The Capitol Roundup

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

February 3, 2017

Not Always the Best Shot
At the Statehouse...

Shooting snakes was a hot topic of conversation at the Arizona Capitol this week, as the House approved a bill that creates loopholes in the “Shannon’s Law” restrictions against shooting a firearm within city limits. The new exemptions would allow the use of rat or snake shot to target those unwanted animals – a step that supporters believe is a useful tool and opponents believe is a dangerous precedent. The debate is likely to resume when the Senate considers the bill later in the legislative session.


Many other topics were debated and advanced in the legislative process throughout the week, including a mandate that schools include time for recess, a ban on sentencing breaks or parole for individuals in the country illegally, a repeal of desegregation funds for schools, and an extension of benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program – an item Governor Ducey called for in his State of the State speech. A proposal to allow private providers to lease parts of the Arizona mental hospital also advanced.
A broad coalition of medical professionals and public health advocates rallied behind a proposal to prohibit the use of tobacco products before the age of 21. The bill passed the House Health committee with bipartisan votes both for and against the change. 

The Senate began debate on what is expected to be a controversial measure to establish review and potential elimination of new sales tax exemptions in Arizona. Sales tax exemptions currently include items like the purchase of food, services such as medical care, medical equipment, lottery ticket sales, and many other categories. (The bill would not immediately cut any existing sales tax exemptions.) A bipartisan group of legislators introduced SB 1144 to start a discussion about whether new sales tax exemptions should have an expiration date – like income tax exemptions do, if the legislature does not act to renew them. Democratic supporters believe the bill will bring new revenue into the state, while Republican supporters see it as a method to reduce Arizona income taxes. 
As the session continues, legislators will spend more time on high-profile proposals like education funding, changes to the law that prevents legislators from undoing policies approved by voters, and removal of state regulations on some professions.
More than 900 bills have been introduced and, with only two weeks until the February 17 deadline for a first committee hearing on bills, committee hearings are expected to get longer. Senators can no longer introduce new legislation this year, but House members will continue to propose new bills until February 10.
Budget Update
House and Senate budget committees continued their in-depth briefings on state agency budget needs this week, focusing on the health care entities in Arizona. Legislative budget staff reviewed key AHCCCS programs and the costs of the new minimum wage law in Arizona – factors that will continue to be considered in ongoing budget negotiations. AHCCCS Director Tom Betlach briefly highlighted the uncertainty of impacts from federal action on healthcare, reiterating Governor Ducey’s desire to avoid having “the rug pulled out from under” any Arizonans. Betlach assured committee members that the Governor and his staff continue to communicate with Congress as the federal debate unfolds. 
Representative Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek) urged her colleagues to remember that the debate is not just about the Affordable Care Act. Total federal funding for Arizona health care programs is significant and longstanding, she pointed out, and came from voter-approved decisions long before the ACA was implemented. Betlach agreed that Arizona’s long history of fiscal responsibility in healthcare could end up as a penalty under some federal proposals, as other states obtain more federal funds for their less efficient programs. 
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health & Welfare also heard from the Arizona Department of Health Services, who provided information on their programs and the health-related policy and funding priorities in Governor Ducey’s budget proposal.
These agency budget briefings will continue through this month, as legislators seek to better understand the budget choices facing them in this year’s negotiations. Next week, budget committees will hear from Arizona’s public universities and the Arizona Department of Education.
Priority Legislation
  • 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 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee on February 8.
  • 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.
  • HB 2372 (public benefits; fee waivers; requirements),
The bill would extend TANF benefits from 12 to 24 months under specified circumstances, and would establish a variety of new reporting and fraud prevention measures. It passed the House Committee on Health 9-0.
  • 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 passed the House Federalism, Property Rights and Public Policy Committee 6-3.
  • 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 passed the Senate Appropriations Committee 8-1.
  • 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. It passed the Senate 30-0.
  • 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 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)
The bill would require a delay and specified notification before a lawsuit against ADA compliances. It has not been heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • SB 1301 (family caregiver income tax credit)
The bill would create an income tax credit for the in-home care and support of a family member that requires assistance. It has not been heard in the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committees.
  • SB 1317 (schools; specially designed instruction)
The bill would expand specially designed instruction to include instruction from a person certified by the Board of Education and determined to be an appropriate provider for the student’s needs. It passed the Senate Committee on Education 7-0.
Committee Approves Designated Parking Protection – But Is It Necessary?
A Senate committee gave unanimous approval to a bill intended to prevent motorists from blocking access aisles intended for individuals with disabilities. 
Senator John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), said he sponsored SB 1239 at the request of a retired Phoenix police officer, who believed state law should allow ticketing of drivers who abused the use of hatched areas near designated parking areas. But not everyone believes the new law is necessary.
A representative of Ability 360 expressed concern that the proposal would have negative consequences, minimizing the ability for individuals with disabilities to use the space next to a designated parking spot to get out of their vehicle. Committee testimony also questioned whether current law – including the Americans with Disabilities Act – already prevents the use of areas near designated parking by those without disabilities.
Senator Kavanagh pledged to do additional research on the issue as the bill moves to the full Senate for consideration.

