TOP 2017 BARTO SPONSORED LEGISLATION:
SB 1437 – Right to Earn a Living Act. The right to earn an honest living is a fundamental right. SB 1437 places the burden on the government rather than citizens to prove the necessity of certain rules & policies. Is this a problem? Check this out and how Governor Ducey intervened. Here’s more about the Act from the Goldwater Institute.
SB 1155 – Adobe Mountain/DOC facility issue. Last year when the Dept. of Corrections decided to use the current Adobe Mt. facility (a secured facility for juveniles) to house released (unsecured) sexual offenders as well as for other purposes, we learned how woefully inadequate the DOC’s community notification practices are. SB 1155 puts robust communication requirements in place to protect families when DOC has similar plans for its facilities in the future. Mirrors HB 2133.
SB 1002 – Speaking out for the oppressed. The purpose of SB 1002, authorizing the Ariz. Assyrian Genocide Monument – is to remember the genocides of Middle Eastern Christians of the past and become more aware of those at risk of and experiencing it today. If we fail to memorialize these egregious historic acts, they are sure to be repeated in the future. (Last year’s SB 1376 was vetoed, citing concerns RE limited Capitol Mall space, fixes the Governor’s concerns.)
Mental Illness in Arizona – Arizona will spend more than any other state on mental health in 2017 ($1.2 billion-$600 million of it state $$), but still 20% of Arizona’s incarcerated have mental health conditions, are “boarded” for weeks in Emergency Rooms awaiting proper treatment, homeless and often cycle between these three. Building on last year’s reforms i.e. better family inclusion – this year’s are below:
SB 1440 – Accountability for Services. SB 1440 establishes a clinical oversight committee within AHCCCS and a report back to the Legislature. For mental health services, this is a great 1st step for accountability for the vulnerable seriously mentally ill in Arizona.
SB 1004 – Making Human Rights Committees Functional Again. More Accountability for Services is the goal. HRCs are the Legislature’s eyes & ears for the vulnerable mentally ill and disabled communities. SB 1004 will help these incredibly dedicated volunteers do their work. Read their latest reports here and here.
SB 1005 – Hospital Psychiatric Boarding. Persons experiencing psychosis brought to Emergency Depts. are often detained there for weeks for lack of capacity at appropriate facilities for evaluation and treatment. Legally these holds shouldn’t occur, but they do and hospitals are pushing for a solution. SB 1005 will move us in a direction that should benefit all involved.
SB 1479 – Transporting the Mentally Ill. Jails & prisons are the dumping ground for too many seriously mentally ill and it often doesn’t end well when law enforcement is called in to transport them. Sen. Steve Smith’s SB 1479 was brought by law enforcement to address this problem.
SB 1031 – Incompetent Non-restorable Dangerous Defendants. People with untreated mental illnesses who commit serious offenses may pose serious public safety threats when they are released to the public after they are found incompetent to stand trial but not cleared for further evaluation. Yes, this is happening! SB 1031 allows the Legislature to analyze the full scope of the problem in order to address this serious gap.
Health Care Reforms
**First an UPDATE on last session’s Long Term Care Insurance bill – SB 1441. NOW is the time (between Jan. 20 & March 21st) to weigh in on the proposed LTC regulations. SB 1441 directed the Dept. of Insurance to protect policyholders from future outrageous rate increases by updating its regulations – utilizing independent actuaries and providing proper consumer notifications and options to consumers. Watch video testimony in the House Insurance Committee. The public hearing will be March 3rd at 1:00 p.m.
SB 1325 – Directing Bad-Acting Lawyers to Tell the Whole Truth. You may have seen the full page ads attacking Arizona nursing homes for presumably bad care -linking a facility’s already cured deficiencies. SB 1325 is an important Truth in Advertising bill, requiring these unscrupulous advertisers to print the facts that matter while trolling for clients.
SB 1336 – CRNA Scope of Practice. If you’ve had surgery lately, chances are a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist provided the anesthesia services for your surgeon. They’ve been practicing in the U.S. for 150 years and in Arizona for decades. SB 1336 clarifies CRNAs’ current practices in statute – doesn’t expand them. Check out TV3 coverage and more about the bill and CRNAs here.
SB 1367 – Born Alive but left to die. Sen. Steve Smith’s SB 1367 (which I co-sponsored) – bolsters current laws requiring that infants who are born alive following failed abortions receive medical care. Read how this bill will protect vulnerable infants here.
SB 1439 – “Please don’t ask me to do that”. SB 1439 protects physicians and other health care providers from discrimination if they choose not to participate in a treatment that could end a patient’s life. Read more about SB 1367 and SB 1439 here. Most of these right of conscience protections already exist in the Affordable Care Act, but not in Arizona statute.
SB 1452 – The public has a right to know. Transparency, accountability, fairness. SB 1452 ensures health boards are accountable to their licensees AND to the public – requiring board actions & contracted employment openings are posted & available to the public, limiting board term limits and timeframes for opening investigations. In 2015 ABC-15 investigator, Dave Biscobing, uncovered unacceptable Dental Bd. practices in 2015, which we addressed in Legislation. View updated ABC-15 piece on this year’s legislation. SB 1452 addresses transparency and other issues for all health boards.
Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Sen. Nancy Barto’s reforms most often focus on this area of law. Check Nancy’s Legislative page listing all the bills she is sponsoring this session. Read a summary of 2016 session highlights here.