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Capitol Roundup – February 19, 2021

Capitol Roundup – February 19, 2021

Who Lives, Who Dies,
​​​​​​​Who Tells Your Story

​At the Statehouse…

Rivalry, suspicion, jealousy, and backstabbing (and the occasional duel), as every true Hamilton fan knows, are the building blocks of politics. One could claim all – minus the dueling though not the temptation – were on display at the capitol this week. Meaning, of course, our democracy is in perfect health.​​​​​​
But wait! The week’s Hamilton connections don’t end there. Did you know that during this week in 1801 – February 17, to be exact – Thomas Jefferson was declared President of the United States by the US House of Representatives after the very first, but certainly not last, Electoral College controversy in the nation’s history? And that his opponent in the contest was Aaron Burr? And that Alexander Hamilton played no small role in ensuring Jefferson’s victory, earning him the wrath of Burr and eventually leading to the duel between then-Vice President Burr and Hamilton that took Hamilton’s life? (Burr was not prosecuted. Everything is legal in New Jersey.)

A final week-relevant tidbit: On February 19, 1807, Aaron Burr was arrested and charged with treasonously inciting secession of America’s western territories. He was acquitted but spent much of the rest of his life dealing with debts and legal issues. We leave it to you to draw parallels.

Living to tell your story, or dying – one or the other was the fate of the session’s bill this week. Some of the expired may be resurrected in weeks to come, such is the magical power of legislators. Others have lived their brief life. Still others – the fortunate few – soon will make their trek to the other chamber for a brand new journey through the hearing process.

Spoiler Alert

The Arizona Senate was effectively the room where it happened in recent days. And elections lay at the heart of it. Having gained a reputation as the national leader in proposed voting restriction bills, the competing priorities of GOP senators gave rise to heated intraparty exchanges in the Government Committee. Committee chair Michelle Ugenti-Rita’s (R-23) SB 1069 would remove approximately 200,000 voters from the Permanent Early Voting List for failure to cast a ballot in two consecutive primary and general election cycles. Vice Chair Kelly Townsend (R-16) upped the ante by pushing multiple bills that would, among other things, outlaw submission of early ballots through the mail, establish legislative authority to do a complete hand count of all ballots cast, establish a voter fraud unit in the Auditor General’s office, and require that all elections equipment be manufactured in the US. The Chair wanted none of that action. Not throwing away her shot, she used her position – and her “no” vote – to push her bill through while quashing the Vice Chair’s measures. The tension, as they say, was palpable.

Ugenti-Rita’s efforts came to naught, however, as Sen. Paul Boyer (R-20) played spoiler for a second week in a row. Joining with 14 Democrats, Boyer helped defeat Ugenti-Rita’s PEVL bill on the Senate floor and allay the fears of voting rights advocates statewide.

Who Invited Him to the Party?

Maverick status comes with a price, though. And a certain amount of irony. In the wake of his vote against SB 1069, just a day after it passed Boyer’s education voucher expansion bill – a measure opposed by educators and their allies but strongly favored by conservatives – and with memories of his Feb. 8 vote against holding Maricopa County Supervisors in contempt over election issues still fresh in their minds, Senate Republicans requested the voucher bill be returned from the House for reconsideration.

Boyer cried foul, alleging his colleagues were seeking revenge for his opposition to the PEVL bill. Townsend, her own efforts done in by Ugenti-Rita’s opposing vote, quickly came to Boyer’s defense, but the fate of the bill now lies squarely in limbo.

On the Decline

COVID-19 cases numbers are on a general downward trend in Arizona, across the US, and around the world. That’s good news – and reason for optimism. It appears to indicate factors both within and without human control – behaviors, weather, and vaccine administration – are aligning. Even Arizona’s tribal communities, one of which endured the highest infection rate in the nation, are on pace to exceed vaccination goals in the weeks ahead.

But there are (choose your favorite metaphor): bumps in the road ahead / clouds on the horizon / mountains still to climb. For one thing, the case numbers across the US are still staggeringly high; in Arizona alone, more than 804,000 people have tested positive and the number of deaths surpassed 15,400 this week. And with new and potentially more transmissible variants emerging in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, and California, scientists have to stay alert to the possibility of dramatic mutations that could diminish the effectiveness of existing vaccines.

Then there’s Mother Nature. For all the progress in combating the spread of the virus and getting vaccines in the arms of Arizonans, this week’s massive winter storms across the South and Midwest threw a snowbank in the path of vaccine deliveries to the state. Several counties were forced to cancel upcoming vaccination appointments for lack of supply and the delays raised fears among other counties that the coming week’s appointment schedules could be affected.

Means to Make Ends Meet

Arizona’s Unemployment Insurance payment rate is (in)famously low – the second-lowest in the US, in fact. That may be changing. Rep. David Cook’s (R-8) HB 2805, which would raise maximum weekly benefits from $240 to $300, passed through the House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee on Monday without any dissenting votes. The bill will also significantly increase how much recipients can earn from work before having UI benefits reduced. The state’s unemployment compensation has not been increased since 2004 and the bipartisan support shown to date has proponents – in particular residents relying upon the system during the pandemic – encouraged.

Conversely, even some of the state’s more-than-full-time professionals may feel like they’re competing for worst-in-class status: Arizona ranks dead last in the nation for average teacher wages, according to a recent study by HireAHelper.

What Will You Do With All That Free Time?

As a reminder the week ahead is “Crossover Week”, with bills passed out of their chamber of origin being transmitted to the other chamber for consideration. Only Rules and Appropriations committees will meet this week but floor debates and votes will take place. Senate floor activity can be viewed here; House activity can be viewed here.

