April 20, 2015
We’re Movin’ Up! The respected Rich States Poor States report recently ranked Arizona #5 for economic outlook. Here’s how the Legislature pushed regulations back this session:
SB 1241 Stopping excessive government regulation – it’s about more than plastic bags. Some localities are contemplating – and some have already implemented – ordinances that mandate energy usage reporting and dictate which containers and bags are acceptable. SB 1241 reins in intrusive jurisdictional mandates before they become major job-killers in Arizona. While responsible energy use is obviously a worthy goal, mandatory energy reporting in the name of energy consumption benchmarking is problematic on many levels and unnecessary as businesses are already highly incentivized to reduce their energy costs and do not need additional regulations. Piecemeal mandates are not only labor intensive, but difficult to comply with. Read the Arizona Chamber’s informative piece on SB 1241 – Overregulation: Local Edition.
HB 2603 Tort Reform – Ending Asbestos Litigation “Double Dipping”. This measure increases necessary transparency in Arizona’s legal system ensuring that, while victims are still entitled to compensation, the tort process is fair for all parties involved, and double dipping recovery is curtailed. Read more about the issue here.
HB 2645 Laboratory Testing Without Order – will bring competition & patient access to market. The lab industry will never be the same thanks to some serious free market interventions in Arizona: Less regulation a-la HB 2645, which was just signed into law by Governor Ducey, and an innovative company named Theranos which offers patients more value for less cost and less blood. If you haven’t heard of Theranos’ Founder & CEO Elizabeth Holmes, you soon will! Many Arizonans are already benefiting from the Theranos/Walgreens partnership at 40 locations across the state – the Grand Opening of which was at 64th St. and Greenway Rd. in 2013.
April 17, 2015
One State Leads fight for Health Care Freedom – Arizona
- HB 2643 Stopping Obamacare in Arizona: States shouldn’t try to save the Obamacare subsidies and HB 2643 ensures Arizona doesn’t try. The new law prohibits the state and all of its political subdivisions from using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer, or cooperate with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). See John Graham’s latest on Arizona (NCPA).
- HB 2417 (formerly SB 1284 ) Paying Directly for care just got better: Higher insurance premiums, deductibles & co-pays plus narrow provider networks are costing patients more. By paying directly.…market forces come into play and patients can pay much less. With HB 2417, paying directly will be even more cost effective as the law ensures insurance companies cooperate when patients go out of network for covered services by applying their payments to the in-network deductible.
- SB 1039 Expands Health Care Sharing Option: The cost of health insurance continues to skyrocket – and if Obamacare subsidies come to a halt if ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, even more people will be seeking affordable health care options. HCSMs are exempt from the Affordable Care Act and they’re actually affordable. SB 1039 aligns the state and federal definitions of HCSMs so that more people can take advantage of this option. Read more: Alliance for Health Care Sharing Ministries.
- HB 2645 Laboratory Testing Without Order – The lab industry will never be the same thanks to some serious free market interventions in Arizona: Less regulation a-la HB 2645, allowing patients to pursue lab tests without a doctor’s prescription – and an innovative company named Theranos which offers patients more value for less cost and less blood is a winning combination. If you haven’t heard of Theranos’ Founder & CEO Elizabeth Holmes, you soon will! Many Arizonans are already benefiting from the Theranos/Walgreens partnership at 40 locations across the state.
- SB 1320 Cosmetology Board can’t license makeup Artists - Should people who apply makeup & eyelashes have to have a license to do business? SB 1320 makes sure they don’t in Arizona. Chalk one up for keeping government from inhibiting entry into yet another business field. Read about another ‘Fishy Regulation’ this Board is being sued over.
