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Most Phoenix airport baggage scales not inspected for years

PHOENIX — Some state lawmakers are calling for enhanced oversight after an audit showed most baggage scales at metro Phoenix’s largest airport weren’t inspected for years.

According to the Arizona Republic, state inspectors neglected to check the accuracy of most of luggage scales at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for five years and didn’t check any at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport over the same span.

When the scales were finally checked for accuracy, the inspectors reportedly found problems with a quarter of them at Sky Harbor.

The problems were uncovered by an audit of the Arizona Department of Agriculture, which was merged with the Department of Weights and Measures in 2016 and took over the oversight of the airport baggage scales.

The Republic said the state auditor general also discovered that the department didn’t inspect any scales used at medical marijuana dispensaries even after it received consumer complaints.

In addition, the state licensed pest control companies without getting the necessary criminal background check reports.

Mark Killian, director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture, said the agency will inspect all airport scales by mid-2021 and obtain background checks for pest control providers.

The scales at airports are used to weigh baggage and postage and airlines may charge customers extra for bags above a certain weight.

Only about a third of the scales at Arizona’s nine commercial airports were tested from 2015-2019 and no inspections occurred at several airports including Mesa Gateway, the Republic said.

According to the auditor general, the inspections the department did conduct during that time period found inaccurate scales, underscoring the need for a systematic approach to testing the equipment.

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