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The Capitol Roundup

The Arc of Arizona's weekly recap of State & Federal legislative happenings

January 27, 2017

Kicking the Tires

At the Statehouse...

This was the first full week of legislative action this year, and legislators approved dozens of bills in policy committees. Several uncontroversial bills already received approval from the Senate and House, and are ready to advance for consideration in the second half of the legislative process. Many more are to come: more than 700 bills have been introduced this session. That is a much lower number than in recent legislative sessions, but the count could climb as bill introduction deadlines grow closer:

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  • January 30: Last day for Senate bill introductions
  • February 10: Last Day for House bill introductions
  • February 17: Last day for consideration of bills in the first legislative chamber
  • March 24: Last day for consideration of bills in the second legislative chamber
  • April 14: Last day for conference committees
  • April 18: 100th day of session
  • April 22: Statutory last day of session (may be extended by legislative leaders)
The bills that moved forward this week included a Good Samaritan bill that Governor Ducey called for in his State of the State speech, stronger penalties for stealing a flag, and a proposal that expanded the Math, Science and Special Education Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program to include teachers that teach in schools that are in low-income or rural areas, or that are located on an Indian reservation. Legislators also approved changes to the location of medical marijuana dispensaries in rural areas, and to the state’s “Shannon’s Law” restrictions on shooting guns into the air.
 
Not all bills that were considered this week moved forward. Committees failed to pass a proposal to alter standards for medical marijuana facilities, a bill that would have established a Concrete Masonry Education Council for training and research, and a law against panhandling.
 
Legislative schedules will be busier next week; click here for a full list of bills to be considered in committees.


Budget Update
 
There was no sign of progress on budget negotiations this week, though House and Senate leaders continue to speak to their caucus members to identify their top funding priorities. In legislative budget committees, hearings focused on analysis of state agency funding and priorities. Committees heard details on funding for the judicial branch and state debt, and the Senate highlighted Arizona education finance systems. (Click here to view presentations from legislative budget staff.)
 
The House, which has three budget subcommittees, turned the focus to the impacts of the state minimum wage increase that voters recently approved. Separate hearings focused on the impact to schools, businesses, and those who provide services to individuals with disabilities. These increased costs are a key priority of discussion as a budget proposal takes shape.
 
Next week, budget committees will focus on the budget requests of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) and the Department of Corrections. 
 
Priority Legislation
  • HB 2207 (appropriation; nonmedical services; aging)
The bill would give funds to DES for the home and community-based services from area agencies on aging. (The bill does not yet include an amount of money.) It has not been heard in the Health or Appropriations Committees.
  • HB 2209 (family caregiver income tax credit)
The bill would create a new tax credit to provide up to $1,000 in credit for individuals who care for a family member, if that individual earns less than $75,000 a year. It has not been heard in the House Ways and Means Committee.
  • HB 2310 (appropriations; ALTCS; elderly; physical disabilities)
The bill would give funds to ALTCS to increase payment to providers for services to the elderly and  persons with disabilities. It has not been heard in the House Health and Appropriations Committees.
  • HCR 2013 (convention; balanced federal budget)
The referral would ask Arizona voters to petition for a Congressional convention to pass a balanced federal budget amendment. It is scheduled for a hearing in the House Federalism, Property Rights and Public Policy Committee on Tuesday, January 31.
  • SB 1030 (AHCCCS; covered services; occupational therapy)
The bill would expand AHCCCS coverage to include occupational therapy. Last week, it passed the Senate Health & Human Services Committee; it is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, January 31.
  • SB 1031 (dangerous; incompetent defendants; study committee)
The bill would create a Study Committee on Incompetent, Nonrestorable and Dangerous Defendants to evaluate short-and long-term treatment and supervision. The committee would include a person with expertise in developmental disabilities. This week, it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 7-0.
  • SB 1037 (special education; audit; cost study)
The bill would require the Arizona Auditor General to audit special education programs in Arizona. It has not been heard in the Senate Education and Appropriation Committees.
  • SB 1102 (appropriations; DES; developmental disabilities)
The bill gives money for ALTCS to increase reimbursement rates for services through the Division of Developmental Disabilities. (The bill does not yet include an amount of money.) It has not been heard in the Senate Appropriations and Health & Human Services Committees.
  • SB 1103 (appropriation; nonmedical services; aging)
The bill would give funds to DES for the home and community-based services from area agencies on aging. (The bill does not yet include an amount of money.) It has not been heard in the Senate Appropriations and Health & Human Services Committees.
  • SB 1104 (appropriations; ALTCS; elderly; physical disabilities)
The bill would give funds to ALTCS to increase payment to providers for services to the elderly and  persons with disabilities. It has not been heard in the Senate Appropriations and Health & Human Services Committees.
  • SB 1198 (public accommodation; services; civil actions)
An effort to require a delay and specified notification before a lawsuit against ADA compliances, was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • SB 1301 (family caregiver income tax credit)
This bill to create an income tax credit for the in-home care and support of a family member who requires assistance was referred to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committees.

Advocates Ask Legislature to Maintain Stability in Services for Individuals with Disabilities
 
A standing-room only crowd filled two full hearing rooms at the Arizona House this week, as advocates patiently waited their turn to testify in support of state funding for services to people with disabilities. A combination of parents, providers, and association leaders shared personal – and often emotional – stories of how state programs had enabled happy, productive lives for individuals they loved. 
 
