PHOENIX — Gov. Katie Hobbs killed legislation Tuesday that proponents said was designed to make it easier for people to operate home-based businesses.
Current law allows such operations as long as they meet certain conditions. And it even allows for temporary commercial signs and offering items for sale.
SB 1162 would have gone a step beyond, declaring that home business are “allowed as a use by right’’ as long as it doesn’t run afoul of deed restrictions. And it would have eliminated any requirement for licensing that would have allowed city officials to be aware that a business was operating in the area.
“You should be able to operate a home-based business,’’ said Sen. Steve Kaiser, R-Phoenix, the sponsor of the legislation. He noted that many people started such businesses during COVID.
“We don’t need heavy regulation,’’ Kaiser said.
Hobbs, however, sided with local officials who were in opposition to effectively removing all their power to regulate.
“While there is no doubt that more can be done to support small businesses in Arizona, this approach is far too broad,’’ the governor said in her 25th veto of the session. “This bill would create challenges for public safety and code enforcement in neighborhoods.’’
That mirrors the comments of Tom Savage, a lobbyist for the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, who testified against the measure when it was heard by the Senate Commerce Committee. He said the measure would make it more difficult for communities to take care of the needs of adjacent property owners.
“The bill seems to tip the scale in favor of the property rights of those who want to operate a home-based business over the property rights of those who bought their home expecting their neighborhood to be quiet and free from commercial activity,’’ Savage said. He said the fact there are home-based businesses now, under existing local regulations, proves there is no need to further restrict the ability of communities to have some oversight.
But Jenna Bentley, lobbyist for the Goldwater Institute, said the measure is justified.
“Sometimes this is a primary source of income,’’ she testified. “Sometimes this is a side job they do to help pay for groceries.’’
Bentley said SB 1162 is structured so that it applies only to those operations that have “no impact’’ on neighborhoods.
Hobbs, in her veto message, was unconvinced.
“I believe that there is a common-sense approach that balances the needs of neighborhoods and small businesses,’’ she wrote. “This bill fails to strike that balance, and I look forward to working with the Legislature and local leaders to support entrepreneurs and small businesses.
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