2017 Legislation


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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.  Learn more about the Act from The Daily Signal & the Goldwater Institute.  Governor Ducey praises “Right to Earn a Living Act” sponsored by Sen. Barto.  SIGNED!

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 SIGNED!  Read Gov. Ducey’s news releaseWhat’s Next? An interim committee will assess the future of the Adobe Mt. facility.  Watch for updates.

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) This bill didn’t make it to the finish line.

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, focused on what’s not working for those most seriously afflicted with mental illness. This is a good 1st step for system accountability for mental health services in Arizona.  SIGNED!

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 hereSIGNED!

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. Lengthy holds are illegal & shouldn’t occur, but they do and hospitals are pushing for a solution. SB 1005 helped move the parties to solve without the bill – even better!

SB 1479 – Transporting the Mentally Ill.  Law enforcement is called far too often to assist with persons suffering from psychosis – and sometime it doesn’t end well .  Other times, it’s truly not necessary for law enforcement to be contacted for transport, taking officers off the streets for hours at a time.  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 a court finds them incompetent to stand trial – but are subsequently not recommended for evaluation and treatment.  Yes, this is happening, but we don’t know how widespread the problem is.  SB 1031 allows a full analysis in order to devise solutions.  SIGNED!

Health Care Reforms

SB 1325 – Tort Reform.  Can you say shakedown?  When valley nursing homes pay thousands to needlessly defend their reputations to avoid going to court, that’s a shakedown. Unscrupulous lawyers have been trolling for clients by deceiving them with half truths in full page advertisements linking claims of presumably dismal patient care outcomes with a nursing facility’s already cured health inspection deficiencies.  SB 1325  requires that the rest of the information – the true, updated facts that matter – also appear in print.  SIGNED!

SB 1336 – CRNA Scope of PracticeIf you’ve had surgery lately, chances are a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist provided the anesthesia services for your surgeon.  CRNAs have been practicing anesthesia 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. SIGNED!

SB 1367 – Born Alive but left to die.  Current law requires that an infant born alive following an attempted abortion receive appropriate medical care.  Sen. Steve Smith’s SB 1367 (Barto co-sponsored) makes sure not one more vulnerable child dies without appropriate standard of care  – and that the law is enforced.  This bill will protect vulnerable infants.  Watch video showing Planned Parenthood skirting current law. SIGNED!

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 Obamacare, but what happens if/when the ACA goes away?  SIGNED!

SB 1452  – Transparency, accountability, fairness.  SB 1452 ensures health boards are accountable to licensees AND the public – requiring board actions & contracted employment openings to be posted & available to the public, strengthens due process rights by limiting board term limits and timeframes for opening investigations. In 2015 ABC-15 investigator, Dave Biscobing, uncovered unacceptable Dental Bd. practices, which SB1452 addresses this year for all health boards.  View updated ABC-15 piece . SIGNED!

Nancy had 23 prime sponsored bills signed into law this session!  Fourteen of them were constituent-driven reforms (non agency bills). 

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 in the 2018 session.