Bills signed including allowing schools to tighten tobacco restrictions

Gov. Kenny Guinn Monday signed bills including one which will allow school districts to impose tougher anti-tobacco restrictions than the state mandates.

Current state law pushed through by the tobacco lobbyists prohibits local governments from passing ordinances which are tougher on smoking in public or advertising tobacco products than state law. SB50 exempts school districts from that law, allowing them to restrict the use, possession, sale, distribution, marketing or display of tobacco or tobacco products.

SB315 signed by the governor also deals with tobacco products. It prohibits placing a cigarette vending machine anywhere where people under age 21 can loiter.

Guinn also signed SB105, which could allow police to charge teens painting graffiti in public with a felony. The bill labels graffiti damage of less than $250 a misdemeanor and less than $5,000 a gross misdemeanor. Damage over $5,000 would be a category E felony.

But the bill allows police to add up what it takes to repair the damage from any number of individual examples of graffiti elevate a case to the felony level.

It allows that if some one "commits more than one offense pursuant to a scheme or continuing course of conduct."

Guinn also signed SB387, designed to get pharmacists to use more of the cheaper generic drugs to fill prescriptions when possible. The bill mandates the use of generics instead of name brand pharmaceuticals, which can cost several times as much money, if the drug is cheaper, biologically equivalent and has the same active ingredients in the same amounts.

The patient's doctor can specify the use of the name brand instead of the generic by writing "dispense as written" on the prescription.

SB363, also signed Monday, is designed to pave the way for the high-tech Segway -- a two-wheeled personal vehicle designed for use where people walk. The bill exempts the vehicle from any licensing requirements and declares that anyone riding it is still classified as a pedestrian, giving them the legal right to be on a sidewalk or pathway designed for foot traffic.

He signed SB70 raising the homestead exemption from $125,000 to $200,000. The Homestead Act protects the value of a person's home up to that amount from loss in any legal action other than mortgage or tax foreclosure.


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