Addressing the over-prescribing epidemic: More than 100 people die each day due to legal prescription opioid overdose in the U.S. SB 1032 requires Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) contractors to intervene if a member has 10 or more prescriptions for controlled substances within a three-month period. [Read more]
April 7, 2015
Paying Directly for care just got better: Higher insurance premiums, deductibles & co-pays plus narrow provider networks are costing patients more. By paying directly.…market forces come into play and patients can pay much less. With HB 2417 (Formerly SB 1284), paying directly will be even more cost effective as the law ensures insurance companies cooperate when patients go out of network for covered services by applying their payments to the in-network deductible. [Read more]
February 24, 2015
And there’s plenty of good news to report. Here are some highlights on Barto-sponsored & supported bills:
- Good News for Patients. SB 1284 - passed the Senate 23-6 last week, moving on to the House. Under the Obamacare mandates, patients are faced with a whole new set of challenges – including incredibly high deductibles and narrower physician networks. SB 1284 will help patients avoid having to pay twice to satisfy their insurance deductibles if they have to (or choose to) pay directly for covered health care outside their networks. The cash payments could apply under the same rules in current law, which passed in 2013.
- Student Civics Requirement. Shouldn’t every high school graduate know who is in charge of the Executive branch of the Government? Believe it or not, many don’t! The first bill signed into law this session will make passing the same Civics Test required for new U.S. citizens mandatory for Arizona students, too: SB 1029. Check out the test yourself at www.citizenshiptestus.com.
- Good News for LIFE and Taxpayers! 85% of Americans abhor their tax dollars paying for elective abortions, yet 41 out of the 199 Arizona health plans in the health care exchange include abortion coverage and taypayers ARE paying for them. SB 1318 stops subsidized elective abortions in the Obamacare federal exchange plans. The bill passed the Senate on 17-12 and awaits a hearing in the House. Learn the details: Fact Sheet.
- Good News for the Welfare State. How is it that between 1983 and 2012 population increased by 83 million and yet people accepting means-tested benefits increased by 67 million? In fact, the fastest growing source of personal income in America are welfare entitlements. SB 1092, which passed the Senate 17-12 today can potentially help reduce disincentives to work by adding work requirements to Arizona’s Medicaid program, as well as sensible cost-sharing and caps on the number of years one can receive these benefits. Federal regulators just approved cost-sharing elements in Indiana’s Medicaid waiver a few weeks ago. Arizona should be asking for the same and other common sense reforms so the program is sustainable for those who truly need it. Read Who’s on Welfare?
- Good News for Businesses! SB 1241 will ensure AHCCCS providers of in-home support services, which benefit seniors and save taxpayers millions of dollars, can choose how they conduct their businesses. A 2015 National Federation of Independent Business – (NFIB) priority bill, the legislation passed the Senate today 25-4 – and moves to the House.
- Good News/Bad News: SCM 1005 – the Regulation Freedom Amendment urges Congress to put the brakes on excessive Federal regulations. See Government isn’t supposed to work this way. The bill passed the Senate Committee, but has not been scheduled for floor votes yet by Sen. President Biggs, who has not committed to doing so (Bad news for moving our Republican form of government back to Constitutional sanity). Read more about the Liberty Amendments and what they entail. All states, especially Arizona, should get on board!
- Good News – CO 2 is good for the Environment! Last week Craig Idso from the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change presented the latest on global climate change before the Senate Federal Mandates & Fiscal Responsibility Committee. You can check out the facts, too, at CO 2 Science.org, which is regularly updated with new information.
Question or Comments? Let me know by e-mail at email@example.com.
January 8, 2015
Ahhh…2015! The New year always comes with hopes and expectations. And after the November elections, our political hopes loom even larger. Here is what I’m hoping – and will be working for this session at the Capitol.
- Fiscal restraint. Arizona’s budget picture is bleak for sure, but Gov. Ducey’s commitment to grow the economy without dinging taxpayers is something I can get behind. He gets it! [Read more]
September 29, 2014
It is common knowledge that Arizona’s complicated K-12 funding system is in need of reforms that would serve students better. Three bills last session were proposed to move us forward.
First the good news – the one that was signed into law: SB 1182 (school district overrides; bonds; information) addresses the problem of school districts inserting advocacy within the purpose statement in an election pamphlet. The bill requires the purpose statement to present factual information in a neutral manner. Advocacy for expenditures would be limited to where they belong–in the arguments section of the pamphlet and must include an estimated amount of property tax increase for specified properties in addition to other important info.
