Arizona Internet Law Update: Revenge, Sharing & Crowdfunding – Oh My!
Let’s take two minutes to review the latest Arizona Internet law headlines.
Arizona Revenge P-rn, Take Two
After a false start, Arizona now has a revenge porn law. The State Legislator passed a similar statute in 2014, but it was ultimately deemed unconstitutional and excised from the books.
Arizona’s Failed Revenge P-rn Law
Loosey-goosey language killed the state’s first revenge porn law. Under it, anyone who published images with any nudity — and without consent — risked a criminal record.
What’s wrong with that, you ask? Well, people worried that the vague wording created a loophole that gave legislators leeway to censure controversial images (example: the infamous abu ghraib photos, which did include nudity).
Under the new Arizona revenge porn law, plaintiffs must prove ill intent on the part of the defendant. The law was fast-tracked to the Governor’s desk and the statute is already in effect.
The New Parameters
Under the new iteration of the Arizona Internet law, plaintiffs must prove ill intent on the part of the defendant. Immodest pictures released in service of the public interest won’t be subject to Arizona’s revenge p-rn law.
In extreme cases, revenge p-rn felons may land a 2-year prison sentence. Most first-time offenders, however, will walk away with probation.
The law was fast-tracked to Governor Doug Ducey’s desk, he signed it, and the statute is already in effect.
Arizona Wants To Become A Sharing Economy Stronghold
A group of State legislators want to make Arizona a “sharing economy” (e.g., Airbnb, Uber) stronghold. The State Senate recently waived in a measure that disallows towns, counties and cities from banning short term rentals. Or, in more colloquial terms: a law that would allow people to operate Airbnb businesses without much hassle from local authorities who may be a smidge more hostile about short-term rental properties.
The Pro Sharing Economy Argument
But state officials want to grow the state’s sharing economy. The increase in “hotel tax” revenue would boost government coffers; and by voting for the bill, politicians can legitimately position themselves as “small business-friendly;” plus, the new rules would likely increase affordable accommodations in Arizona — and by extension tourism.
Nay-Sayers: Airbnb-Type Rentals Can Ruin A Suburban Neighborhood!
Not everyone is thrilled with Arizona’s push to grow its sharing economy. State Sen. John Kavanagh, the lone legislative dissenter, is Team NO because he fears tourists may disrupt the suburban force. Kavanagh explained the other side of the coin: I didn’t move into a neighborhood to have the house next door to me turned into a weekly rental property […] We had a problem in Fountain Hills where people were renting houses and they were allowing individuals through services like this to rent them for the weekend when there are big golf or other events in town. And a whole bunch of people come and they party at the house, they arrive on Friday and they leave on Sunday.
But Kavanagh doesn’t seem to have a lot of support on the issue; the majority of officials voted in lock-step with a vision Governor Ducey painted during the State of the State address: Arizona should be to the sharing economy what Texas is to oil and what Silicon Valley used to be to the tech industry.
The Senate recently waived in a measure that disallows towns, counties and cities from banning short term rentals. Or, in more colloquial terms: a law that would allow people to operate Airbnb businesses without much hassle from local officials who may be a smidge more hostile about short-term rental properties.
The so-called “Airbnb Bill” has yet to be signed into law; it’s currently making its way through the approval process.
An Amendment For Arizona’s Crowdfunding Bill? (Great For Startups!)
Last year, to energize Arizona’s startup economy and stimulate job growth, state legislators passed a crowdfunding bill. Its weakness? The law limits investment to Arizonians.
But that may soon change! The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) is lobbying for an amendment that permits out-of-state investments.
Senator David Farnsworth is marshaling the bill through Phoenix. Essentially, the proposal seeks to expand the current crowdfunding law by permitting:
- Limitless numbers of unaccredited investors;
- No individual investment cap;
- Debt and equity investing;
- Investor-friendly liquidity provisions; and
- Favorable SEC reporting parameters;
ASBA CEO Rick Murray explained why the crowdfunding amendment would stimulate the state’s startup economy: With the success of the Arizona Crowdfunding Law, this legislation would be right in line with what we are trying to do here for Arizona businesses. Getting this on the books would help to make Arizona look even more attractive to the underwriting community, thus increasing business being conducted here in our state.
But that may soon change! The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) is lobbying for an amendment that permits out-of-state investments for crowdsourced ventures.
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Baker, D. (2016, March 12). Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signs bill criminalizing ‘revenge porn’ Retrieved April 11, 2016, from http://www.azfamily.com/story/31455001/arizona-gov-doug-ducey-signs-bill-criminalizing-revenge-porn A. (2016, February 18). SB-1425 boosts state’s equity crowdfunding law | AZ Big Media. Retrieved April 11, 2016, from http://azbigmedia.com/ab/sb-1425-complements-states-equity-crowdfunding-law Banchiri, B. (2016, March 11). A new law in Arizona would protect Airbnb and similar sites. Retrieved April 11, 2016, from http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/USA-Update/2016/0311/A-new-law-in-Arizona-would-protect-Airbnb-and-similar-sites