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Arizona House approves laser-pointing prosecution bill

PHOENIX -- The Arizona House has given final approval to a bill that would allow county attorneys to prosecute people charged with pointing a laser at aircraft.

The bill sponsored by Tucson Republican Rep. Ethan Orr would originally have made pointing a laser at aircraft a class 5 felony, but an amendment adopted by the Senate lowers that to a misdemeanor.

Pointing a laser at aircraft is already a federal offense. But Orr says federal prosecutors rarely go after offenders and that he wants to give local prosecutors ``more teeth.''

The Federal Aviation Administration reported nearly 4,000 incidents of lasers being pointed at aircraft in 2013, a more than 40 percent increase since 2010.

The House approved House Bill 2164 with a 46-7 vote Wednesday. The bill now goes to the governor.

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