AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: February 6, 2018

 

New Bills this Week

Before we get to the committee agendas for this week- here are a few new bills that were proposed.

SB 1261 Texting while driving

This bill was introduced last week and would prohibit drivers from “using a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while driving” (unless the car is stopped).  The first violation would be a petty offense with a fine between $25 and $99.  It’s being heard at 2 pm today (Tuesday) in the Senate Transportation and Technology Committee.

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

This Bill was introduced last week and would set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist.  Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position.  We haven't taken a position at this time.  It’s on the agenda in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee this Wednesday. 

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

This Bill would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.). This one is being heard in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee Wednesday at 2 pm.

HB 2348 Vehicle emission standards

Existing AZ law requires Arizona vehicle emission standards to be consistent with federal law. This Bill would require ADEQ to adopt the California clean air emission standards beginning on January 1, 2018.  It would just apply to the sales of new cars.

HB 2512 Water program amendments

This Bill would provide a pathway for counties to exempt themselves from existing water use and extraction requirements.  It could post water supply issues in some parts of the state in coming years.

 

Committee Hearings this Week

This is a busy time of year in the Legislature.  Committees are in full swing and agendas are full. Below is a summary of the committee hearings… I’ve pasted a quick summary of the Bills that are being heard this week.  After that is a listing of the other bills that haven’t been heard in their committees yet.

Remember to stay engaged and voice your opinion via the www.azleg.gov commenting system.

 

Monday

House Military, Veterans, and Regulatory Affairs Committee

HB 2222 Feminine hygiene products, requirements

This Bill would require the Arizona Department of Corrections to offer female inmates an unlimited supply of feminine hygiene products free of charge. We signed up in support.  This Bill received a Do Pass recommendation in the Military, Veterans, and Regulatory Affairs Committee yesterday (5-4).

 

Tuesday 

Senate Transportation Committee @ 2 pm, HHR 1

SB 1261 Texting while driving

This bill was introduced last week and would prohibit drivers from “using a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while driving” (unless the car is stopped).  The first violation would be a petty offense with a fine between $25 and $99.  We signed up in support.

 

House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources @ 2pm

HB 2512 Water program amendments

This Bill would provide a pathway for counties to exempt themselves from existing water use and extraction requirements.  

HB 2348 Vehicle emission standards

Existing AZ law requires Arizona vehicle emission standards to be consistent with federal law.  This Bill would require ADEQ to adopt the California clean air emission standards beginning on January 1, 2018.  It would just apply to the sale of new cars.

 

Wednesday 

Senate Government, Wednesday @ 2 pm, SHR 109

SB 1250 Food Producers, Ordinances

This Bill would make it clear that cities, towns and counties can’t restrict food producers including community gardens from producing food products with some exceptions and inspection authority. We've signed up in support.

 

Senate Health and Human Services, @ 2pm

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

This Bill was introduced last week and would set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist.  Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position on this Bill.  We haven't taken a position at this time.  

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

This Bill would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.).

 

House Judiciary & Public Safety @ 2 pm HHR 4

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

Under this proposed Bill, law enforcement agencies would be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.  We’re signed up in support of this one.

 

Public Health Bills that Progressed Last Week

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

This Bill is a top priority for us. It would charge the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers.  The Department rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements. We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week.

This would be a very good week to reach out to your State Representatives and Senator and let them know you support this measure as it will go to a Floor vote soon.  You can find their contact information at www.azleg.gov.

HB 2109 Tobacco possession; sale; age; signage                

This Bill would prohibit furnishing a tobacco product to a person who is under 21 years of age. The definition of "tobacco product" is expanded to include "electronic smoking devices". We’ve signed up in support. It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week.

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

Under this proposal, tanning facility operators would be prohibited from allowing a person under 18 years of age to use a "tanning device". Tanning facilities are prohibited from advertising or distributing promotional materials that claim that using a tanning device is free from risk or will result in medical or health benefits. We’ve signed on in support of this. It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week.

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement

This Bill would prohibit cities and other jurisdictions from having photo enforcement of red light and speeding violations.  While nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail, the data suggest that photo enforcement saves lives and prevents injuries (especially red-light photo enforcement).  We’ve signed up in opposition to the bill.  It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Judiciary and Public Safety Committee last week.