Priority Bills

  • H2023 (SCHOOLS; EMPLOYEES; EMPLOYMENT; DISCIPLINE) – Dept of Education required to investigate written complaints alleging that a “noncertificated person” has engaged in immoral or unprofessional conduct. State Board of Education authorized to review complaint to determine whether to take disciplinary action against noncertificated person who has engaged in immoral or unprofessional conduct, including prohibiting person’s employment at school district or charter school for up to five years. School districts and charter schools required to conduct search of educator information system maintained by Dept on prospective employee and prohibited from employing in position that requires valid fingerprint clearance card either certificated person whose certificate has been suspended, surrendered or revoked and not reinstated, or noncertificated person prohibited from employment at a school district or charter school by Board under this legislation. Passed House 58-0 01/28/21. Substituted for identical bill S1061, passed Senate 29-0. Signed by Governor 02/05/21.
  • H2046 (DISABILITY LICENSE PLATES; MINORS) – Dept of Transportation required to issue special disability license plates to person who is parent or legal guardian of minor with permanent physical disabilities. Person issued special disability license plate on behalf of minor under this requirement may only use designated and marked parking space when transporting minor with permanent physical disabilities. Passed House 59-0 01/28/21. Ready for Senate.
  • H2113 (CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION; DEDUCTION; INFLATION ADJUSTMENT) – For tax years beginning with 2022, Dept of Revenue required to adjust percentage of taxpayer’s charitable deductions that are allowed in addition to standard deduction for personal income taxes according to average annual change in metropolitan Phoenix Consumer Price Index published by US Dept of Labor, except that adjusted percentage cannot exceed 100 percent. Revised percentage must be raised to nearest whole percent and cannot be revised below amounts prescribed in the prior taxable year. Passed House 44-15 02/02/21. Referred to Senate Finance.
  • H2141 (APPROPRIATIONS; ALTERNATIVE PROSECUTION; DIVERSION PROGRAM) – Appropriates $11,264,625 from general fund in each of FY2021-22, FY2022-23, and FY2023-24 to Arizona Criminal Justice Commission for alternative prosecution and diversion programs. Specifies amounts to be allocated each fiscal year to each county attorney’s office. Monies may be used only to establish and operate alternative prosecution and diversion programs, and to explore, develop, apply and evaluate evidence-based best practices for alternative prosecution and diversion programs. Passed House Judiciary 02/03/21. Passed House Appropriations, as amended, 02/10/21.
  • H2155 (EARLY CHILDHOOD MENTAL HEALTH; APPROPRIATIONS) – Establishes Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and Referral Pilot Program to support social and emotional well-being of children who are not yet in kindergarten and to prevent, identify and reduce challenging behaviors. Dept of Economic Security required to award contract on competitive basis to service provider that demonstrates ability to implement Program. Appropriates $2 million from general fund in each of FY2021-22 through FY2025-26 to DES for Program. The Program self-repeals July 1, 2026. Passed House Health & Human Services 02/08/21.
  • H2186 (PROSECUTION; DEFERRED; DIVERTED) – County attorney no longer prohibited from diverting or deferring the prosecution of a person who has been previously convicted of a serious offense, a sexual offense, a dangerous offense, or a dangerous crime against children, or who has been convicted three or more times of either personal possession of a controlled substance or personal possession of drug paraphernalia. Passed House 52-7 02/11/21. Referred to Senate Judiciary.
  • H2290 (HEALTH CARE INSTITUTIONS; ACCREDITATION; INSPECTIONS) – Dept of Health Services authorized to accept accreditation report in lieu of compliance inspection for any health care institution, instead of only behavioral health residential facility providing services to children, only if institution is accredited by independent, nonprofit accrediting organization approved by Secretary of the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, and institution has not been subject to enforcement action within year preceding annual licensing fee anniversary date. Passed House Health & Human Services 01/25/21.
  • H2291 (AHCCCS; PREGNANT WOMEN; DENTAL CARE) – List of covered services under AHCCCS is expanded to include comprehensive dental care during a pregnancy for women at least 21 years of age and in any stage of pregnancy. Appropriates $468,000 from general fund in FY2021-22 to AHCCCS Administration for dental services to pregnant women. Appropriates $3.63 million from the general fund in FY2021-22 to AHCCCS Administration to cover costs incurred due to eligibility changes directly related to the introduction of a dental benefit for pregnant women. Held on House Health & Human Services 01/25/21.
  • H2298 (MEDICAL MARIJUANA; RESEARCH; GRANTS) – Arizona Biomedical Research Center in Dept of Health Services required to provide competitive grants from monies in Medical Marijuana Fund for marijuana research studies, including clinical testing for safety and efficacy of using marijuana and researching public health implications of medical marijuana use in Arizona and impacts of marijuana interactions with prescription drugs. Center authorized to provide up to $5 million annually for five consecutive years from Fund to administer and award competitive grants. Legislation requires affirmative vote of at least 3/4 of members of each house of Legislature for passage. Passed House Health & Human Services 01/25/21.
  • H2299 (DHS; LONG-TERM FACILITY SURVEYORS) – Makes supplemental appropriation of $1 million and 13 FTE from the general fund in FY2021-22 to Dept of Health Services to hire additional long-term care facility surveyors. Passed House, as amended, 40-18 02/08/21. Referred to Senate Appropriations.
  • H2300 (GROUP HOMES; MONITORING; APPROPRIATION) – Establishes 3-year Developmental Disabilities Group Home Monitoring Pilot Program in Dept of Economic Security, which requires designated entity to monitor and inspect in person all group homes once each year and take other specified regulatory actions. DES required to develop process to determine which of its clients are at higher risk of abuse or neglect. Appropriates $1.2 million from general fund in FY2020-21 to DES for Pilot Program. Passed House Health & Human Services 02/15/21.
  • H2334 (DANGEROUS; INCOMPETENT PERSON; EVALUATION; COMMITMENT) – Establishes new chapter in Title 36 (Public Health and Safety) governing procedures for dangerous and incompetent persons who are committed. Requires biannual examination of such persons, and requires court to hold hearing on examination report that indicates person is no longer dangerous or incompetent. Committed incompetent allowed to petition court for conditional release or discharge under certain circumstances; requirements for hearings and determinations on petition are established. Establishes requirements for detention and commitment and for revocation of conditional release. Committed incompetent cannot be transported from licensed facility except for specified reasons. Also makes various changes to statutes relating to determining whether defendant is dangerous or incompetent. Retroactive to January 1, 2021. Passed House Judiciary 02/03/21.