ADA Bill Draws Opposition from Disability Organizations

Sen. Kavanagh is busy with disability-related legislation this session, but SB 1198 is proving almost universally unpopular with Arizonans with disabilities and those who advocate for them. Although the bill will not be heard in the Judiciary committee until February 16 the Arizona Disability Coalition will hold a rally and press conference on the Senate lawn on February 8 to express members' opposition to the measure - which most believe will offer operators of public accommodations incentives to delay compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Arizonans with Disabilities Act.
Committee Unanimously Approves Use of Dyslexia Handbook
The House Committee on Education unanimously approved an effort to expand resources for students with dyslexia this week, sending the bill to the full House for discussion. HB 2202 is the result of a longstanding effort, led by Representative Jill Norgaard (R-Ahwatukee), to broaden resources and knowledge that Arizona schools have about the genetic disability that impacts students across the state. “From district to district, dyslexia is treated differently,” Norgaard observed, and a handbook of guidance and information can help improve the instruction, intervention, and uniformity in services. “I think this is going to yield a huge result.”


Current and past students with dyslexia spoke in support of the bill, urging the legislature to recognize the difference that early detection can make in an individual’s life.

On the Bright Side…

On the Federal Front...

Action Alerts

Major Recent Events

Senate Committee Votes to Approve Carson Nomination

On January 24, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee voted unanimously to recommend that the full Senate confirm Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD is the cabinet level department that oversees federal housing programs and enforces housing laws such as the Fair Housing Act. Visit the Committee web site for more information or to view archived video of the hearing.
Senate Committee Votes to Approve Chao Nomination

On January 24, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee voted unanimously to recommend the full Senate confirm Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation. The Department of Transportation's mission is to "Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future." Visit the Committee web site for more information or to view archived video of the hearing.
Five States Open ABLE Plans

Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nevada, and North Carolina have recently launched qualified ABLE programs, bringing the total number of states with ABLE programs to 16. These programs are open to all eligible individuals nationwide. They are all part of the National ABLE Alliance, which offers six different investment options. The investment options have asset-based fees ranging from 0.34% to 0.38%. Additionally, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nevada, and North Carolina charge a quarterly account maintenance fee of $15, which is discounted by $3.75 for those who receive statements electronically. Kansas, Minnesota, and Nevada all offer an additional $1.25 discount for state residents. Iowa charges an annual account maintenance fee of $40 and an additional $15 fee for those choosing to receive statements by mail. The minimum initial deposit in all six states is $25. More information about state implementation the ABLE Act can be found here.
Major Upcoming Events

Senate to Vote on DeVos Nomination

The full Senate is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education as soon as Monday, February 6. The Department of Education is responsible for implementation of federal education laws including Every Student Succeeds Act, the Higher Education Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Visit the Committee web site for more information or to access live video the day of the hearing.

The Arc of Arizona strongly opposes the confirmation of Betsy DeVos and encourages all Arizonans to contact Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake to urge their "NO" vote. Mrs. DeVos has repeatedly demonstrated her ignorance of federal law related to education for children with disabilities and her disregard for these children and their rights.



​Senate Committee Schedules Vote on Sessions Nomination

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for Attorney General on January 31. The Attorney General is a cabinet level position in charge of the Department of Justice, which is responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. Visit the Committee web site for more information or to access live video the day of the hearing.

2017 Disability Policy Seminar - Registration is Open

The 2017 Disability Policy Seminar will be held in Washington, D.C from from March 20-22. This event is the premier opportunity to cultivate champions on Capitol Hill and advance the grassroots movement for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). For over 40 years, this unique platform has offered the opportunity to come together with passionate advocates, self-advocates, experts, and professionals in the field to learn about key issues.

The first 100 days of any new Administration and Congress are key to setting the agenda-and this year, more than ever, The Arc needs you in Washington, DC to advocate for the lifeline programs. Access to health care and community living supports, bedrock civil rights protections, and the lifeline Medicaid program are at risk. The Disability Policy Seminar is your chance to make an impact! Register here.
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


The Arc of the United States

The Capitol Roundup is provided weekly throughout the Arizona Legislative session as a benefit of Membership in The Arc of Arizona. To continue receiving this publication, visit to start or renew your Membership today!