SB 1420 medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

This Bill would require the ADHS to set up testing standards for medical marijuana and begin enforcing the standards beginning in 2019.  We’re supporting this legislation.  It received a Do Pass recommendation from the Senate Government Committee last week.

 

Bills Waiting in the Wings

House Bills

HB 2064 Medical marijuana; packaging; labeling              

This Bill proposes that medical marijuana dispensaries be prohibited from selling a marijuana product that’s packaged or labeled in a manner that’s "attractive to minors". Due to voter protection, this legislation requires the affirmative vote of at least 3/4 of the members of each house of the Legislature for passage.  We’re supporting this bill. It’s being Held right now by the Commerce Committee.

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

This Bill would require kids under 2 years old to be in a rear-facing restraint system unless the child weights at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  It cleared the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee last Wednesday.

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

This Bill removes the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share.  

We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep KidsCare if the federal government drops its contribution level.  This one cleared the House Health Committee a couple of weeks ago.

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

This Bill would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential. No news on this one.

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability

This Bill would direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver requests to CMS asking permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members.  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, however, this would place the exemption into statute.

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

Under this Bill, organizations in Arizona can establish and operate a needle exchange program.  Persons, employees and volunteers operating within the scope of the law may not be charged or prosecuted for their activities. It’s currently a felony to distribute needles to illegal drug users.

We’ve signed up in support of this bill because this type of program is evidence-based and reduces the spread of bloodborne diseases as well as engaging in intravenous drug users into treatment. No hearings scheduled yet.

HB 2443  Medical services purchase, premiums

The Bill would essentially allow Arizonans that don’t normally qualify for Medicaid to buy Medicaid health insurance.  It would ask AHCCCS to write the rules and regulations for the program including setting a premium that ensures people buying in would pay full freight.  If approved, it would allow people to buy in beginning on October 1, 2019.  

The bill is also contingent on CMS approval.  Here’s a link to a really good document that discusses the merits of a Medicaid buy-in system.  It has not yet been assigned to a committee.

 

Senate Bills

SB 1007  Motorcycle operation; riding between lanes          

Under this proposal, motorcycle operators would no longer be prohibited from passing in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken and from operating a motorcycle between the lanes of traffic if they’re wearing a helmet.  We decided to take a position against this one in our Public Health Policy Committee last week. No action this week.

SB 1022    DHS; homemade food products            

Under this Bill, ADHS would be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years. This is a sensible addition to the current cottage industry food law and we’ve signed up in support.  This bill as passed through both of it’s assigned committees over the last couple of weeks.

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods

Under this Bill, district and charter schools would be required to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day for kids in grades K-5.  We’ve signed in support of this bill.  It got a Do Pass recommendation from the Education Committee a couple of weeks ago and both Caucuses support it- a good sign.

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

This Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop the infrastructure for a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  We’ve signed up in support of this Bill.  It hasn’t been scheduled for a committee hearing yet.

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

This is a priority Bill for AzPHA.  It would provide oral health coverage for pregnant women who receive their health insurance coverage through AHCCCS.  The benefit would be limited to $1000 and could be used for other than emergency dental procedures (beginning October 1, 2017 all adult Medicaid members became eligible for up to $1000 in emergency dental services per year).  Lots of good public health reasons to support this one.

 

Federal Budget Drama Update

The House Appropriations Committee released the next Continuing Appropriations Act (H.J. Res 128) designed to update current continuing resolution that expires Thursday.  The proposed CR extends funding for the federal government through Mar. 23. Here’s what’s in it:

  • Community Health Centers: Provides $3.6 billion in FY18 and FY19.
  • National Health Service Corps: Provides $310 million in FY18 and FY19.
  • Family to Family Information Centers: Provides $6 million for FY18 and FY19.
  • Census: Provides $51 million to prepare for the 2020 census.
  • Medicaid Disproportionate Share: Eliminates the Medicaid DSH reductions scheduled for FY18 and FY19. The DSH reduction of $4 billion for FY20 remains and adds a total of $6 billion in additional DSH reductions to offset the cost of eliminating the FY18 and FY19 reductions.
  • Sexual Risk Avoidance Program (formerly Abstinence Education program): Provides $75 million in FY18 and FY19.
  • Personal Responsibility Education Program: Provides $75 million in FY18 and FY19.

The House is expected to vote tonight.  After that, the Senate will probably modify the bill and send it back to the House. All this needs to be done before midnight on Friday to avert another federal government shutdown.