  • H2409 (ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES; AUDIT; APPROPRIATION) – Auditor General required to engage independent consultant with expertise in adult protective services operations and investigations to examine current adult protective services and consider best practices to improve delivery of services in Arizona. Consultant required to submit report of its findings and recommendations to Governor and Legislature by July 1, 2022. Appropriates $300,000 from the general fund in FY2021-22 to Auditor General for this purpose. Passed House Health & Human Services 02/08/21. Passed House Appropriations 02/10/21.
  • H2428 (VICTIMS’ PRIVACY; CRIMINAL CASE INFORMATION) – A victim’s identifying and locating information obtained, compiled or reported by law enforcement agency or prosecution agency must be redacted from records pertaining to criminal case involving victim, including discovery disclosed to defendant’s attorney or any of attorney’s staff. Passed House Criminal Justice Reform 01/28/21.
  • H2454 (TELEHEALTH; HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS; REQUIREMENTS) – Modifies requirements for health and disability insurers to cover telehealth services, and applies these requirements to policies issued, delivered or renewed on or after January 1, 2021. Insurers required to reimburse health care providers at same level of payment for equivalent services whether provided through telehealth or in-person care. Definition of “telehealth” expanded to include use of audio-only telephone encounter between insured and health care provider if specified conditions are met. Medical examinations for workers’ compensation insurance may be conducted via telehealth with consent of both employee and requesting party. Health care provider regulatory board or agency prohibited from enforcing any statute, rule or policy that would require health care provider licensed by that board or agency and authorized to write prescriptions to require in-person examination of patient before issuing a prescription, except as specifically prescribed by federal law. Health care providers required to make good faith effort to use best practices in determining whether health care service should be provided through telehealth instead of in person. Health care providers licensed in another state authorized to provide telehealth services to person in Arizona if provider complies with list of requirements, including maintaining liability insurance and following community of care standards. Establishes 22-member Telehealth Advisory Committee on Telehealth Best Practices to review standards for telehealth best practices and relevant peer-reviewed literature. Emergency clause. Passed House 37-22 02/11/21. Referred to Senate Finance.
  • H2521 (LONG-TERM CARE; HEALTH AIDES) – Subject to approval by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Director of AHCCCS Administration required to implement program under which licensed health aide services may be provided to Arizona Long-Term Care System (ALTCS) members under 21 years of age. Licensed health aide services may be provided only by parent, guardian or family member who is licensed health aide employed by Medicare-certified home health agency service provider. Person who wishes to practice as licensed health aide required to apply to Board of Nursing and pay application fee of $50. Establishes qualifications for licensure as health aide, including completion of training program approved by Board and competency examination. Passed House 52-7 02/11/21. Referred to Senate Health and Human Services.
  • H2531 (AHCCCS; ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION) – Subject to approval by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, AHCCCS Administration required to use average of six months of income to determine person’s eligibility for AHCCCS benefits. Held in House Health & Human Services 02/15/21.
  • H2533 (STATEWIDE ADA COORDINATOR; APPROPRIATION) – Governor’s Office of Equal Opportunity required to hire full-time statewide Americans with disabilities coordinator to implement annual plan to carry out requirements of Americans with Disabilities Act in Arizona. Appropriates $100,000 and 1 FTE position from general fund in FY2021-22 to Office for coordinator. Passed House Health & Human Services 02/08/21. Passed House Appropriations 02/10/21.
  • H2535 (MANDATORY REPORTING; VULNERABLE ADULTS; PENALTIES) – List of persons with duty to report reasonable belief that vulnerable adult has been victim of abuse, neglect or exploitation is expanded to include any “health professional” who has responsibility for care of vulnerable adult. If failure to report involves sexual offense, criminal classification is class 6 (lowest) felony, instead of class 1 (highest) misdemeanor. Emergency clause. Referred to House Health & Human Services and House Judiciary. Passed House Judiciary 02/17/21.
  • H2538 (SUPPORTED DECISION-MAKING; SUPPORTER OBLIGATIONS) – Adds new article to Title 14 (Trusts, Estates and Protective Proceedings) regulating “supported decision-making agreements,” defined as agreement between adult with “disability” (defined as physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities) and “supporter” (defined) to enable adult to make life decisions without impeding adult’s self-determination. Adult is authorized to voluntarily enter into supported decision-making agreement to authorize supporter to provide supported decision-making, assist adult with accessing relevant information and understanding that information, and assist adult in communicating adult’s decisions to appropriate persons. Supported decision-making agreement is required to set forth rights and obligations of both adult and supporter. If supporter intimidates or deceives adult in procuring supported decision-making agreement, supporter is subject to criminal prosecution and civil penalties. Supporter prohibited from receiving compensation as result of supporter’s duties under supported decision-making agreement. An “interested person” (defined) authorized to file verified petition with superior court to determine validity of supported decision-making agreement. Supported decision-making agreement required to be signed by adult and supporter in presence of two or more subscribing witnesses or notary public. Supported decision-making agreement terminates if at any time adult becomes “incapacitated person” or on appointment of guardian. Establishes standard form for supported decision-making agreements and requires supported decision-making agreements to be in substantially that form. Supported decision-making agreement is added to definition of “governing instrument” for purpose of Title 14. Effective January 1, 2022. Passed House Judiciary 02/17/21.
  • H2540 (DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES; SPINA BIFIDA) – Definition of “developmental disability” is expanded to include severe, chronic disability that is attributable to “spina bifida” (defined). Passed House Health & Human Services 02/08/21.
  • H2565 (AREA AGENCIES ON AGING; APPROPRIATION) – Appropriates $2.5 million from general fund in FY2021-22 to Dept of Economic Security to distribute to area agencies on aging for home and community-based services. Legislature intends that this appropriation be considered ongoing funding in future years. Passed House Health & Human Services 02/08/21. Passed House Appropriations 02/10/21.
  • H2585 (OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS; FINGERPRINT CLEARANCES CARDS) – Beginning January 1, 2022, applicant for licensure by Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners is required to possess valid fingerprint clearance card, instead of being required to submit full set of fingerprints for criminal records check. Effective January 1, 2022. Passed House 60-0 02/11/21. Referred to Senate Health and Human Services.
  • H2725 (STATE DOCUMENTS; SEX IDENTIFICATION) – A document issued by any agency, board, commission or department of the state of Arizona may only indicate an individual’s sex as either male or female. Passed House Government & Elections 02/10/21.
