State Legislature

Legislative Session Session PowerPoint

Here’s a Summary of the 2019 Legislative Session (PPT) and the Summary of the Legislative Session as a (PDF). It's been updated a bit since last week as the Governor signed the medical marijuana bill this week (which will require testing of medical marijuana, gives the ADHS additional dispensary enforcement authority, allows MM data to be used for research purposes, and makes the MM cards good for 2 years (effectively reducing the card fees by half).

What Can You Do this Summer RE Public Health Advocacy?

Send your elected officials a short note thanking them for their service.  The last few days were long and stressful for all.  

  • Invite them to tour your facilities over the interim.  

  • "Like" your elected officials on social media and follow them.  

  • Attend any events they are holding over the summer.  

  • Monthly send them a short note with interesting information about their district and those they serve (who you also serve!)

  • Use this time during the interim to build relationships with your home and work district elected officials so they know who are when session starts January 13, 2020.

This spreadsheet has legislator contact information and committee assignments.  Targeting legislators who serve on committees of interest to us is a good strategy to start with.  This spreadsheet has our member facilities by legislative and congressional district.  

Legislative Session Wrap Up

Another legislative session is in the books.  All in all - a solid legislative session with some pretty significant public health policy gains.  The main areas where progress was made were in access to care, maternal and child health, assurance and licensure and injury prevention. 

There were several bills that didn't progress which would have been a public health benefit and several really good ideas which never even got a hearing- so there were missed opportunities- but overall a solid B+ session I'd say.

We had lots of help with our advocacy efforts this year. Annissa Biggane and Timothy Giblin worked hard each and every week tracking bills, doing triage, ferreting out schedules, and writing risk/benefit analyses.

Eddie Sissions carried a lot of water as usual. She has great insight and a keen ability to figure out the nuances of session and figuring out "how the water flows". Also a big help were our cadre of folks that called in to our bi weekly calls and strategy sessions.

The real key to our advocacy success is you - our membership.  The relationships you make with our elected officials and your focused advocacy efforts are super important to our success at influencing public policy.   Thank you all and well done this year!

I put together a Powerpoint summary of the 2019 legislative session to help y'all digest what happened this year.  I've got links on the pages that'll drive you to the actual bills. Take a look.  BTW- if you open the link with an Apple product like an iPad- the PowerPoint will look weird and unprofessional- so open it on a laptop and in PowerPoint.

Legislative Budget Negotiations Underway & Several Public Health Initiatives in the Mix

All signs are that the Legislature is focusing on building a budget for next fiscal year.  The Republican leadership in the House and Senate met with representatives from the Governor’s Office over the weekend to come up with a budget proposal.  Here’s a link to the proposed budget worksheet.

It’s still unclear whether they have a plan that'll pass. Several issues stand in the way - including a dispute about the statute of limitations for sexual assault victims and other specific priorities that some lawmakers are linking to their support of a budget.  Committee hearings on the spending plan won’t occur until Wednesday at the earliest (if they happen this week at all).

Some of our priorities are included in the weekend proposal (e.g. KidsCare funding & an appropriation for federal funds for child care subsidies), but several other priorities aren’t included (increases in the AZ primary care and loan repayment program and for additional primary care residencies).  Also not included is preventative dental services for pregnant Medicaid members.

Now would be a really good time for you to use any relationships you have with legislators to let them know that you support the encouraging portions of the initial proposal (e.g. KidsCare) but you believe more needs to be done to support access to care in rural and underserved areas by investing in the state’s loan repayment program and through increased residency opportunities (GME), as well as preventative dental care for pregnant Medicaid members.

Here’s the subset of the budget proposal related to public health and human services:

Medicaid

  • Fully funds KidsCare and eliminates the risk of an enrollment freeze by paying the increased state match requirements that are coming up (FY20 = $1.6M, FY21 = $9.4M, FY22 = $9.4M) 

  • Makes last year’s one-time $13M increase for providers that serve persons with developmental disabilities (because of the Prop 206 minimum wage increase) ongoing.  The proposal also includes a $6.7M cap rate increase for the current year for those providers.  Proposes an additional $13M in provider funding for the upcoming fiscal year.

