17 bills signed – but who’s counting?

July 8, 2016 by  

Governor Ducey signed 17 Barto-sponsored bills into law this session –  second only to two Legislators sporting 22 each.  Frankly, I am proud of the accomplishment, but ultimate success is not the number of bills passed, but that they uphold the Constitution – empower citizens and hold government accountable.  On that score, measure for measure they further these purposes in three main areas:

  • Protecting due process rights / Expanding consumer choice (i.e. SB1444 – Bd of Nursing; SB 1112 – Pharmacists’ Scope of Practice & SB 1327 )
  • Protecting the Vulnerable (i.e. SB 1441 – long term care insurance; SB  1296 – The Peter Falk-Mickey Rooney bill. originally SB 1102, it strengthens rights of incapacitated adults)
  • Agency Accountability /Reducing Regulation  (i.e.SB 1106 – food stamp abuse; SB 1105 – Acupuncture licensure)

These are additional new laws worth celebrating:

SB 1445 – the Patient Care Freedom of Speech Act –  will have far-reaching benefits for both patients and health care providers.  Watch and listen to Dr. Eric Novack’s (and others’) compelling Health Committee testimony about the need for SB 1445.  The new law #1. Protects health care professionals from state board sanctions for educating patients and families or for providing lawful health care services and #2. Protects health care professionals from employers for educating patients and families about lawful health care options.

In short, health care professionals who treat patients as the individuals they are – can suffer undue Board discipline for going outside of perceived “standards of care” (see Goodbye Standard of Care – Hello Reasonable Practice) and, due to hyper-regulated health care, lowering costs pose a growing incentive to employers to ‘standardize’ and control care. SB 1445 addressed both.

SB 1474 – bans trafficking in aborted babies – is a rational response to the shocking undercover videos released last year showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing harvesting aborted fetal body parts.  Due to a loophole in federal law and previous litigation, before SB 1474 it was legal to carry out those practices within Arizona.  To ensure these horrific practices cannot occur here, SB 1474 prohibits using aborted babies or their body parts for research or experimentation. It also prohibits the transfer or sale of aborted babies or their body parts for research or experimentation.  The 2016 budget also ended Planned Parenthood’s and other providers’ abuse of the 340 B program, charging Medicaid multiple times the cost of contraceptives than the prescriptions actually cost them.

SB 1439 – Prisoner Transition Program – did not pass, but its main provision is expected to be enacted administratively.  (Not associated in any way with the Dept. of Correction’s program at Adobe Mt. btw – SB 1439 is completely different).   My hope is administrative coordination is successful. Here’s why: Individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) often cycle in and out of the legal, correctional and behavioral health systems in the state. When a person with mental health issues is released from custody, there currently is little to no treatment coordination to enable him/her to make the move from the correctional setting into the community successfully & avoid returning to prison. SB 1439 would have required  the Department of Corrections (DOC) to establish a pilot program with nonprofit or private entity navigators specifically for this purpose.  My three other bills focused on mental illness were signed into law and should greatly improve how health professionals include families of the mentally ill in their treatment plans.

SB 1381 – Direct-to-Consumer Wine – Living under the constraints of a three-tier distribution system, Arizona wine connoisseurs have been restricted in the number of cases of wine they can purchase from wineries outside of the state.  For close to a decade, an individual could purchase only two cases of wine and had to be present in order to ship wine to their home. SB 1381 (wine; direct shipment) expands the free market to allow out-of-state wineries to ship directly to consumers in Arizona. Wineries must register with the Department of Liquor, comply with shipping verification and remit all required taxes.  The bill phases in annual case limits from six cases from 2016-2018; then nine cases in 2018 and 12 cases in 2019 and is anticipated to grow Arizona’s wine economy.

 

Comments

Comments

3 Responses to “17 bills signed – but who’s counting?”
  1. Matt Robinson says:

    Nancy

    What are you doing to advocate for the families in North Phoenix that are worried about the safety of our children who live, go to school, and play near the re-entry facility at Adobe? I talked to you last week but am disappointed that I have not received any communication from you since. You promised me you would. Our concern continues to grow as our elected officials including you and Gov. Ducey avoid this issue. Are you going to be our leader? I will not let this issue get brushed aside.

    Thank you

    • nancy_barto says:

      Thanks, Matt. I agree! This should not be brushed aside- not as long as I – and the community – are completely satisfied that we and our children will not be in harm’s way if the program remains at Adobe Mountain. As I mentioned in our conversation, I met with the Dept. of Corrections about two weeks ago along with Representatives Allen and Carter. We let them know we were appalled at their lack of communication with the public about the program and demanded the public be provided ample opportunity to voice their concerns and have those concerns addressed. I was appalled that DOC had put a Memorandum of Understanding in place with law enforcement after the facility opened, as well. Here is what I learned since then: Thursday the DOC met with parent leader, Julie Reed and Deer Valley School Board member, Ann O’Brien, where there was apparent progress made in this direction. This is the information I received later that day from the DOC’s Legislative Liaison, Art Harding. This is what it said:

      “Senator Barto, Representatives Carter and Allen:

      Director Ryan held a very productive meeting with North Phoenix residents Julie Read and Ann O’Brien on Thursday, September 01, 2016. One of the outcomes of this meeting is that Director Ryan has agreed to hold a number of small-group roundtable discussions with up to 10-15 residents at a time, to be held at the MRC facility. We hope these meetings will help to spread the word and correct any misinformation about MRC and its programs.

      Ms. Read and Ms. O’Brien were genuinely interested in collaborating with the Department and responding to the concerns raised by their neighbors. ADC will continue to work with these residents to increase understanding of the MRC.
      We will keep you informed as we move forward with these discussions.

      As always, Director Ryan is happy to speak directly with you. Please feel free to call him at 602-542-5225.”

      Thank You.

      Art Harding
      Legislative Liaison

      The meetings will take place at the MRC, but I do not believe any have been scheduled at this point. My office or I will keep you updated about the timing of the meetings as soon as I have that information. Is this enough? No, but it is a crucial next step for myself and the public to continue to make the case that unless the DOC takes steps to make it a “secure facility” for at least some of its program participants, there is no scenario the Dept. can provide that will satisfy many of my or our community’s safety concerns.

    • nancy_barto says:

      Appreciate your comment, Matt. And thank you, as well, for your involvement. I am committed to stand with the community to restore the use of Adobe Mt. as a secured facility – and not for re-entry purposes.

      Since meeting with community members several times over the last weeks and months, I and my colleagues have been working on many fronts, including with the Governor’s office as well as non-profits with experience with successful re-entry programs –  to secure a suitable alternative location for the MRC away from neighborhoods and schools.  It is my intention to continue to promote any of several viable alternatives that have been proposed until one is chosen and fully implemented to that end.  Although I cannot confirm when at this point, I believe we will see a resolution soon that we will all be pleased with.  But to your point about the issue being brushed aside, nothing could be further from the truth. The three of us are pursuing a personal meeting with the Governor at this point in order to ENSURE that one of the solutions is truly in the works and that it comes with a timeline that is acceptable. We are intent on both a meeting and receiving that information. In fact, just as you and others have committed yourselves to seeing the MRC relocated, we are just as resolute. 

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