  • H2792 (EARLY BALLOTS; REQUEST REQUIRED) – Except for a voter who is on permanent early voting list or for an all mail-ballot election, a county recorder, municipality clerk or other election officer is prohibited from delivering or mailing early ballot to person who has not requested early ballot for that election. An election officer who violates this prohibition is guilty of class 5 (second lowest) felony. Passed House Government & Elections, as amended, 02/17/21.
  • H2811 (SAME DAY REGISTRATION; PROHIBITION) – An agency, department or division of Arizona or any person acting on its behalf, and any political subdivision or any person acting on its behalf prohibited from registering person to vote on election day and deeming that person eligible to vote in that election. Any person who violates this section is guilty of class 6 (lowest) felony. Passed House Government & Elections 02/17/21.
  • HCR2016 (INITIATIVES; SUPERMAJORITY VOTE REQUIREMENT) – The 2022 general election ballot to carry question of whether to amend state Constitution to require approval by 60 percent of votes cast on measure for an initiative or referendum measure to become law, instead of majority of votes cast. . Passed House Government & Elections 02/17/21.
  • S1003 (EARLY VOTING; SIGNATURE REQUIRED; NOTICE) – If signature is missing from early ballot envelope, county recorder or other officer in charge of elections required to make reasonable efforts to contact voter, advise voter of missing signature and allow voter to add signature no later than 7:00 PM on election day. Information that must be printed in instructions to early voters must include statement that ballot will not be counted without voter’s signature on envelope. Session law states that Legislature intends these are clarifying changes only and do not provide for any substantive change in the law. Passed Senate Government 02/02/21.
  • S1007 (PARENTAL RIGHTS; TERMINATION; SEXUAL ASSAULT) – At any time, parent of child who was conceived as result of “sexual assault” (defined) committed against that parent by child’s other parent may file petition to terminate parental rights of parent who committed sexual assault. Court authorized to grant petition to terminate parental rights if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that child was conceived as result of such sexual assault. It is presumed that termination of parental rights under these circumstances is in best interest of child. If parent who is subject of the petition pleads guilty to or is convicted of sexual assault, court must accept guilty plea or conviction as conclusive proof that child was conceived as result of sexual assault by that parent. Passed Senate Judiciary, as amended (strike everything), 02/18/21.
  • S1028 (ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT; SPECIAL EDUCATION) – State Board of Education required to adopt rules that allow student to participate in alternative testing instead of required statewide testing if student is enrolled in special education program and meets criteria specified by Board. Establishes 13-member Alternative Assessment Study Committee to discuss alternative assessments and related issues. Passed Senate Education as amended 01/20/21. Passed Senate 28-1 01/28/21. Ready for House.
  • S1029 (PSYCHIATRIC SECURITY REVIEW BOARD; HEARINGS) – Numerous changes to statutes relating to Psychiatric Security Review Board. Modifies process for examining defendant pleading guilty except insane. After plea of guilty or after disposition of matter where defendant has pled guilty except insane, court is required to order reports sealed, and may order that reports be opened only for list of specified purposes. Modifies actions that the Board may take after hearing requested by person who is placed under Board jurisdiction. Establishes requirements for person who is conditionally released by Board, including that supervised treatment plan must be in place. All hearings conducted by Board are subject to Uniform Administrative Hearing Procedures Act. Procedures for requesting hearing before Board are repealed and replaced. Board is independent state agency. One former judge is added to Board as chairperson and nonvoting member, except if necessary to break tie vote. Compensation for Board members changed. Board required to employ Executive Director to perform all administrative, operational and financial functions for Board. Beginning January 1, 2022, Board members required to complete 12 hours of training within one year after initial appointment to Board. Board is authorized to set hearing to monitor person’s progress on its own motion. Establishes process for treatment supervisor to request hearing by Board. Board is required to hold hearing for each person under Board jurisdiction at least once every 24 months. Establishes procedures for and conditions under which Board may order a person’s return to secure mental health facility. Establishes process for Board to transfer jurisdiction of person from Board to superior court. Before any hearing before Board, either party permitted to retain independent qualified expert to evaluate person and make recommendations to Board. Appropriates unspecified amount (blank in original) from general fund in FY2021-22 to Board for operating costs. Passed Senate Judiciary, as amended, 02/15/21.
  • S1030 (GUILTY EXCEPT INSANE; COURT JURISDICTION) – Repeals Psychiatric Security Review Board. Beginning from and after effective date of this act, superior court has exclusive supervisory jurisdiction over all persons under supervision of Board on the effective date of this legislation. Superior court vested with powers and duties of Board as they existed before effective date of legislation. Various sections of statute repealed and replaced or transferred to different section of statute. Impossible to determine new provisions without a line by line comparison. Effective July 1, 2022. Passed Senate Judiciary 02/11/21.
  • S1058 (SCHOOLS; LEARNING MATERIALS; ACTIVITIES) – By July 1 of each year, each school district and charter school required to prominently list on publicly accessible portion of website “learning materials” and “activities” (both defined) that were used for student instruction at school during prior school year, organized by subject area and grade, and any procedures in effect for review or approval of learning materials and activities. Information that must be included in list is specified. Passed Senate Education, as amended, 01/26/21.
  • S1059 (MENTAL DISORDERS; CONSIDERATIONS; INVOLUNTARY TREATMENT) – For purpose of statutes relating to mental health services, including court-ordered evaluation and treatment, definition of “mental disorder” modified to remove language distinguishing mental disorder from conditions that are primarily those of drug abuse, alcoholism, or intellectual disability and from character and personality disorders. Person who has substance use disorder without any co-occurring mental disorder cannot be considered for involuntary treatment. Person who initially presents with impairments consistent with both mental disorder and substance use disorder eligible for screening and evaluation, and may be eligible for involuntary treatment if, after considering person’s history, appropriate examination and reasonable period of detoxification, impairments of mental disorder persist or recur. Person who has intellectual disability or character or personality disorder cannot be considered for involuntary treatment unless person also has mental disorder that would benefit from treatment. Passed Senate 29-0 02/11/21. Ready for House.
