessible parking signage or parking signs that are posted a few inches too low. The Arizona attorney general moved to intervene and consolidate those cases, and then successfully moved to dismiss all pending cases for lack of standing.

New Arizona Laws Address Data Breaches and Hiring Ex-Offenders

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey recently signed HB 2154 and HB 2311 into law, both taking effect on August 3, 2018. HB 2154 provides employers with additional guidance and updated notice procedures in the event of a data security system breach, and HB 2311 bolsters limited liability protections for employers when hiring employees or contracting with independent contractors previously convicted of criminal offenses.

Arizona Updates Its Data Breach Notification Law

Last month, South Dakota and Alabama became the final two states to enact a data breach notification law. In addition, many other states, in response to trends, heightened public awareness, and a string of large-scale data breaches, have continued amending their existing laws. Arizona is the latest state to update its data breach notification law to reflect recent trends.

2018 Arizona Legislative Session: What’s New for Arizona Employers?

Arizona’s fifty-third legislature ended in early May of 2018 while over 50,000 demonstrators protested for increased education funding at the state capitol. While the #RedForEd movement essentially ground all remaining legislative action for the 2018 session to a halt, the legislature did manage to pass 369 bills this session before its attention turned entirely to education funding. However, only four bills that substantively impact employers made it to the governor’s desk and either received his signature or were allowed to become effective after the veto deadline passed. Among those that did not make the cut was a provocative bill to place a referendum before Arizona voters to freeze the minimum wage at $10.50 per hour and rescind the paid sick leave law that voters passed in 2016.