17 bills signed – but who’s counting?
July 8, 2016 by nancy_barto
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.