Feb 2, 2024 - News

Pluto could become Arizona's official (dwarf) planet

A brown planet against a black background.

A photo of Pluto from NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute, via Wikimedia Commons

Arizona has a state bird, state flower, state reptile, state beverage and even a state firearm. Soon, perhaps, it will have a state planet.

State of play: The House Government Committee on Wednesday approved HB2477 to officially designate Pluto as Arizona's state planet.

Yes, but: Rep. Justin Wilmeth, R-Phoenix, told reporters Wednesday he sponsored the bill to draw attention to Arizona's history.

  • "This bill isn't about proclaiming that Pluto's a planet, per se, that it's a dwarf planet or whatever. It's making it a state planet because we're the only state that's discovered a planet," he said.

Catch up quick: The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday advanced legislation to strengthen Arizona's laws against "swatting" — tricking police into responding to fake emergencies, often using SWAT teams.

  • HB2508 would add schools and places of worship to Arizona's false reporting law, and stiffen penalties from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony, the lowest such category. Arizona was one of 12 states last year that experienced hoax reports by claiming they'd blow themselves up, including three that targeted Jewish institutions, the Arizona Mirror reported.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Kris Mayes joined Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) to oppose legislation that would exempt minor league baseball players in spring training from the state's minimum wage.

  • The Senate Finance and Commerce Committee passed the bill Monday, about two weeks after a House committee OK'd identical legislation.
  • Major League Baseball says the exemption would adhere to a collective bargaining agreement between the league and the minor league players' union.
  • But Mayes and LUCHA say it would violate the 2016 voter-approved minimum wage law, which is covered by the Voter Protection Act and can be amended only in ways that further the voters' intent.
  • What they're saying: Gov. Katie Hobbs told reporters Wednesday she's "certainly concerned about upending the voter protection clause in the minimum wage proposal."
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