Unfortunately – for both taxpayers and schools, two other important bills didn’t pass in the 2014 session – [Read more]
August 25, 2014
A STRONG ECONOMY and more…
Government doesn’t create wealth, but it can impede it. Low tax and regulatory environments attract business investment and allow existing businesses to thrive, creating the jobs that provide stable state revenues for education, public safety and infrastructure. Check out my record of promoting policies supporting a prosperous economic future for Arizona. [Read more]
July 30, 2014
Laws mean what they say – even Obamacare: Last week’s D.C. Circuit Court ruled the administration cannot change the law to fit the circumstances, meaning the insurance subsidies folks are getting in 36 states, including Arizona, are illegal. From here the question is almost certain to go to the Supreme Court.
- Sen. Barto featured in Sunday Republic’s “What if” question of the week. Check out What if: The Supreme Court rules subsides can’t be used and other Obamacare news and what it means to the future of the law.
- Was it or wasn’t it a tax hike? Robert Robb says it is fair to call the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion a tax increase, which is one of the main reasons Legislators who voted against it hope to prevail in court. The tax passed with only a majority of legislators voting aye, rather than the required 2/3 required by voters in order to increase taxes. Arizona should expand the Medicaid program on our own terms and within Arizona’s budget constraints – not the Federal Government’s.
- Is reporting rape worth the “hassle”? Legislators joined the Arizona Life Coalition Thursday outside a Tempe Planned Parenthood to demand an investigation of a mandatory reporter that didn’t think so – and a rapist went on to commit other crimes. See clips of the rally and other photos and Channel 3 coverage.
- On the Border Crisis & Arizona. Apparently Arizona licensed foster parents are being recruited to care for the unaccompanied minors illegally immigrating through the Rio Grande Valley over the next 12 months. Unlicensed families are being recruited and offered an expedited licensure & training process, as well. Lots of questions remain unanswered, like “whether this will affect the pool of available foster homes for Arizona’s children awaiting loving homes in our child welfare system?” and “why isn’t an expedited licensure process available for qualified homes for Arizona’s kids – is our crisis over?” and “are these families being paid hundreds of dollars more/child to care for these children than for those in DCS?” So far – no answers.
- Senate defeats Democrats’ bill to “overturn” Supreme Court decision protecting Hobby Lobby – thankfully, even the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate couldn’t pass such an anti-religious freedom measure!
June 3, 2014
SB 1379 - Removing health care red tape: In addition to their jobs, many physicians & other health care professionals regularly treat those in need of care for free but are unable to access or pay for it – but state licensing restrictions make it more difficult for them to do so within our own country than across the oceans. SB 1379 streamlines the process for voluntary health professionals wishing to serve in Arizona. SIGNED by the Governor.
SB 1308 - Obamacare Navigator Oversight: Navigators and (CACs) Certified Application Counselors – those assisting with health insurance sign-ups through the Obamacare Exchanges – have access to a plethora of sensitive financial information. SB 1308 & HB 2508 - a House version proposed by Rep. Lovas, help hold them accountable and will reduce the likelihood of ID theft and fraud by requiring background checks and licensure. Read more on this issue here. SIGNED by the Governor.
SB 1225 - Women deserve more than the “happy-gram” - more important, lives will be saved as a result of SB 1225. Here’s the story: According to the American College of Radiology, about 50% of women have dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue makes it harder for doctors to see cancer on mammograms because both dense breast tissue and tumors look white. Consequently, normal dense breast tissue can hide masses or tumors. Thanks to SB 1225, women with dense breast tissue will be told this information and be better informed about whether to seek additional diagnostics. Read Barto press release here. Learn more at AreYouDense.org. SIGNED by the Governor. [Read more]
June 2, 2014
Of my 23 Prime Sponsored bills, 15 were signed into law this session. All passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support, if not unanimously.
At 65%, that is the highest % of bills passed by a lawmaker this session. Here’s the Arizona Capitol Times piece: Barto, Lovas lead in percentage of bills signed into law.
I am proud of these successes because each of them address concerns that are important to our state – and don’t increase the scope of government. In fact, in many cases, they reduced regulation, solved a critical issue, expanded consumer information or choice or kept an “out-of-control” board government agency in check. Here are some examples: [Read more]