  • S1061 (SCHOOLS; EMPLOYEES; EMPLOYMENT; DISCIPLINE) – Dept of Education required to investigate written complaints alleging that a “noncertificated person” has engaged in immoral or unprofessional conduct. State Board of Education authorized to review complaint to determine whether to take disciplinary action against noncertificated person who has engaged in immoral or unprofessional conduct, including prohibiting person’s employment at school district or charter school for up to five years. School districts and charter schools required to conduct search of educator information system maintained by Dept on prospective employee and prohibited from employing in position that requires valid fingerprint clearance card either certificated person whose certificate has been suspended, surrendered or revoked and not reinstated, or noncertificated person prohibited from employment at a school district or charter school by Board under this legislation. Passed Senate Education 01/13/21. Identical bill H2023 substituted. Passed House 58-0 01/28/21. Signed by Governor 02/05/21.
  • S1069 (PERMANENT EARLY VOTING LIST; ELIGIBILITY) – If voter fails to vote an early ballot in both primary election and general election for two consecutive primary and general elections for which there was federal, statewide or legislative race on ballot, county recorder is required to remove voter from the permanent early voting list and voter will no longer be sent early ballot by mail automatically. By December 1 of each even-numbered year, county recorder or other officer in charge of elections is required to send notice to each voter removed under this provision informing voter that if voter wishes to remain on permanent early voting list, voter must confirm in writing, sign notice, and return completed notice within 30 days after notice is sent. Passed Senate Government as amended 01/25/21.
  • S1085 (NURSING-SUPPORTED GROUP HOMES; LICENSURE) – By July 1, 2022, “nursing supported group home” operated in Arizona by service provider under contract with Dept of Economic Security required to be licensed as health care institution. Effective July 1, 2022, nursing supported group homes added to various statutes regulating group homes. Nursing supported group home not required to comply with zoning standards for health care institution prescribed by Dept of Health Services. Passed Senate Health and Human Services 01/20/21. Passed Senate 28-1 01/28/21. Ready for House.
  • S1092 (DEAF; HARD OF HEARING; DEAFBLIND) – Duties of Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing expanded to include issues and services relating to needs of “deafblind” (defined), and to include making recommendations to Legislature on assessment standards that optimize language acquisition and literacy development of deaf and hard of hearing newborns, infants and children. Passed Senate Health and Human Services 01/28/21. Passed Senate 29-0 02/04/21. Ready for House.
  • S1093 (DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES; SPINA BIFIDA) – Definition of “developmental disability” is expanded to include severe, chronic disability that is attributable to “spina bifida”. Passed Senate 29-0 02/04/21. Ready for House.
  • S1097 (PUPILS; EXCUSED ABSENCES; MENTAL HEALTH) – Arizona Dept of Education required to identify absence due to mental or behavioral health of pupil as excused absence. ADE authorized to adopt guidelines and rules for determining what constitutes absence due to mental or behavioral health of pupil. Passed Senate 29-0 01/28/21. Ready for House.
  • S1114 (SCHOOLS; REQUIRED POSTING; ABUSE HOTLINE) – School district schools and charter schools required to post in clearly visible location in public area of school that is readily accessible to students a sign that contains telephone number of centralized intake hotline concerning suspected abuse and neglect of children, instructions to call 911 for emergencies, and directions for accessing website of Dept of Child Safety for more information. Passed Senate Education 02/16/21.
  • S1126 (APPROPRIATION; BEHAVIORAL RISK FACTOR SURVEY) – Appropriates $160,000 from general fund in FY2021-22 to Dept of Health Services to fund Arizona-specific behavioral risk factor surveillance survey on cognitive decline and caregiver modules. Passed Senate Appropriations 01/20/21. Passed Senate 28-1 01/28/21. Ready for House.
  • S1135 (INCOME TAX SUBTRACTION; 529 CONTRIBUTIONS) – Subtraction from Arizona gross income for purposes of individual income taxes for contributions to college savings plans established under section 529 of federal Internal Revenue Code modified to allow taxpayers to subtract up to $2,000 per beneficiary, instead of $2,000 total, for single individual or head of household, and to subtract up to $4,000 per beneficiary, instead of $4,000 total, for married couple filing jointly. Retroactive to tax years beginning with 2021. Passed Senate 18-12 02/16/21. Ready for House.
  • S1141 (HEALTH CARE INSTITUTIONS; ACCREDITATION; INSPECTIONS) – Dept of Health Services authorized to accept accreditation report in lieu of compliance inspection for any health care institution, instead of only behavioral health residential facility providing services to children, only if institution is accredited by independent, nonprofit accrediting organization approved by Secretary of the US Dept of Health and Human Services, and institution has not been subject to enforcement action within year preceding annual licensing fee anniversary date. Passed Senate Health and Human Services 01/20/21. Passed Senate 29-0 01/28/21. Ready for House. Substituted in House for identical bill 2290. Passed House 59-0. Signed by Governor 02/12/21.
  • S1142 (SMI; EMPLOYMENT; INCOME TAX CREDITS) – For tax years 2022 through 2024, establishes individual and corporate income tax credit for taxpayer who employs 100 employees or fewer and who employs at least one Arizona resident who is “seriously mentally ill” (defined elsewhere in statute). Amount of credit is $2 for each hour worked by eligible employee during calendar year, capped at $20,000 per taxpayer. If allowable amount of credit exceeds taxes due, unused amount may be carried forward for up to five consecutive taxable years. Credit is subject to aggregate cap of $5 million for any calendar year. Passed Senate Finance 02/10/21.
  • S1189 (SPECIAL EDUCATION; GROUP B WEIGHTS) – Monies in Extraordinary Special Education Needs Fund are continuously appropriated, instead of subject to legislative appropriation. Arizona Dept of Education authorized to retain up to two percent of monies in Fund for administration purposes. ADE required to award monies from Fund to school districts and charter schools with eligible claims demonstrating that student receiving special education services has incurred costs in current year of at least statewide per pupil funding average multiplied by three. ADE required to evaluate claim requests on quarterly basis, and process for prioritizing funding if there are insufficient monies in Fund is specified. Certain special education related group B support level weights are increased. Appropriates $5 million from general fund in FY2021-22 to Fund. Referred to Senate Education and Senate Appropriations. Passed Senate Education 01/27/21.
  • S1221 (VULNERABLE ADULTS; JURISDICTION; GRAND JURIES) – Any violation of Title 13 (Criminal Code) or Title 46 (Welfare) where victim is a “vulnerable adult” is added to list of offenses or violations of law that state grand jury’s authority to investigate and return indictments for is limited to. Passed Senate Judiciary 01/28/21. Passed Senate 29-0 02//4/21. Ready for House.
  • S1256 (VICTIMS’ PRIVACY; CRIMINAL CASE INFORMATION) – A victim’s identifying and locating information obtained, compiled or reported by law enforcement agency or prosecution agency must be redacted from records pertaining to criminal case involving victim, including discovery disclosed to defendant’s attorney or any of attorney’s staff. Passed Senate 21-9 02/16/21. Ready for House.
