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In Focus is taking a break. We’ll return next week.

Enforcement agents with Arizona’s Department of Liquor Licenses and Control have a new tool to prevent underage drinking. The app, called Age ID, allows officers to use a smartphone camera to verify an ID within a few seconds.

Bryan Lewis, CEO of Intellicheck, the company behind the technology, said states use their own barcode formats for licenses and IDs.

“There’s over 250 valid formats of barcodes,” he said. “And the bad guys can create the plastic to be real but they don’t understand how the states each do their printing of that particular barcode and there’s also some security in many of those barcodes that we work with the states to understand.”

He said the app verifies age information with an accuracy greater than 99% and is used by more than 55 law enforcement agencies nationwide.

“The main way that law enforcement tends to use this is if they suspect a store or a bar is selling to underage they just go in and check the IDs of every person in the bar,” Lewis said. “And it’s one of the reasons law enforcement likes this tool — they can clear a very large bar in minutes and know who has a fake and who doesn’t.”

In an email response to KJZZ's questions, Jeffery Trillo, assistant director of the licensing and administration division, said Arizona investigators began using the app in April.

[...] You can report underage sales to the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control by calling 877-668-5345 or using this online form.

As part of the Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act, enacted in 2006 and reauthorized in 2016, Congress requires states to submit annual reports on efforts to prevent or reduce underage drinking.

The 2018 Arizona report found 114 alcohol-attributable deaths for those under 21. The percentages that admitted to using alcohol in the past month broke down this way: 

  • Ages 12-14 = 4.4%

  • Ages 15-17 = 14.3%

  • Ages 18-20 = 40.6%

The Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family has alcohol information for parents and guardians and children.

PHOENIX — Arizonans have a constitutional right to online privacy to keep police from snooping around to find out who they are without first getting a warrant, the state Court of Appeals ruled.

In what appears to be the first ruling of its kind in the state, the court said internet users have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” that the information they furnish about themselves to internet providers will be kept secret. That specifically includes who they are and their home address.

That means police and government agencies cannot obtain that information — the gateway to finding out exactly who is posting material —without a search warrant, the court ruled. And getting a search warrant requires a showing of some criminal activity.

The ruling is particularly significant because federal courts have consistently ruled that once people furnish that information to a third party — in this case the company that provides internet service — they have given up any expectation of privacy. And that means the Fourth Amendment protections of the U.S. Constitution against unreasonable search and seizure no longer apply and the government no longer needs a warrant.  [...]

The Senate on Tuesday voted to confirm Mike Liburdi of Scottsdale to serve as a U.S. District Court judge for Arizona.

Both Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., voted to confirm Liburdi, a conservative attorney who worked as Gov. Doug Ducey's general counsel during the governor's first term.

The Senate vote was 53 to 37.

In a written statement, McSally said Liburdi is "highly respected in Arizona by people across the political spectrum."

"I have known him for several years and I am confident he will uphold the Constitution in his new role — just as he always has — and serve the people of Arizona well as our state's next district judge," McSally said.

Sinema said in a written statement that she evaluates every nominee "based on whether he or she is professionally qualified, believes in the role of an independent judiciary, and can be trusted to faithfully interpret and uphold the rule of law."

"After knowing him for many years, meeting with him, and carefully considering his nomination, I believe Mike Liburdi meets those high standards," Sinema said.

[...] Liburdi will fill one of three vacancies in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona classified as a "judicial emergency."

[...] Liburdi was the first in a group of 19 Trump judicial nominees to be confirmed by the Senate this week, Tobias said.

Senate Republicans will be working hard to push through the remaining nominees to confirmation before the August recess.

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WASHINGTON – Tonight, Inimai Chettiar, Legislative and Policy Director of the Justice Action Network, the country’s largest advocacy organization supporting criminal justice reform, issued the following statement on tonight’s Democratic presidential debate:

“Tonight’s debate finally addressed an issue that unites voters—right, left, and everyone in between—criminal justice reform. It’s a good sign that candidates are competing for the best plan, and providing details on their vision for a fairer, more effective justice system.”