  • Provides new Prop 206 (minimum wage increase) funding for Elderly Long-Term Care (for persons with developmental disabilities) of $4.8M

Child Care Subsidies

  • Appropriates $56M Childcare Block Grant funding (this is entirely federal funding- but the feds still require a state appropriation to draw down the funds)

Arizona State Hospital

  • Provides $2.8M in pay raises for AZ State Hospital staff 

  • Provides $300K for AZ State Hospital for a temporary staffing contract increase

Miscellaneous Health Items

  • Increases Alzheimer's funding by $2M ($1M base)

  • Proposes $1M for rural prenatal equipment

  • Proposes $700K for Colorado City primary care clinic

  • Proposes $1.5M for Benson and Northern Cochise critical access hospitals

  • Continues $3M annual appropriation for TGEN for 3 years

  • Provides $10M to the Housing Trust Fund for programs related to homelessness

  • Provides an additional $15M for an Arizona Department of Education school safety grant program for School Resource Officers, behavioral health counselors and social workers

  • Provides $1.6M for Veteran's Suicide Prevention (includes $450K for trauma training)  

This part of the legislative session is very fluid and things can move quickly or completely stall out at any time.  

Now would be a really good time for you to use any relationships you have with legislators to let them know that you support the encouraging portions of the initial proposal (e.g. KidsCare) but you believe more needs to be done to support access to care in rural and underserved areas by investing in the state’s loan repayment program and through increased residency opportunities (GME), as well as preventative dental care for pregnant Medicaid members.

To find your Senator and Representative go to: https://www.azleg.gov/findmylegislator/

Legislative Update

Not a ton news since last week. I'm beginning to sound like a broken record.

On the e-cigarette and smoking front, the good bill (HB 2357) remains in limbo- as it's passed the full Senate and got through it's Conference Committee- but wasn't called to the floor of the House for a vote again this week.

The competing- not so good bill- SB 1147 passed on a voice vote through the Committee of the Whole in the House- but didn't make it to a floor vote this week. 

Other than that, legislators are mostly focused on the budget negotiations.  There are a few items we'll need to ask you to press for in the next couple of weeks with the legislators in your district including:

1) preventative and comprehensive oral health services for pregnant Medicaid members;

2) increased investment in funding for the state loan repayment program and health profession residencies (especially for primary care); and

3) funding Kids Care.

In addition, there's an important $65M appropriation of federal funds that needs to be made to provide additional subsidies for child care services for folks that qualify- along with a needed increase in reimbursement rates. No state dollars are needed- simply an appropriation of the federal funds that have been allocated to AZ.

Legislative Update

Not a ton news since last week. The main thing that happened this week is that the Governor signed a good bill on suicide prevention (more info below). He also signed a bill that will make Association Health Plans more available in AZ. Info on that below too.  Last week’s  Legislative Update covers things pretty well so far.

Other than that, we're moving full force into the budget negotiations process now. By all accounts it looks to be a more deliberative process than in years past because of the tight party affiliation margins and the disconnect between the executive budget priorities and those of the legislature. It's likely that we'll have at least a few more weeks before a final budget is complete- and it might even go into June this year. 

SB 1468 Suicide Prevention Training

It will require school districts, charter schools, and Arizona teacher training programs to include suicide awareness and prevention training in their continuing education curricula.  It’ll require AHCCCS to make suicide awareness and prevention training available (fortunately some evidence- based tools curricula already exist).

Starting in the 2020 school year, school districts and charter schools would need to provide training in suicide awareness and prevention to school personnel in grades 6 to 12.  The bill also establishes requirements for suicide awareness and prevention training and specifically says that the training use evidenced-based training materials and instruct participants on how to identify the warning signs of suicidal behavior in adolescents and teens.

SB 1085 Association Health Plans (AzPHA Opposed)

This bill was passed by the House this week and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.  He’s sure to sign it. It basically provides a regulatory structure at the state level to regulate AHPs in AZ - serving to make them more available in Arizona. A primary concern for folks interested in public health and consumer protection is that AHPs don’t need to cover the essential health benefits, they can charge differently depending on gender and age. 

Additionally, we’re concerned that if an employer offers a “skinny” benefit plan that barely meets the definition of minimum value (and doesn’t include important essential health benefits) families could be prevented from benefitting from the subsidies that would otherwise be available to them on the Marketplace.

Back in August (at the direction of the President) the US Department of Labor issued a final rule that established criteria for determining when employers can join in an association and be treated as an employer sponsor of a group health plan.  The federal regulation loosens the rules for additional plans to come onto the market, allowing more small businesses including individuals who work for themselves to join these plans.  This bill will make these plans more available in AZ.

