Voter Protection Act blocking bill to ease fines

By Greta Forslund | Arizona Capitol Times 

Rep. Leo Biasiucci was waiting his turn to fight a parking ticket in court when the idea came to him.

As the Lake Havasu City Republican watched people ahead of him tell the judge they couldn’t afford to pay their tickets, he wondered why there wasn’t a way to lift the financial burden. Payment plans weren’t an option; an additional fee is required to start one, he said.

Biasiucci’s HB2110, first introduced as HB2055 in 2020, proposes that judges could order people to do community service, valued at $12 an hour, as payment for their tickets rather than money.

Lawmakers like the idea — it’s criminal justice reform that both helps those in need and serves the community — but stakeholders raised the prospect that voter protection laws and the 13th Amendment, which bans involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime, could stop the bill in its tracks.

Opponents of the bill said that the Voter Protection Act applies to the bill because it could cut funding to the voter-approved Clean Elections Commission.

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