No budget yet, but lemonade bill gets Ducey’s signature
PHOENIX — Arizona doesn’t have a state budget for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.
Nor have state lawmakers addressed other pressing issues ranging from giving more time for victims of child sex abuse to sue their assailants or debating a surprise $32-a-vehicle registration fee.
But Arizona now has a state drink — or will later this year.
Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation Monday to create that designation. It means that the beverage will join other official state items ranging from the bola tie as official state neckwear to the Colt single action Army revolver as the official firearm.
There was no explanation from Ducey about his decision to ink his approval for the measure that has drawn some derision from lawmakers — largely Democrats — about why their colleagues are wasting time on the issue when other business goes unfinished.
Lemonade wasn’t the only thing on the governor’s mind as he prepares to go to the Republican Governor’s Conference in Kentucky beginning Tuesday.
He also signed a measure to eliminate the minimum $8,000 penalty on hunters who take “trophy’’ animals, exempting nonprofit residential treatment and educational facilities from property taxes, and making it a requirement that when lobbyists file reports they have to swear to the accuracy of the content under penalty of perjury.
And it follows Ducey’s decision last week to allow Arizonans to possess nunchucks without fear of getting arrested.
The lemonade bill was pushed through by House Majority Leader Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, who said he was simply helping a local high school student who crafted the idea and wanted the experience of creating a state law.
But lemonade won’t actually be “official’’ until 91 days after the end of the legislative session, when most laws take effect. And with lawmakers already three weeks beyond their self-imposed deadline to wrap up, and with no budget deal in sight, that end may not come before next month.