Legislative Update: May 6, 2019

Legislative Update

We're moving full force into the budget negotiations process now. By all accounts it looks to be a more deliberative process than in years past because of the tight party affiliation margins and the disconnect between the executive budget priorities and those of the legislature. It's likely that we'll have at least a few more weeks before a final budget is complete- and it might even go into June this year. 

Public Health Bills Signed by the Governor

SB 1165 now HB 2318 Hands Free Cell Requirement 

This bill was a long time coming- but were on the precipice of having this good public policy finally happen- all that's left is for the Gov to sign it. It will prohibit using a hand-held cell phone while driving.  There are some common-sense exemptions for example if the person is using it hands free etc.  It'll change driving behaviors and save lives.

Violations are a civil money penalty (no driving points) with the first offense being between $75- $150 and the 2nd offense between $150 and $250.  The bill would provide a state overlay so the cell phone use laws would no longer be different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Warnings for a year and a half - and then the penalties kick in.

 

SB 1247 Residential Care Institutions

This good bill will require more robust staffing background checks for facilities that provide services for children and will remove the “deemed status” designation for child residential behavioral health facilities. 

Under the old law law, facilities in this category (e.g. Southwest Key) can be accredited by a third party (e.g. Council on Accreditation) and avoid annual surprise inspections by the ADHS.  This intervention will provide more oversight to ensure background checks are done and that the facilities are compliant with state regulations. 

SB 1211 Intermediate Care Facilities

Like SB 1247, this bill closes a licensing loophole. This good bill will require more robust staffing background checks for facilities that provide services to people with disabilities at intermediate care facilities. 

These facilities would also require a license to operate from the Arizona Department of Health Services beginning on January 1, 2020.  Under current law these facilities (Hacienda de los Angeles and similar facilities run by the ADES are exempt from state licensing requirements).

 

SB 1040 Maternal Mortality Report

This bill was signed by the Governor this week.  The new law will establish an Advisory Committee on Maternal Fatalities and Morbidity.

It requires ADHS and the Committee to hold a public hearing to receive public input regarding the recommended improvements to information collection concerning the incidence and causes of maternal fatalities and severe maternal morbidity and complete a report (including recommendations) by the end of this year.

SB 1089 Telemedicine

This week the Governor signed this bill will improve healthcare access and help lower costs. With this legislation, any healthcare service covered in-person by a commercial insurer will also be covered when provided through telemedicine. Currently, Arizona law limits telemedicine coverage to a handful of medical services.

HB 2488 Veteran Suicide Annual Report (Lawrence)

Requires ADHS (starting this year) to complete an annual report on veteran suicides in Arizona that includes the number and rate of veterans who died by suicide, trends, an analysis of the years of potential life lost, a comparison of Arizona's resident veteran suicide rate to those of the nation, and the relative risk of suicide by race or ethnicity, age group, gender and region. 

The report is also supposed to analyze patterns of drugs, or combinations of drugs, that were used by Arizona's resident veterans when drug poisoning was the mechanism of suicide. The idea is to create the surveillance and data linkages needed to inform suicide prevention strategies based upon medical risk factors that significantly correlate to suicide.

SB 1109 Short Term Limited Health Plans- extension – AzPHA Position: Opposed

This bill has passed both chambers and has been signed by the Governor.  It authorizes the sale of short- term limited health plans in Arizona for terms up to 3 years.  The previous limit was 1 year.  These plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions and have limited consumer protection because they aren’t required to cover the essential health services under the ACA and can drop enrollees.  We urged a not vote because of the poor consumer protections.


On the Governor’s Desk for Signature

 SB 1468 Suicide Prevention Training

This good bill is awaiting the Governor’s signature.  It will require school districts, charter schools, and Arizona teacher training programs to include suicide awareness and prevention training in their continuing education curricula.  It’ll require AHCCCS to make suicide awareness and prevention training available (fortunately some evidence- based tools curricula already exist).

Starting in the 2020 school year, school districts and charter schools would need to provide training in suicide awareness and prevention to school personnel in grades 6 to 12.  The bill also establishes requirements for suicide awareness and prevention training and specifically says that the training use evidenced-based training materials and instruct participants on how to identify the warning signs of suicidal behavior in adolescents and teens.

