“When psych beds go down, incarceration goes up”

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]

Victory for Free the Grapes

October 3, 2015

Arizona’s laws are strangling our homegrown wineries, but that is soon to change as SB 1381 was signed into law – Read Victory for Arizona’s Wineries  – And why I sponsored the legislation this year 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The time for replacing Arizona’s outdated and limited wine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.

Women should not be lied to

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]

Pushing back regulations – intentionally

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]

2015 Measures Benefit Patients & Economy

April 17, 2015

One State Leads fight for Health Care Freedom – Arizona

  • HB 2643  Stopping Obamacare in ArizonaStates 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 betterHigher 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.

[Read more]

2015 Barto Bills Signed into Law

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]

Mid-session Senate News

February 24, 2015

And there’s plenty of good news to report. Here are some highlights on Barto-sponsored & supported bills:

  • Good News for PatientsSB 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.

[Read more]

Great Expectations for 2015

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]

Fixing School Funding

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]

The Recipe for a Prosperous Arizona

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]

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