April 24, 2016
It’s nearing the end of session. Here’s where we are on some major issues:
- Pension Reform – almost there! Prop. 124 – if approved by voters May 17th, will provide solvency & stability to our Public Safety Retirement System.
- Funding K-12 Education – almost there! If Prop. 123 is approved by voters. See Prop. 123 – Beyond the Talking Points .
- Foster Care – Signed! Jacob’s Law – children with urgent mental health needs can now get them from private providers.
- Privatizing the Backlog – Needs a final floor vote. Relieves DCS case managers with outrageous caseloads, increasing permanency for kids.
- Pro-Life Bills – Signed! – Preserving the dignity of the preborn, trafficking their body parts is now prohibited in Arizona, and others.
- Healthcare & Mental Health – 1 or 2 final votes. Barto bills aid patients & families navigating the mental health system – medical free speech – health board transparency.
- Free Speech – final floor vote next. HB 2615 – the 1st amendment doesn’t take a break when students attend college.
- Parents & Education Rights – HB 2544 – Provides Districts a menu of testing options – not just the AZMerit – Signed! Consent for student surveys – HB 2088 – final floor vote next.
- Protect 2nd Amendment – Signed! – HB 2224– protects private transactions from fees. See the important bills remaining in the queue and gun control bills defeated this session.
- Reining in Regulators – HB 2130 –Signed! Also HB 2613 (yes, we really do license yoga instructors!), SB 1524, SB 1388 – final floor votes next.
- Christian Genocide – speaking out for persecuted minorities in the Middle East – SM 1001 Done! & SB 1367 & SB 2691 – final floor vote. View IDC video
April 22, 2016
Unsurprisingly, a slew of restrictive gun rights bills were sponsored this session…but these are not the only threats to the 2nd Amendment in Arizona. The Feds and local governments are on the gun control march, too. Thus, legislators are working to strengthen Arizona’s weapons laws against preemptive action from either direction – including these (courtesy of Arizona Citizens Defense League): [Read more]
January 4, 2016
Chief Biasotti of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) got it right. Since the 1950’s the number of psychiatric beds in the U.S. have been reduced by 95% (replaced by “community treatment”). Now at least 14-16% of Arizona’s incarcerated prisoners suffer with mental illness.
Families are at their wit’s end as they try to secure proper treatment and placement for loved ones suffering with serious mental illness who, instead, cycle in and out of ERs, end up homeless, in our prisons or are outsourced to the police – and the morgue. Also see DJ Jaffe’s ‘It’s not about money – it’s about misplaced priorities.’
This is just one of the many gaps in Arizona’s mental health system! Here are some of the solutions bridging them: [Read more]
October 3, 2015
Arizona’s laws are strangling our homegrown wineries. Here’s why I’m sponsoring legislation in 2016 to set the grapes free:
Currently, a “small” winery located in-state or out-of-state that produces
less than 8,412 cases (20,000 gallons) of wine per year may ship an
unlimited amount of wine directly to Arizona consumers.
But…there are at least 1,000 wineries in the U.S. that have successfully
grown their business beyond 20,000 gallons, including some in Arizona.
However, the only way a wine connoisseur in Arizona can purchase wines from these medium-to-large
wineries is to actually visit the winery first! And then he or she is limited to
receive only 2 cases of wine from that winery each year. These 1,000
wineries produce more than 90% of the wine in the U.S.
These are unconstitutional restrictions according to the Arizona Free Enterprise Club. See “Uncorking Consumer Choice: A case for direct wine sales”.
For nearly 10 years, wine shipments have been made directly to Arizona
consumers from hundreds of out-of-state small wineries. But it’s time to give real
choice to Arizona consumers. Forty-two states and the District of Columbia
(soon to be 43 states) allow some winery-direct shipments; only Arkansas,
Rhode Island and Arizona require the consumer to visit the winery first,
and only four states have a “production cap,” including Arizona.
The time for replacing Arizona’s outdated and limited wine
shipping law is now.
Read the recent AZ Republic article: Do you get wine shipped from out-of-state? That may be about to end. Here’s why.
June 24, 2015
Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood is suing to be able to continue to do just that.
You see, SB 1318 was signed into law this session. The bill’s purpose is to ensure women seeking abortion are informed that it may be possible to reverse a medication abortion (aka Abortion Pill or RU-486), but that time is of the essence. Planned Parenthood advocates opposed the bill, and now are suing.
This is just the latest in a series of lawsuits pro-abortion advocates have initiated when the expectation is for them to fully inform women. Fortunately, of 34 measures designed to fully inform and protect women and their unborn children, 31 have been upheld by the courts and are in force today. Only 3 are not.
So where does Planned Parenthood lying come in? Here’s what happened… [Read more]
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. [Read more]
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.
April 7, 2015
Paying Directly for care is getting even better.
Higher insurance premiums, deductibles & co-pays are obviously costing patients more. Add to that narrow provider networks – and patients really pay. But by paying directly market forces come into play and patients can save a bundle – especially now. [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.
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]