SB 1085 Association Health Plans (AzPHA Opposed)

This bill was passed by the House this week and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.  He’s sure to sign it. It basically provides a regulatory structure at the state level to regulate AHPs in AZ - serving to make them more available in Arizona. A primary concern for folks interested in public health and consumer protection is that AHPs don’t need to cover the essential health benefits, they can charge differently depending on gender and age. 

Additionally, we’re concerned that if an employer offers a “skinny” benefit plan that barely meets the definition of minimum value (and doesn’t include important essential health benefits) families could be prevented from benefitting from the subsidies that would otherwise be available to them on the Marketplace.

Back in August (at the direction of the President) the US Department of Labor issued a final rule that established criteria for determining when employers can join in an association and be treated as an employer sponsor of a group health plan.  The federal regulation loosens the rules for additional plans to come onto the market, allowing more small businesses including individuals who work for themselves to join these plans.  This bill will make these plans more available in AZ.

New Study Shows Positive Economic Impact from SB1354

It’s been clear from the start that SB 1354 - the most important access to care bills this year- would do a great deal both in the short-term by boosting the primary care loan repayment program and really enhance graduate medical education residencies over the coming years (important because where a practitioner does her or his residency greatly influences where they ultimately practice).  Arizona’s primary care physician shortage is one of the worst in the nation (meeting only 42% of the state’s needs).

The public health merit of a bill is often not enough to carry the day – especially when a financial appropriation is involved- because the return on investment matters too.  Fortunately, the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association and the Arizona Rural Health Association commissioned a study to measure how SB 1364 would affect the economy and patient access to care.

The result of the independent economic impact study found that the SB 1354 investments would have a “significant positive economic impact” to the state and expanded patient access to care over the next ten years.

The report found that the bill would enable hospitals across the state to increase the number of post-graduate physician residents they train and found that increasing the number of physician residents at three rural hospitals alone would result in 845 new high- paying jobs and $911 million in economic output over ten years.  Additionally, the bill lessens the issue of physicians leaving Arizona after graduation because they are unable to secure the limited amount of in-state residency positions.

Almost 75% of medical students who finish post-graduate training in Arizona stay in Arizona. This means state funding for physician residencies will move the needle on the state’s physician shortage and be a game-changer for rural communities.

The bill sailed through the Senate but stalled in the House - as the Rules Committee never heard the Bill (and that committee is no longer meeting).  But- portions of the bill or even the whole bill could be included in the final budget as what’s called a Budget Reconciliation Bill or BRB.

AzPHA Action Alert: Support Comprehensive Oral Health Coverage for Pregnant Medicaid Members

The State Legislature is transitioning to focusing on the State budget.  There are a few items we'll need to ask you to press for in the next couple of weeks with the legislators in your district including: 1) preventative and comprehensive oral health services for pregnant Medicaid members; 2) increased investment in funding for the state loan repayment program and health profession residencies (especially for primary care); and 3) for funding Kids Care. This week we'll focus on Oral Health.

Please take a few minutes and send an email (or make a call) to the Senator and Representatives for your Legislative District and to urge them to include funding for preventative oral health coverage for pregnant Medicaid members in the State budget.

To make it easy, we've built a template message for you to send to your Senator and Representatives below. 

You'll need three messages in total because each Legislative District has one Senator and two Representatives.  To find your Senator and Representative go to:  https://www.azleg.gov/findmylegislator/

_________________________________

Here's a draft message for you to send (it helps if you personalize it a bit):

Dear Senator _______ (or Dear Representative _______),

I'm urging you consider adding a dental benefit for pregnant mothers within Arizona's AHCCCS program as you consider funding priorities for the State budget in the next few weeks. 

Adding this important benefit makes both solid public health and economic sense, and there's good evidence.

A new systematic overview of published studies has found a clear relationship between periodontal disease and pre-term birth and low birth weight.

About 7.2% of AZ live births were low birthweight - or about 5,760 of the 80,000 births every year in AZ.  The newly published suggests that periodontal disease is contributing to 1,036 low birthweight weight babies each year in AZ including 520 pre-term babies per year in our state's Medicaid program.

Nationally, the average health care cost for a low birth weight baby during the first year of life is $55,393 compared to $5,085 for a non-low birth weight baby...  meaning that periodontal disease costs the state in the neighborhood of $29M in the first year from low birth weight births that are attributable to periodontal disease compared with only $2.6M for a similar number of non pre-term births.

The small investment for this new benefit (only $178,000 in State funds and $458,000 from the Federal Medicaid authority) will result in healthier mothers and healthier babies while saving the state money.