  • S1292 (APPROPRIATION; DYSLEXIA AND LITERACY SERVICES) – Appropriates $2.5 million from general fund in FY2021-22 to Dept of Education for list of specified dyslexia and literacy services, including designating dyslexia specialist, implementing dyslexia screening plan, improving reading proficiency of pupils in kindergarten through 3rd grade, and distributing to school districts and charter schools to provide additional funding to support students with language-based learning struggles, including dyslexia. Passed Senate 22-8 02/17/21. Failed Senate on reconsideration 15-15 02/17/21.
  • S1319 (APPROPRIATION; AGENCIES ON AGING; OMBUDSMAN) – Appropriates $1 million from general fund in FY2021-22 to Dept of Economic Security to distribute to area agencies on aging for ombudsman services. Legislature intends that appropriation be considered ongoing funding in future years. Passed Senate Appropriations 02/16/21.
  • S1321 (APPROPRIATION; ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES) Makes supplemental appropriation of $3 million and 43 FTE positions from general fund in FY2021-22 to Dept of Economic Security for Adult Protective Services. Passed Senate 28-2 02/18/21. Ready for House.
  • S1355 (DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES; PROVIDER INCREASES) – Appropriates following amounts in the following fiscal years to Dept of Economic Security (DES) to provide reimbursement rate increases for services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities: $30 million from general fund and unspecified amount (blank in original) in Medicaid expenditure authority in FY2021-22, and unspecified amount (blank in original) from general fund and unspecified amount (blank in original) in Medicaid expenditure authority in FY2022-23 and FY2023-24. DES required to use FY2019-20 rate rebase study to provide reimbursement rate increases for all services provided to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in FY2021-22, FY2022-23, and FY2023-24 so that each service receives increase in each of three fiscal years. DES required to ensure all reimbursement rates for services provided to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are at 100 percent of benchmark rates by end of FY2023-24. DES is required to report to Joint Legislative Budget Committee by September 1 each fiscal year describing its plans to implement these provider rate increases. Contains a legislative intent section. Passed Senate Appropriations 02/16/21.
  • S1373 (HEALTH FACILITIES; DUTY OF CARE) – Licensed health care institutions that provide congregant or residential care and institution’s employees and agents have affirmative duty of care for their residents. These institutions are required to provide basic life support and first aid, in accordance with resident’s advance directives and do-not-resuscitate order, including initiating immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) before arrival of emergency medical services, to resident who experiences symptoms of cardiac arrest or cessation of respiration. Staff certified in CPR and first aid must be available at the health care institution at all times. These institutions prohibited from implementing policies that prevent employees from providing immediate CPR, first aid or emergency care to institution’s residents. Passed Senate Health and Human Services, as amended, 02/10/21.
  • S1374 (CRISIS STANDARDS OF CARE; REQUIREMENTS) – If Department of Health Services (DHS) adopts or establishes a crisis standards of care plan to address resource allocation when demand for certain health care services exceeds supply of necessary resources, a list of specified tenets and requirements apply to plan, including requiring individual assessments made on basis of best available objective medical evidence. A health care provider or health care institution staff member is prohibited from pressuring or coercing patient or patient’s health care decision maker to sign do-not-resuscitate order or make particular health care treatment decision. DHS required to modify any existing crisis standards of care plan within 60 days after effective date of this legislation to comply with these requirements. Emergency clause. Passed Senate Health and Human Services 02/10/21.
  • S1376 (SCHOOLS; CURRICULUM; MENTAL HEALTH) – State Board of Education must require that all health education instruction include mental health instruction. Mental health instruction may be included in health course or another existing course and is required to incorporate multiple dimensions of health by including mental health and relationship of physical and mental health to enhance student understanding, social and emotional learning, and attitudes and behavior that promote health and well-being. Passed Senate Education 02/02/21.
  • S1381 (DISABILITY-SELECTION ABORTION; PROHIBITED) – It is class 2 (second highest) felony to perform an abortion knowing that abortion is sought based on disability, sex or race of child or child’s parent, and to solicit or accept monies to finance disability-selection, sex-selection or race-selection abortion. Previously, it was class 3 (upper mid-level) felony to perform abortion knowing that abortion is sought based on sex or race of child or child’s parent, and to solicit or accept monies to finance sex-selection or race-selection abortion. Increases maximum civil penalty for physician, physician’s assistant, nurse, counselor or other medical or mental health professional who knowingly does not report known violations of this section to appropriate law enforcement authorities to $20,000, from $10,000. Passed Senate Judiciary 02/18/21.
  • S1389 (INCAPACITATED PERSON; SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR) – In domestic relations proceeding, if court finds reasonable cause to believe an adult party is or may be “incapacitated person” or “person in need of protection” (both defined elsewhere in statute) and that party is or may be in need of guardianship and/or conservatorship, court is authorized to appoint special investigator to conduct investigation concerning need for guardian and/or conservator. If deemed necessary, on request of special investigator or on court’s own motion court is authorized to order independent evaluation by licensed physician. A special investigator appointed by court and any evaluator designated by court may receive reasonable compensation for work performed, which must be paid for by person alleged to be incapacitated or in need of protection or paid from appropriate available marital community property fund or asset. Passed Senate Judiciary 02/18/21.
  • S1390 (GUARDIAN AD LITEM; PROTECTIVE PROCEEDING) – Court is authorized to appoint guardian ad litem for individual if court determines that individual’s best interest otherwise would not be represented or adequately protected. If conflict of interest does not exist, a guardian ad litem may be appointed to represent multiple individuals or interests. If not otherwise compensated, guardian ad litem is entitled to reasonable compensation from estate of ward or protected person. Passed Senate Judiciary, as amended, 02/18/21.
  • S1415 (GUARDIANSHIP PROCEEDINGS; SEALING OF RECORDS) – If petition for guardianship is withdrawn before adjudication of incapacity or is denied based on finding that allegation of incapacity is unproven, or if petition for guardianship was filed frivolously or without merit, court is permitted to order that file and records contained in file be sealed. A file that is sealed may only be unsealed pursuant to court order after showing of good cause. Passed Senate Judiciary 02/11/21.