Chettiar continued: “There was tension in this debate around the flawed records of several candidates, but that only serves to strengthen our hope that the eventual nominee will be bold and aggressive in turning away from the failed ‘lock em up’ policies of the 1990s. It is no secret the ‘94 Crime Bill was a contributor to our broken criminal justice system, and it is up to every individual who seeks to be president to reverse the effects of this devastating law. By focusing on sentencing reform, eliminating cash bail, and second chance policies like ban the box, the candidates showed they understand these issues, and are prepared to push for transformational change. Families and communities have been waiting far too long for real solutions that address racial injustice and end mass incarceration. We look forward to candidates using their platforms to demand passage of legislation that corrects draconian laws that have devastated American families and done little to advance real justice.”

This past June, the Entertainment Software Association sponsored and participated in the sixteenth annual Games for Change Festival in New York City. The gathering featured developers, creators, researchers, technologists, educators, policy makers, non-profits, and more. Together, participants and speakers explored how to leverage video games for social good.

While at the festival, we had the opportunity to sit in on panels, speak with attendees, interview speakers, and more.

“Playing is fundamentally valuable. It helps us experiment, it helps us escape, it helps us think more critically about problems that we may not have thought of before,” explained Lindsay Grace. Grace, the Knight Chair in Interactive Media at University of Miami and VP of the Higher Education Video Game Alliance, later won the Games for Change Festival’s 2019 Vanguard Award.

In addition, during an exclusive fireside chat, the ESA’s very own Stanley-Pierre Louis sat down with Ubisoft Canada CEO Yannis Mallat to discuss issues like diversity and education in the video game industry. Pierre-Louis also presented the Game of the Year award, which was given to Nintendo for their Nintendo Labo release.

[...] “I think right now it’s a fascinating moment to be at the intersection of what it means to use games to do something that makes peoples’ lives better,” said Matt Dalio, Founder and Chairman of Endless.

Video games moved beyond their roots as pure entertainment vehicles long ago. In every space, creative thinkers are discovering groundbreaking applications for video games in education, healthcare, philanthropy, and beyond.

Weren’t able to attend? Make sure to check out our festival highlights video (above).

Tribal Nation of the Year: The Tohono O’odham Nation was named Tribal Nation of the Year by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and received $10,000 to support its health initiatives. The Tohono O’odham Nation’s executive branch was selected for promoting employee wellness by offering access to daily incentivized health and fitness activities that incorporate tribal traditions to improve well-being, resulting in increased employee productivity and attendance and a reduced cost of employee health insurance. [...]

Most online sales in Arizona will be subject to state sales taxes after the Legislature and governor approved a plan to require online retailers who do more than $200,000 in sales in Arizona to collect the tax.

That threshold will go down in subsequent years. This comes after a ruling last year from the U.S. Supreme Court, in a case known as South Dakota v. Wayfair, which essentially said states could require online retailers to collect sales taxes, even if they don’t have a physical presence in that state. The Arizona Retailers Association was among those pushing for this change.

Michelle Ahlmer is the group’s executive director, and The Show spoke with her about what this all means.

The Arizona Board of Regents approved a spending plan for fiscal year 2020 that includes $15 million to expand the Arizona Teachers Academy and increased scholarship funding for Maricopa County Community College students.

The Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR), which oversees the state’s public university system, is working to transform the educational experience for future teachers by providing incentives for talented graduates to work in the classroom, according to a press release from MCCCD.

The new budget also allocates funds among established programs at the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD), Pima Community College and the state universities.

“On behalf of the Maricopa Community Colleges, I thank the Arizona Board of Regents for distributing funds equitably,” said Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick, MCCCD chancellor. “The budget will provide our community with tremendous social and economic benefits, strengthening our economy and future workforce.”

[...] Since its inception in 2017, the Arizona Teachers Academy (ATA) has seen enrollment of prospective teachers more than double, “affirming the interest of students and demand from public schools that are embracing the program by providing employment opportunities during the student-teaching experience and upon graduation,” according to the MCCCD.

The approved distribution of funds by ABOR will provide tuition waiver scholarships for MCCCD students and prohibits participating institutions from charging students the difference between the cost of tuition and fees and the amount of gift aid received.

[...] Students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree may need as little as 12 to 24 months to receive certification, and in some cases they can teach in public or charter schools simultaneously.

“It is a reflection of the ATA’s success that Gov. Ducey’s 2020 budget expanded permanent funding for the Academy,” MCCCD said. “This is just the beginning. As the Academy grows, so does its roadmap for other states looking to address teacher shortages.”

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