TUESDAY, F K B H U A K Y R), 1976 Law, medical groups back softer pot bill Citizen PtioÂ«nlx Bureau PHOENIX -- Tucson Sen. Frank Felix's bill reducing penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana has been endorsed by the Arizona Bar Association and a committee of the Arizona Medical Association. Felix, a Democrat, said the weight of these endorsements Â· will mean a slim margin of victory if the legislation comes to a vote in the conser- vatiye-dominated House. Felix introduced the bill yesterday and announced the endorsements in a news conference, Panel changes malpractice bill Citizen Phoenix Bureau PHOENIX - The Senate Health and Welfare Committee has adopted major changes in two proposed legal reforms contained in the legislature's medical malpractice bill. In an unexpected move, however, the panel refused to remove the House amendmeni banning any state-subsidized malpractice coverage for abortions. The committee by unanimous voice vote increased from two years to four the time in which a person can file a suit after a medical procedure. The panel also adopted an amendment saying the statute of limitation starts to run when a child becomes 12, not 6 as in the House- passed version. Markup repeal stalled GOP action may kill move Citizen Phoenix Bureau PHOENIX -- Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee have stalled attempts to repeal an obscure state law requiring a minimum 12 per cent markup on all retail sales, a statute described by the repeal bill's author as the last vestige of fair trade. In a key test vote yesterday the committee failed 5-6 to pass the repeal bill to the full House for a vote. Instead, the committee held the bill one week to give time to prepare controversial amendments some think are sure to cause the bill's defeat in the Senate. "This law is a relic of the Depression designed to protect the retailer but, like fair trade, it establishes artificial prices and shafts the consumer," said Rep. James Skelly, R-Phoenix and chief sponsor of the fair trade and retail markup bills. Jerry Petrie, the retail liquor industry's chief lobbyist, told the committee the liquor industry needs statutory minimum markup "because we're not intended to be in the free enterprise system." Skelly, Petrie and the repeal bill's GOP opponents, however, agreed the law has never been enforced and probably never will be. Two repeal opponents, Peler Corpstein of Paradise Valley and James Sossaman of Higley, will prepare amendments next week tying the Skelly bill to repeal of the state law requiring contractors on all slate and local govemmental jobs to pay the prevailing union wage. Skelly indicated attaching this amendment, violently opposed by the Democrat Senate, may be enough to kill the 12 per cent markup repeal h i l l . Skelly told reporters the liquor industry's opposition to the markup bill "is a last- ditch attempt to save some vestige of the state's fair trade apparatus . . . it's a fallback." The federal law repealing fair trade goes into effect next month. An identical bill designed to bring the stale's laws into conformity is pending in the House. Petrie, director of the Arizona Wholesale Beer and Liquor Association, hasn't opposed the fair trade repealer although experts here give him credit for single-handedly k i l l i n g an identical repeal bill last year. Fair trade allows manufacturers to set minimum retail prices. It is designed to protect small businessmen from large chains. Petrie said the a r k u p law, if it were en- 'orced, would have the same iffect. Also by unanimous vote, the committee removed the section allowing juries to order periodic payments of any court judgment. Committee Chairman Alfredo Gutierrez, however, indicated some sort of periodic payments clause most likely would be added in a House-Senate conference committee. The attempt to remove the abortion amendment died on a 4-4 vote. A tie defeats a motion. Gutierrez said, though, the abortion rider probably would be killed once the bill comes to a full Senate floor vote. Gutierrez, who also is the Senate majority leader, said the bill probably will be approved by his commiltee tomorrow, after which it will go to Appropriations Committee for consideration of a $150,000 appropriation to pay for medical-legal review panels. Today the committee was to consider changing the lawyers' contingent fee schedule and the controversial review panel. Gutierrez hopes for a final Senate vote by the end of the week. Legislators hope the bill will assure doctors and hospitals of affordable malpractice insurance when the last company writing the insurance for doctors in Arizona, Travelers Insurance Company, starts to withdraw from the market April I. Two House committees last year killed a similar bill after the Senate approved it. The bill makes possession of 50 grams of marijuana or less for personal use a civil offense punishable by a $50 fine. Now, possession of any amount may be treated as a felony. Fifty grams is slightly less than two ounces and is enough for at least 50 marijuana cigarettes. "Sentences as high as 20 years for possession of small amounts of cannabis (marijuana) will no longer be permitted," Felix said. "I believe this legislation will increase the integrity of our criminal system by halting selective enforcement and prosecution," Felix added. Albert Vermier, a member of the bar's young lawyers section, told the press conference, "To not allow this bill a vote on the House floor is a disservice to the professional groups of this state endorsing the bill and to every constituent of the committee members who vote against it." Felix said, "The savings in law enforcement time will be tremendous. The savings in social problems and youthful lives will be even greater." The legislative committee of the Arizona Medical Association last weekend recommended that the association "actively" support the bill. The board of governors of the state bar adopted a similar resolution, also last weekend. The bill first will go to the Senate Judiciary Committee where approval is expected. The bill passed 47-8 last week. the House Advertisement Arizona man walks on water PHOENIX, AZ. -- A new discovery called AQUA-SOLE is big news. AQUA-SOLE is a water filled shoe insole for people with aching feet. 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