April 15, 2021

News roundup: Tucson keeps odd-year elections, AZ tax deadline pushed back

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, April 15.

Arizona COVID-19 cases: 7 days

Map shows COVID-19 cases and case rates over the week preceding the last update.

Credit: Nick O'Gara/AZPM. Sources: The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, Census Bureau. Case reports do not correspond to day of test.

Cases 851,725 | Deaths 17,123

On Thursday, April 15, Arizona reported 460 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 additional deaths.

Supreme Court sides with Tucson on election timing


In a 5-1 decision Wednesday, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that an Arizona law forcing local government elections to be on even-numbered years if elections on odd-numbered years have low turnout does not apply to the City of Tucson.

The case came after Attorney General Mark Brnovich alleged that Tucson violated the law passed by the legislature in 2018.

The justices said that because Tucson is a charter city the state has no interest in what is a local matter.

Learn more here.

Tax deadline not until May


April 15th traditionally marks the federal and state income tax filing deadline, but the coronavirus pandemic has caused extension of the deadline for both for the second straight year.

This time the new date is May 17th.

Lecturer Janee Johnson with the University of Arizona Eller College of Management said late filers can feel more comfortable about waiting until the last minute.

“In some ways procrastinating did pay off a little bit this year because the extension to file also includes an extension to pay,” Johnson said.

But at the same time, she said, some early individual filers may wish they had taken advantage of the extra few weeks. The deadline is also extended for those who wish to claim Arizona tax credits.

Arizona reports 460 additional COVID-19 cases, 14 deaths


PHOENIX — Arizona on Thursday reported 460 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 14 more deaths as both counts fell below the state’s latest seven-day rolling averages.

The latest figures released by the state Department of Health Services raised the state’s pandemic totals 851,725 cases and 17,2123 deaths.

COVID-19-related hospitalizations continued to range between 500 and 600.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases as of Wednesday was 717.3, up from 566 two weeks earlier on March 30. The rolling average of daily deaths in Arizona dropped from 17.9 to 15.3 during the same period. That's according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation reports no COVID-19 deaths for 4th day in row


WINDOW ROCK — The Navajo Nation reports 10 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths for the fourth consecutive day.

The latest numbers released Wednesday brought the pandemic totals on the tribe’s reservation to 30,279 cases and 1,262 known deaths.

Tribal officials had ordered a lockdown last weekend over fears that a new variant could drive another deadly surge. The Stay-At-Home order required all Navajo Nation residents to refrain from unnecessary travel to help limit the spread of the virus, including a new and more contagious strain.

So far, nearly 16,500 people on the Navajo Nation have recovered from COVID-19.

Learn more here.

Arizona changes tax code to match US steps on COVID relief


PHOENIX — Legislation approved with bipartisan support among state lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey conforms Arizona’s tax code to federal income tax changes that include steps providing pandemic relief.

The bill signed late Wednesday by Ducey was approved unanimously by the Legislature.

Ducey said the legislation will help individuals and businesses who had to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor's office said Arizona's conforming changes include exempting federal Paycheck Protection Program loans from state income tax and providing a state income tax exemption for the first $10,000 in unemployment insurance benefits received in 2020.

Learn more here.

Arizona governor signs bill legalizing sports betting


PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed a bill allowing a major expansion of gambling in the state.

The measure signed Thursday adds more table games at tribal casinos and for the first time allows sports betting under licenses issued to tribes and pro sports teams. It also allows gambling on fantasy sports and new Keno games at horse race tracks and fraternal organizations.

The updated compact will allow as many as four new casinos in the metro Phoenix area, although only two are likely to be built anytime soon. That's according to compact documents made public Thursday morning.

Learn more here.

Arizona legislation fetes civil rights icon Fred Korematsu


PHOENIX — Arizona is honoring late civil rights icon Fred Korematsu, whose fight against Japanese American internment went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gov. Doug Ducey on Thursday signed legislation establishing a “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution” on Jan. 30, Korematsu’s birthday.

The legislation comes as the nation continues to see a rise in anti-Asian crimes that started with the pandemic.

A coalition of local Asian American groups, including the Arizona chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, sent Ducey’s office a letter last week urging him to address the issue. A formal condemnation of anti-Asian violence is among their demands.

Learn more here.

Mexico president focusing efforts to stop child migrants


MEXICO CITY — Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says he'll travel next week to his country’s southern border to discuss with the region’s governors and mayors efforts to stop child migrants being smuggled into the country.

The United States government has asked Mexico and Central American nations to help lower the number of child migrants arriving at its border with Mexico.

This week the Biden administration said it had reached agreements with those countries to use troops to crack down on migrant smuggling. The move was criticized by human rights defenders and migrant advocates.

Learn more here.

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