  • S1417 (HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES; CONTACT ORDERS) – An agent who is appointed under health care directive is required to encourage and allow contact between principal and other persons who have significant relationship with principal, but is authorized to limit, restrict or prohibit contact between principal and any person if agent reasonably believes that contact will be detrimental to principal’s health, safety or welfare. A person who has significant relationship with principal may petition court for order compelling agent to allow person to have contact with principal. Establishes list of factors court must consider in determining what, if any, contact between person and principal is in principal’s best interest. Establishes requirements for modifying, suspending, or terminating contact order. Passed Senate Health and Human Services, as amended, 02/17/21.
  • S1456 (SEX EDUCATION INSTRUCTION; PARENTAL RIGHTS) – School districts and charter schools prohibited from providing sex education instruction before 5th grade. Prohibits charter schools, in addition to school districts, from providing sex education instruction to student unless student’s parent provides written permission. Written permission from a parent is also required for student to participate in instruction on AIDS and HIV. School districts and charter schools required to make any sex education curricula, including curricula related to instruction on AIDS and HIV, available for parent’s review, and to notify parents where curricula is available before parent provides written permission. Before school district or charter school offers sex education instruction, school district governing board or charter school governing body required to review and approve sex education course of study and ensure compliance with statute. Before approval, board must make any proposed sex education course of study available to public for review and comment. Public educational institutions required to obtain signed, written consent from student’s parent or guardian before providing sex education instruction or instruction regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to student. When public educational institution seeks consent, it must at same time inform student’s parent or guardian of parent or guardian’s right to review instructional materials and activities. By December 15, 2021, each school district and charter school that offers any sex education instruction required to review its course of study and revise to comply with legislation. Passed Senate Education 02/16/21.
  • S1466 (FAMILY CAREGIVER GRANT PROGRAM) – Family Caregiver Grant Program expanded to include individual’s qualifying expenses during a calendar year due to caring for and supporting qualifying family member in qualifying family member’s primary residence, in addition to in individual’s home. An individual who receives Program grant ineligible to apply for another Program grant after receiving $1,000 for each qualifying family member, instead of being ineligible for three consecutive calendar years after receiving a Program grant. Session law allows individual who received Program grant before effective date of this legislation to apply for additional grant monies if individual has not received grant monies totaling $1,000 for each qualifying family member. Passed Senate 30-0 02/18/21. Ready for House.
  • S1512 (VULNERABLE PERSONS; INSPECTIONS; NEGLECT) – Increases criminal classification for improper, abusive treatment or neglect of person with developmental disability to class 1 (highest) misdemeanor, from class 2 (mid-level) misdemeanor. Definition of “neglect” for this purpose expanded to include intentional failure to report client’s health problems or changes in client’s health condition to an immediate family member or client’s guardian, health care advocate or health care power of attorney within 24 hours, and intentional failure to attempt to restore client’s health to equilibrium as soon as reasonable. Dept of Health Services (DHS) required to visit each adult developmental home and child developmental home without prior notice at least two times each calendar year, instead of annually, and inspect the premises. During each visit, DHS required to communicate with each resident without presence of home’s staff. Office of State Long-term Care Ombudsman required to visit each long-term care facility in Arizona without prior notice at least two times each calendar year to speak with each resident without presence of the facility’s staff. Passed Senate Health and Human Services 02/18/21.
  • S1593 (EARLY VOTING; TIME LIMITS; ENVELOPE) – Early ballot distribution cannot begin more than 22 days, decreased from 27 days, before election, and early ballots must be mailed no later than 19th day, instead of 24th day, before election. Officer charged by law with duty of preparing ballots is required to provide second internal envelope that bears ballot affidavit and is designed to contain voted ballot and be placed inside ballot return envelope. If voter mails voted ballot and affidavit to county recorder or other officer in charge of elections, ballot is valid only if postmarked on or before Thursday before election day and received no later than 7PM on election day. Withdrawn from Senate Government; referred to Senate Appropriations. To be heard in Senate Appropriations Tuesday 02/23/21 9:00 AM, Senate Rm. 109. Watch here.
  • S1660 (CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN; DEPENDENCIES; OMNIBUS) – Numerous changes to statues relating to dependent children. For purpose of Criminal Code relating to sexual offenses, definition of “position of trust” expanded to include adult school employees, minor’s employer, employee of group home or residential treatment facility where minor resides, and more. On motion of prosecution, court may order that pro se defendant in prosecution for sexual abuse or child sex trafficking is prohibited from directly questioning minor victim if court determines direct questioning by pro se defendant would prevent minor victim from being able to reasonably communicate. Term “child sex trafficking” replaces term “prostitution” in various statutes. State Board of Education required to establish best practices for social media and cellular telephone use between students and school personnel, including teachers, coaches and counselors, and encourage school district governing boards and charter school governing bodies to adopt policies that implement these best practices. Dept of Education required to develop statewide training curriculum on child abuse mandatory reporting laws for public school personnel, and each public school must require its personnel to complete training. Passed Senate Judiciary, as amended, 02/18/21.
  • S1680 (NEWBORN SCREENING PROGRAM; TESTING) – Newborn screening program is required to include all congenital disorders included on recommended uniform screening panel adopted by Secretary of U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services for both core and secondary conditions. Beginning January 1, 2022, disorders added to core and secondary conditions list of recommended uniform screening panel must be added to Arizona’s newborn screening panel within two years after addition. Session law requires Dept of Health Services (DHS) to add spinal muscular atrophy and x-linked adrenoleukodystrophy to Arizona’s newborn screening panel by December 31, 2021 and add all remaining core and secondary conditions included on recommended uniform screening panel as of December 31, 2021 to Arizona’s newborn screening panel by December 31, 2023. Additionally, within 60 days after DHS adjusts fee for newborn screening program, each health insurer is required to update hospital rates that include newborn screening to reflect increase. Passed Senate Health and Human Services, as amended, 02/18/21.
  • SCR1001 (STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARATION; TERMINATION) – Legislature declares Declaration of Emergency issued by Governor on March 11, 2020, due to COVID-19 outbreak is terminated. Secretary of State is directed to transmit copy of resolution to Governor. Referred to Senate Government and Senate Appropriations. Passed Senate Appropriations 02/09/21.
On the Bright Side…

