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AZ House passes bill preventing officials from closing businesses in states of emergency

The Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill that prevents city and county officials from forcing a business to close during an emergency declaration. 

That would extend to mayors and county board supervisors. Many closures came from Gov. Doug Ducey in 2020.

Rep. Leo Biasiucci says the closures focused on small businesses while big companies like Walmart were allowed to stay open. 

“If the customers don’t feel like they are in a safe environment, they aren’t going to go. So, government should never have their hand in telling who can stay open, picking winners and losers. I never want to see this happen again, and businesses shuttered because the government felt they couldn’t handle whatever emergency was at play," Biassiucci said. 

Opponents say the bill could hurt government response to emergencies in the future, and is overreaching in the opposite direction. It now goes to the Senate. 

Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.