Legislation supporting this benefit (SB1088) passed the Senate with a wide margin and both the House Health and the House Appropriations Committees have given SB1088 strong bi-partisan support.

This new benefit is strongly supported by the Arizona Public Health Association, the Oral Health Coalition and a large number of affiliated groups including the March of Dimes, the Arizona Dental and Arizona Dental Hygienists Associations, the Alliance of Community Health Centers, the College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Arizona Health Plans Association.

We urge you to put funding for this new program on your list of priorities for the State budget this coming year.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Your name & Legislative District

School Suicide Prevention Training in Final Stretch at the Legislature

As the article above mentions- interventions to stem the tide of childhood suicides is multi-factoral and will require a variety of interventions. One such promising intervention that’s on the cusp of approval here is Arizona is SB 1468 which would require some suicide prevention training among some Arizona teachers and school staff.

The Bill (which passed the Senate 28-2 and awaits final approval in the House) would requires school districts, charter schools, and Arizona teacher training programs to include suicide awareness and prevention training in their continuing education curricula.  The bill would require AHCCCS to make suicide awareness and prevention training available (fortunately some evidence- based tools curricula already exist).

Starting in the 2020 school year, school districts and charter schools would need to provide training in suicide awareness and prevention to school personnel in grades 6 to 12.  The bill also establishes requirements for suicide awareness and prevention training and specifically says that the training has to use evidenced-based training materials and instruct participants on how to identify the warning signs of suicidal behavior in adolescents and teens.

Note: Another suicide prevention bill (HB 2488) which requires the ADHS to annually compile a veteran suicide surveillance and prevention report was signed this week (see below in our Legislative Update). 

More Bad about AZ's Immunization Rates

School Vaccination Rates Drop Again this School Year

At the core – vaccines are really about community protection.  Our public health system depends on a solid network of providers that are available to vaccinate kids for all the nasty infectious diseases that have plagued humanity for millenia.  Vaccinating yourself and your kids is more about community protection than personal protection. It’s a social contract that we have with each other to keep all of us healthy.

We need just about everybody to participate in our shared social contract to vaccinate in order to get the herd immunity.  When communities have herd immunity, those who can’t be vaccinated and folks with weakened immune systems will still be protected because the viruses can’t circulate.  Measles needs a 95% community vaccination rate to achieve herd immunity.

As a means to maintaining herd immunity, Arizona law (ARS-872 & ARS-873) requires that all children attending school or child care have certain vaccines unless they're exempted by a doctor for medical reasons or by a parent for personal reasons.  

Each year, schools (6th grade, kindergarten, and child care/preschool) are supposed to turn in data about the vaccine exemptions in their school to the ADHS.  

There's bad news again in this year's report- continuing a multi-year trend toward higher exemption rates (worse vaccination rates). For the current school year:

  • 6th grade exemption rates went from 5.4% last year to 6.1% this year

  • Kindergarten exemption rates went from 5.4% to 5.9% 

  • Child care exemption rates increased from 4.3% percent to 4.5%

This year's results can be found on the ADHS' Immunization Coverage Level page.  You can check out individual school exemption rates on the Arizona School Vaccine Exemption Spreadsheet.

There are some pretty discouraging results in this year's results. For example, only 27% of Yavapai County schools (12/44) have herd immunity among 6th graders. Coconino County is only at 33% on the same measure (6/18). As in previous years, charter schools tend to have higher exemption rates than public schools. Lots of data to dive into in the spreadsheet. 

Arizona School Vaccine Exemption Spreadsheet

Sadly, several bills that would have improved rates weren't even heard in committee this year like HB 2162 which would have removed the personal exemption and HB 2352 which would have required schools to post on their school's immunization rates.

However, several bills were heard that would have eroded immunization rates even further including SB 1115, HB 2471, HB  2472, SB 1116, and HB 2470.  Fortunately those bills appear to be dead for this year- but may very well return.

Legislative Update 

House Rules Committee Moves off the Dime 

To be honest, it was another pretty slow week at the Capitol. But, there was some needed action in the House Rules Committee- and some good things happened there (the House Rules committee passed 55 Senate bills this week but 55 are still in backstock). 

The Bills that we're interested in that were heard in House Rules all passed this week (see last week's blog), so there will be some action on those this week in Caucus and Committee of the Whole and maybe some floor votes (3rd Read) too. 