NASA’s Perseverance rover landed without incident on the surface Mars on Thursday, capping a years-long, multibillion dollar effort with “seven minutes of terror” that gave way to elation and air-high-fives. And Arizona was along for the ride, with ASU professor Jim Bell and colleagues leading the team responsible for the rover’s camera system, Mastcam-Z – the complex component charged with relaying images of the planet’s surface back to us would-be astronauts on Earth.

On the Federal Front…

Major Recent Events

House Committees Approve Reconciliation Language

Last week, several House committees approved their respective sections of the COVID Relief reconciliation bill, including:
Agriculture Committee
  • Extension of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit increase through September
Energy & Commerce Committee
  • $9.3 billion of additional federal funding for Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS)
Ways and Means Committee
  • Economic Impact Payments of $1,400 per person, including for adult dependents
  • Temporary increase in premium tax credits under the Affordable Care Act
  • Extension and expansion of paid leave tax credit
  • Expansion of Earned Income Tax Credit for childless adults
  • Temporary increase and extension of unemployment benefits
Financial Services Committee
  • $10 billion for Defense Production Act spending
  • $25 billion for emergency rental assistance
The House Budget Committee will combine each committee’s section into a larger reconciliation bill. If passed by the House, a reconciliation bill can be passed by the Senate with a simple majority.

Senate Committee Approves Fudge Nomination

On February 4, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs voted to favorably report the nomination of Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD is the cabinet level department that oversees federal housing programs and enforces housing laws such as the Fair Housing Act. Visit the Committee website for more information or to access video of the executive session at which the nomination was approved.

Senate Committee Approves Vilsack Nomination

On February 2, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry voted to favorably report the nomination of Tom Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as “food stamps,” which provides vital food assistance to low income people, including many people with disabilities. Visit the Committee website for more information or to access live video of the business meeting at which the nomination was approved.

Senate Committee Approves Cardona, Walsh Nominations

On February 11, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions voted to favorably report the nominations of Miguel Cardona for Secretary of Education and Marty Walsh for Secretary of Labor. The Department of Education is responsible for implementation of federal education laws, including the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, the Every Student Succeeds Act, and the Higher Education Act. The Department of Labor is the agency responsible for the implementation of federal labor and employment laws, including those relating to wages and hours. Additionally, it includes the Office of Disability Employment Policy, which is a non-regulatory agency that promotes employment of people with disabilities. Visit the Committee website for more information or to access live video of executive session at which the nominations were approved.
Announcements
CMS Announces Special Enrollment Period for Health Coverage
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced it will open a special enrollment period for federal marketplace health coverage. Typically, individuals can only enroll in marketplace health coverage or change plans toward the end of the year or after a major life event. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS opened a special enrollment period from February 15 to May 15 for individuals in states that use the federally facilitated marketplace (healthcare.gov). Additionally, several states with states-based marketplaces have also announced special enrollment periods.

Administration Announces Extension of Homeowner Protections
On February 16, the White House announced that the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, and Agriculture will issue an extension and expansion of forbearance and foreclosure relief programs. Several critical protections were due to expire in March. Now, the foreclosure moratorium and forbearance enrollment for homeowners are extended through June 30, 2021.

The Arc is fighting for the human and civil rights of people with I/DD and their right to live and be included in their communities. Our success depends on support from advocates like you. Donate today!
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