The hearing was held at the request of House Appropriations Chairman Representative Don Shooter (R-Yuma), who sought to highlight the negative impacts of the voter-enacted minimum wage increase on state programs.
The testimony was not limited only to Proposition 206 impacts, however. Families and providers spoke of the negative impacts of years of state funding cuts, and uncertainty in funding for their services.  Jon Meyers, Executive Director of The Arc of Arizona, emphasized the critical importance of stability in services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “Workforce turnover in the entities that offer services and care…directly threatens the ability of people with disabilities to live and work in their community,” he summarized.

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Ginger Pottenger, a past President of The Arc of Arizona, and her daughter, Kandi, also testified in support of the stability of funding and personnel in state programs to individuals with disabilities.
 
The hearing was only for public testimony, and the committee did not take any official action. But attendees expressed gratitude for the chance to be heard, and to tell the stories of why state funding mattered to their lives. Too often, advocates said, they had been excluded from budget hearings on an issue that was critical to them. As budget negotiations continue, additional funding for providers of services to individuals with developmental disabilities is expected to be among the top items of discussion among state leaders.
Governor Ducey, Advocacy Groups Call for Support for Arizona Health Care Programs
 
Arizona’s KidsCare program is not up for debate at the Arizona legislature this year, but it is in the news. As federal officials debate the repeal and replacement options for the Affordable Care Act, advocacy groups are calling for attention to the fact that the changes could eliminate funding available for KidsCare – a step that could leave thousands of children without healthcare in Arizona. 
 
But KidsCare is just one program that could be impacted by a repeal of federal funds, and Governor Doug Ducey has submitted a plan for Congressional action that he believes would minimize the uncertainty around federal action.  In a letter to U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Ducey opposes an outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act and calls for a continuation of the federal subsidies that enable low-income Arizonans to purchase health insurance. The Governor does not support the Affordable Care Act, but acknowledged that Arizonans now have access to care they did not have before. His plan of action lays out a transition that he believes will “ensure that the rug is not pulled out from under people who are currently receiving coverage.”
 
The Governor’s office is actively lobbying Congress to support the plan. Ducey’s health policy advisor, Christina Corieri, was in DC this week to meet with Arizona delegates and other key political leaders to advocate for certainty in Arizona health care funding.


On the Federal Front...

Action Alerts

Major Recent Events

President Trump Signs ACA Executive Order

In one of his first actions after being sworn in, President Trump signed an executive order regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) instructing federal agencies to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay any part of the law that the agency determines negatively impacts those affected. Those affected include consumers, doctors, hospitals, insurers, pharmaceutical companies and other health care providers. It is unclear at this point how the federal agencies will move forward or what the response will be from the insurance industry or the states. The Arc is concerned about the impact these executive actions may have and will monitor them closely.

Senate Holds Hearing on Nominee for Education Secretary

President Trump's nominee to head the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, responded to questions from the members of the Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions Committee. The nearly four hour hearing on January 17 included a series of questions related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In response to questions posed by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) regarding whether all schools that receive federal funding - whether public, public charter or private - should be required to meet the requirements of IDEA, Ms. DeVos replied, "I think they already are" and "I think that is a matter that is best left to the states," and "I think that is certainly worth discussion." In response to a follow-up question on the same topic by Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), DesVos stated "Federal Law must be followed where federal dollars are in play." Watch the archived hearing here (IDEA discussion begins at the 3 hour and 31 minute mark).

Announcements

Rehabilitation Services Administration Releases FAQ on WIOA Definition of Integrated Location


The Rehabilitation Services Administration has released a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document on the "integrated location" criteria of the definition of "competitive integrated employment" under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The setting must be "typically found in the community" and "Where the employee with a disability interacts, for the purpose of performing the duties of the position, with other employees within the particular work unit and the entire work site, and, as appropriate to the work performed, other persons (e.g., customers and vendors) who are not individuals with disabilities (not including supervisory personnel or individuals who are providing services to such employee) to the same extent that employees who are not individuals with disabilities and who are in comparable positions interact with these persons." The document also provides further clarifications of the definition.

Department of Education Releases ESSA Resources on Accountability and English Language Learners

The U.S. Department of Education released additional resources on January 19 to support States in transitioning to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Frequently Asked Questions on Accountability under Title I, Part A of law provides an overview of many of the key provisions for accountability and school improvement and includes descriptions of how States and local education agencies may meet these requirements, provides examples, and links to other related non-regulatory guidance. The resource guide on accountability for English learners describes accountability provisions for English learners in greater detail, including how they compare to previous authorizations of the law.

Education Department Releases New Resources for Stakeholders

On January 18, The U.S. Department of Education released new resources for school officials, school staff, parents, and other stakeholder. These include a toolkit on social-emotional learning and School Climate Improvement Resource Package. Additionally, the department released new fact sheets on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act: one on religious discrimination in general and another on discrimination against Jewish students.


The Arc Seeking Caregivers for FINDS Survey

With the new year comes a new Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) Survey. We need your input! The Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota, in collaboration with The Arc, is seeking caregivers to share their perceptions on a range of life-span issues impacting individuals with I/DD. The Arc invites people aged 18 years or older who provide frequent primary support to a person with I/DD to participate. Take the survey here.


Prepared by:
Peters, Cannata & Moody, PLC
www.pcmlawaz.com

and

The Arc of the United States

www.thearc.org


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