Conference Committee Deadline Approaching

This week will be an important one - especially for bills in which there's a difference between the House and Senate versions.  That's because Friday (4/19) is the last day for conference committee assignments (bills that have been amended in the opposite house need to return to their house of origin for another vote...  if there isn't agreement on the amendments a conference committee needs to meet to hammer out a solution).

State Budget

Not much action above the water on the state budget. The state is expected to have a $1B surplus this year and there's differences of opinion about how much to put in the rainy day fund and of course what other priorities rise to the top of each legislator's list. 

Our top budget priorities are getting the needed state match for Kids Care (more on that below), an appropriation to cover a new oral health benefit for pregnant Medicaid members (SB 1088), and an increase in the state loan repayment program and residency funds to improve access to care in rural and underserved areas (SB 1354).

Here's this week's Legislative Tracking Spreadsheet courtesy of our public health policy interns Tim Giblin & Annissa Biggane.

Your Task Assignment This Week

KidsCare is an important access to care program that gives lower-income families an opportunity to pay an affordable premium and receive Medicaid-like health insurance for their kids.  Right now KidsCare is providing coverage for about 35,000 children in working families. 

To keep KidsCare open, the state legislature needs to include $1.6M appropriation in this year's budget to cover the state's portion of this important federal program. 

Simply Click Here to ask your senator and representatives and urge them to insist on a final budget that protects KidsCare. The address you use will automatically send the email to your elected. Please edit the template language a little and personalize it- that works better.

Since the freeze was lifted in 2016, KidsCare has provided 114 children with cancer treatments, almost 8,000 children with behavioral health services, over 5,000 children services for autism, and helped nearly 3,500 children with asthma. 

Legislative Update

The only committees that met last week were Rules and Appropriations. The other standing committees (e.g. Health and Human Services) have finished their work. The House Appropriations was particularly dramatic with several strike-everything bills and tensions running high- but nothing really tied to the public health bills we’re interested in. 

We have a whole bunch of bills that need to make it through the Rules Committees (especially the House Rules Committee) before they can go to the floor (the Rules Committee's job is to basically make sure the bill is constitutional). 

Lots of the bills that we care about will be heard this week in the Rules Committee Monday at 1:30pm (here's the agenda). I put an asterisk by the bills below that will be heard Monday. If they all pass- they could move quickly to floor votes (3rd read) this week. Here's this week's spreadsheet summary of the bills.

Bills that have been amended in the opposite house will need to return to their house of origin for another vote.  If there isn't agreement on the amendments, there may need to be conference committees set up to hammer out a solution.

In other news, we were delighted to see that the Senate Health and Human Services Committee this week unanimously recommended that Jami Snyder’s confirmation by the full Senate to be the new AHCCCS Director.  Her nomination will now go to the Senate floor for confirmation.

Steve Pierce was appointed to fill Representative Stringer's seat in District 1 late in the week- which is why there was no floor action in the House this week. 

Bills that still need Floor Votes (3rd Read)

* Means bill will be heard in the Rules Committee Monday (1:30pm).

* SB 1040 Maternal Mortality Report (Brophy-McGee) – AzPHA Position: YES

Passed the Senate 30-0. Bill Passed the House Health Committee 9-0. Rules Committee this week. 

* SB 1085 Association Health Plans- 

Passed the Senate 24-6.  Passed the House Health and Human Services Committee 6-2-1. Rules Committee this week. 

SB 1088 Dental Care During Pregnancy (Carter) – AzPHA Position: YES

Passed the Senate 27-3.  Passed the House Health & Human Services Committee 8-1.  Passed House Appropriations 7-4. Rules Committee Next. Will still need to get into the final budget.

* SB 1089 Telemedicine Insurance Coverage (Carter) – AzPHA Position: Yes

Passed Senate 30-0. Passed the House Health & Human Services Committee 9-0.  Rules Committee this week. 

* SB 1165 Texting and Driving Prohibition (Brophy McGee) – AzPHA Position: YES

Passed Senate 20-10. Passed the House Transportation Committee 5-1-1.  Rules Committee this week. 

SB 1174 Tribal Area Health Education Center – AzPHA Position: Yes

Passed Senate 30-0. Passed the Senate Education Committee 13-0. Rules Committee Next.

* SB 1211 Intermediate Care Facilities (Carter) AzPHA Position: Yes

Passed the Senate 30-0. Passed the House Health & Human Services Committee 9-0. Rules Committee this week. 

