Time is Money, Folks!

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The Capitol Roundup

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

April 21, 2017


Time is Money, Folks!
At the Statehouse...

The end of the 2017 legislative session is likely near, though progress continues to slow to a crawl at the Capitol. Legislators’ attention centers almost entirely on behind-the-scenes budget negotiations; with just over 100 bills still to be considered this year, there is little non-budget work to consume lawmakers’ time. Tuesday marked the 100th day of the session – by rule, the date at which the session should end. Legislative leaders extended that goal, and now have one week to continue work before legislative per diem reimbursements are reduced.

2018 election dynamics continued to take shape this week, as legislative candidates filed their campaign papers and numerous candidates registered to challenge Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas.


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In the limited time spent considering bills this week, legislators advanced a proposal to alter teacher certification requirements and allow a certification that reflects “subject matter expert” knowledge from other training and experiences. Critics say the change will reduce teacher qualifications in Arizona; the Governor believes it will allow people with substantial expertise to share their knowledge in the classroom.

A conference committee amended a proposal to expand the number of teachers that can instruct students with special needs. The final version of the bill directs the State Board of Education to amend its rules concerning certified special education personnel to remove confusion; it now awaits one more vote in both the House and Senate.
Support from the Speaker of the House allowed a ban on texting for teenage drivers and a mandate for computer coding education to advance. The Senate passed a proposal to expand the jurisdiction of college security officers, and both the House and Senate continued to advance limitations on required background checks for private gun sales.

The House gave final approval to a bill that would ensure kids can use sunscreen in schools and camps – a step that could put Arizona ahead of other states in the fight for skin protection.

The legislature has not engaged in many high-profile debates on the Department of Child Safety this year, as the agency continues to reduce investigatory backlogs. But deep division on the work of the agency still exists, and became evident in a tense floor debate this week. Amendments that would have added specific limitations and directions for DCS processes stalled the progress of a bill that would establish a new legislative committee to oversee DCS operations and outcomes.

Both the House and Senate unanimously approved a bill to prevent surprise medical billings, and a proposal that limits the time a member of a health regulatory board can serve, and prescribes other authorities and oversight responsibilities of the boards.

This week, the Governor signed laws that strengthen the fight against child sex trafficking, outline the audio and video capabilities required for telemedicine services, enhance penalties for violence against police officers, and green light the growlers (and other servings of alcohol). The Governor has enacted a total of 177 bills this year, and vetoed four.
 
Budget Update

Budget progress is uncertain, and legislators have differing views on how close state leaders are to an agreement that will allow the legislative session to come to a close. Major points of disagreement seem to still include the Governor’s desire for more funding for university facilities and research, though it is also clear that a legislative majority supports a pay increase for public school teachers that is larger than the one proposed by Governor Ducey.

Though non-budget legislation continues to move, some proposals have become connected to the budget negotiations. Issues like changes to length and penalties of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits and fees for newborn disease screening are now being discussed in the context of the state’s financial plan for the coming year.
 
Priority Legislation
  • HB 2372 (public benefits; fee waivers; requirements)
The bill would extend TANF benefits from 12 to 24 months under a long list of requirements and restrictions; it did not advance this week – a fact that may be connected to budget negotiations.
  • SB 1030 (AHCCCS; covered services; occupational therapy)
The bill would expand AHCCCS coverage to include occupational therapy. It unanimously passed the House Committee on Health last month but did not advance this week; it may be included in ongoing budget negotiations.
  • SB 1037 (special education; audit; cost study)
The bill would require the Arizona Auditor General to do an audit of a representative sample of 60 special education programs in Arizona. It did not advance this week.
  • SB 1317 (schools; specially designed instruction)
The bill was approved by a conference committee, which removed much of the underlying bill and instead allowed specially designed instruction aligned with an IEP to be delivered by general education teachers or other certified personnel. The proposal still requires the State Board of Education to amend its rules to eliminate confusion on the instruction options for students with special needs. The bill now awaits a final vote in the House and Senate.
  • SB 1406 (public accommodation; services; civil actions)
The House amended the bill to establish a “cure period” timeframe and detailed requirements an individual with a disability must file before taking legal action against a business that does not comply with the requirements of the Arizonans with Disabilities Act. It also exempts websites from ADA requirements. The bill passed the House 38-20 and the Senate 18-11, and was signed into law by Governor Ducey.
 
Arizona Enacts ADA Limits Despite Concern from Individuals with Disabilities

After months – and even years – of negotiations and work to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities, this week state leaders approved a bill that overrode compromise efforts and enacted new restrictions on rights under Arizona’s laws regarding access for people with disabilities.

SB 1406 was the vehicle for a compromise agreement between individuals with disabilities and business associations seeking a halt to high numbers of lawsuits for parking lot violations of the Arizonans with Disabilities Act. Compromise was sought after an earlier bill (SB 1198) failed in a House committee. The compromise was short-lived, however, and the House and Senate approved a final version that violated the points of agreement reached during negotiations.

The final version of the bill establishes a “cure period,” allowing businesses to delay legal enforcement of AZDA protections, and requires an individual aggrieved by an AZDA violation to notify the business owner in writing prior to taking legal action. It outlines additional restrictions, and exempts websites from AZDA compliance.

The enacted bill drew widespread media attention, as well as sharp criticism:
On the Bright Side…

​The conversation about mental health is unfolding in unusual, high-profile ways.

​On the Federal Front...


Congressional Recess -- April 10-28
Recent Events updates will resume next week

Announcements 

FINDS Survey Deadline This month!

We need your input and help completing this crucial survey! 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. We are inviting family or unrelated caregivers aged 18 years or older who provide frequent primary support to a person with an I/DD to participate. The results of the 2010 Survey provided unique insight into the growing gaps in education, employment, and other life-span activities that exist between persons with disabilities and their non-disabled peers, which has informed further dialogue and policy changes at the Federal and State levels. Take the survey and share it widely in your networksDeadline for completion has been extended to April 30.



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

The Arc of Arizona
www.arcarizona.org

and

The Arc of the United States

www.thearc.org


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 www.arcarizona.org/become-a-member to start or renew your Membership today!