* SB 1247 Residential Care Institutions (Brophy McGee) AzPHA Position: Yes

Passed the Senate 30-0.  Bill passed the House Health Committee 9-0. Rules Committee this week. 

SB 1245 Vital Records- Death Certificates (Brophy McGee) AzPHA Position: Yes

Passed the Senate 30-0.  Passed through all House Committees- ready for a Floor Vote.

SB 1354 Graduate Medical Information & Student Loan Repayment (Carter) AzPHA Position: Yes

Passed Senate 28-2.  Passed House Appropriations Committee 10-1, Withdrawn at the HHS Committee, but can still move forward if it can pass the Rules Committee. This is the most important access to care bills this year- it would do a great deal both in the short-term by boosting the primary care loan repayment program and really enhancing graduate medical education residencies over the coming years (important because where a practitioner does her or his residency greatly influences where they ultimately practice).

HB 2125 Child Care Subsidies (Udall) – AzPHA Position: YES

Passed House 46-13.  Passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee 7-0-1. Rules Committee Next.

* HB 2488 Veteran Suicide Annual Report (Lawrence) AzPHA Position: Yes

Passed House 60-0. Passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee 7-0-1. Passed 29-0 in the Senate, sent back to House because it's different than the original bill.  

SB 1009 Electronic Cigarettes, Tobacco Sales (Carter) – AzPHA Position: YES

Passed the Senate 30-0. Assigned to the House Health and Human Services Committee but didn't get a hearing- not a good sign.

* SB 1355 Native American Dental Care – AzPHA Position: Yes

Passed Senate 25-5.  Passed the House Health & Human Services Committee 9-0. Rules Committee this week. 

SB 1456 Vision Screening- AzPHA Position: Yes

Passed Senate 29-0. Passed the House Health & Human Services Committee 9-0. Rules Committee Next.

* SB 1468 Suicide Prevention- Schools- AzPHA Position: Yes

Requires school districts, charter schools, and Arizona teacher training programs to include suicide awareness and prevention training and requires the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System Administration (AHCCCS) to make suicide awareness and prevention training available. Rules Committee this week. 

SB 1060 (Strike-all Amendment) Electronic Cigarettes. Smoke Free Arizona Act (Carter) – AzPHA Position: YES

Passed the Senate 28-0. Assigned to the House Health and Human Services Committee- but not heard.  Not a good sign. Probably dead.

 

Bills that Have Been Passed & Signed by the Governor

SB 1109 Short Term Limited Health Plans- extension – AzPHA Position: Opposed

This bill has passed both chambers and has been signed by the Governor.  It authorizes the sale of short- term limited health plans in Arizona for terms up to 3 years.  The previous limit was 1 year.  These plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions and have limited consumer protection because they aren’t required to cover the essential health services under the ACA and can drop enrollees.  We urged a not vote because of the poor consumer protections.

Legislative Update

This week will be a tricky one - especially in the House.  That's because Representative Stringer (R-Prescott) resigned last week (I'm sure you've heard about the details regarding why- so I'll spare you that).  His replacement hasn't been named yet by the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors. Until someone is named it'll probably slow things down in the house- because the party margin is now 30-29... meaning that for partisan votes there aren't 31 Republicans anymore (temporarily).

There's not much new since last week's legislative update except a new strike all bill (SB 1147) which makes changes to how cigarettes and e-cigarettes are regulated.  Here's the House's summary of the Bill.  It received a pass recommendation from the House Health and Human Services Committee (5-4).

If you read the summary you'll see that the bill is pretty complicated and involves a number of different laws- plus- there were a number of confusing amendments that were discussed in committee.

We'll pay a lot of attention to this bill in the coming week and make sure that our position is consistent with our previous resolutions on this important public health subject.

Lots of bills still need to go to the Rules Committee before being released to a floor vote.  Here's our weekly spreadsheet with the bill updates. 

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Remember- there's only a month to go until our Spring Summit:  From Ideas to Action: Addressing Arizona Children's Oral Health Disparities 

Thanks to a generous grant from the Arizona Oral Health Coalition & the Denta Quest Foundation, we are able to offer a special registration discount for AzPHA members of only $65

Register as a Member of AzPHA  …………………………………...….…….     $65

Non-Member Registration w/Free AzPHA Membership ………..  $140

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