That's a Wrap!


The Capitol Roundup

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

May 18, 2017

That's a Wrap!
At the Statehouse...

​The legislature wrapped up its 2017 regular legislative session last week, adjourning work on Wednesday – the 122nd day.  A total of 1,180 bills, ballot referrals, memorials, and resolutions were introduced; more than 300 have been enacted. Governor Ducey has until May 20 to finalize action on the more than 30 bills still on his desk.


Among the bills signed into law in the last week of session were a protection for those who break into cars to rescue kids or dogs, a change to fuel standards for vehicles, and a requirement that the state reduce its vehicles and instead use private transportation companies.

In the final days of the session, legislators processed a variety of proposals, including some that had been dormant in committees for weeks. Among the approved bills were an authorization for
hemp farming in Arizona, a protection for the free speech of student journalists, an expansion of public benefit funding for those who care for foster children, and a requirement that the Governor’s appointees to law enforcement or public safety oversight positions undergo background checks. Legislators also approved the continuation of tax incentives for research and development and job creation activities, and created a new tax break for airplane owners and a $10 million increase in tax credits for some investments in small businesses.
Education debates dominated the entire session, and legislators ended their work with two additional education policy changes. One allows general education teachers and other certificated personnel to deliver special education services to students with special needs in collaboration with special education professionals. Another adjusts how high schools calculate student attendance for purposes of state funding calculations. 
An amendment would have directed schools to use at least half of their annual inflation increases under the state’s education funding formula to increase teacher salaries. The proposal was not put to a vote, however. Neither was a measure that would have required schools to report on how they spent funding from the voter-approved Proposition 123.
After months of debate, the legislature approved the Governor’s proposal to reinstate the two-year Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefit that was cut to one year in a previous budget. Though members of both parties supported the extension, they disagreed on additional reporting, fraud prevention, and penalties that were also included in the bill. In the final act of the session, the Senate narrowly approved the measure, along with a bill to remove finger imaging requirements for TANF applications.
The revival of bills that had previously stalled resulted in a higher rate of bills failing in both the House and Senate, as well. Among the proposals that failed to advance were the creation of a memorial to the Assyrian Christian Genocide, altered tax benefits for donations to funds that aid veterans, and a change to the process a landlord may go through to remove a renter’s guest.
Despite intense disagreements and passionate debates in the House and Senate throughout the year, the legislative session ended quietly in a collegial atmosphere. The session held political victories for Governor Doug Ducey, who achieved many of the fiscal and policy priorities outlined in his State of the State speech in January. And legislators of both parties hailed their House and Senate leaders who, despite disagreements behind the scenes, governed a session that was widely viewed as a smooth, respectful process.
What’s Next?
There is no foreseeable special legislative session, though ongoing litigation and political dynamics could require the Governor to seek legislative action. Unlike the last few sessions, the legislature created very few study committees or interim panels to add new legislative responsibilities, although we expect ad hoc committees to be appointed by House and Senate leadership to examine issues for future sessions. Work will certainly continue as state government moves on after the legislature’s adjournment.
Oversight committees will review the progress and actions of the Department of Child Services, as well as large expenses and capital projects approved in the state budget. State agencies will complete reports mandated by budget and legislative changes. The Governor’s Regulatory Review Council will regularly convene to consider and approve proposed changes to state rules, which govern the details of how new laws are implemented. Legislative health policy committees will meet this fall to consider sunrise proposals that seek to alter scope of practice statutes for health care professionals. And state leaders will closely follow Congressional debates on federal health care changes, which could dramatically impact state funding and Medicaid programs.
Although the 2018 election may seem far away, the campaigning will continue throughout this year as candidates and citizen initiative advocates seek to win voters.
Final Outcome of Priority Legislation
  • HB 2208 (inhalers; administration; schools; authorized entities)
The bill increases authorities for schools to offer inhalers to students when permitted to do so by a physician. It was signed into law by the Governor. (Chapter 58)
  • HB 2209 (family caregiver income tax credit)
The bill would have created a new tax credit to provide up to $1,000 in credit for individuals who care for a family member, if that individual earned less than $75,000 a year. It passed the House Ways and Means Committee on a 7-2 vote but did not advance in the House.
  • HB 2372 (public benefits; fee waivers; requirements)
The bill extends TANF benefits from 12 to 24 months under a long list of requirements and restrictions. It passed the Senate 17-12, and the Governor is expected to sign it.
  • HB 2408 (disability parking; wheelchair uses)
The bill would have required some van-accessible parking spaces to be limited only to wheelchair users. It passed the House 33-25 but was held in a Senate committee.
  • HB2504 (public accommodation; disability; discrimination; sanctions)
The bill would have authorized a court to impose a sanction on a plaintiff if an action or series of actions are brought for the primary purpose of getting payment from the defendant due to the costs of defending the action in court. It did not advance in the House.
  • HCR 2013 (convention; balanced federal budget)
The referral adds Arizona to the list of states calling for a Constitutional convention to pass a balanced federal budget amendment. It was approved by the House and Senate and filed with the Secretary of State. Two other convention-related bills, HCR 2010 and HCR 2022, also passed and were filed with the Secretary of State.
  • SB 1030 (AHCCCS; covered services; occupational therapy)
The bill would have expanded AHCCCS coverage to include occupational therapy. This bill did not advance because the expansion was included in the state budget.
  • SB 1031 (dangerous; incompetent defendants; study committee)
The bill creates 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 was signed into law by the Governor. (Chapter 103)
  • SB 1037 (special education; audit; cost study)
The bill would have required the Arizona Auditor General to do an audit of a representative sample of 60 special education programs in Arizona. It did not advance in the House.
  • SB 1102 (appropriations; DES; developmental disabilities)
The bill would have given money for ALTCS to increase reimbursement rates for services through the Division of Developmental Disabilities. (The bill did not include an amount of money.) It was never heard in a committee. However, the state budget appropriated $2 million to DES for one-time cost increases for room and board costs for the Division of Developmental Disabilities, and provided $33 million to DES for increased costs associated with wage increases required by Proposition 206.
  • SB 1103 (appropriation; nonmedical services; aging)
The bill would have given funds to DES for home and community-based services from Area Agencies on Aging. (The bill did not include an amount of money.)  It was never heard in a committee. However, the state budget appropriated $700,000 for the upcoming fiscal year for this purpose.
  • SB 1104 (appropriations; ALTCS; elderly; physical disabilities)
The bill would have given funds to ALTCS to increase payment to providers for services to the elderly and persons with disabilities. It was never heard in a committee. However, the state budget appropriated $9.7 million to AHCCCS for the upcoming fiscal year for this purpose.
  • SB 1198 (public accommodation; services; civil actions)
The bill would have required a delay and specified notification before a lawsuit targeting ADA non-compliance. It failed the House Committee on Judiciary & Public Safety.
  • SB 1317 (schools; specially designed instruction)
The bill allows specially designed instruction aligned with an IEP to be delivered by general education teachers or other certified personnel, and requires the State Board of Education to amend its rules to eliminate confusion on the instruction options for students with special needs. It passed the House 55-0 and awaits the Governor’s action.
  • SB 1406 (public accommodation; services; civil actions)
The bill establishes a “cure period” timeframe and detailed requirements an individual with a disability must follow 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 AzDA requirements. It was signed into law by the Governor. (Chapter 175)

​On the Federal Front...

Senate Forms Working Groups to Revise American Health Care Act
With the House passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the bill is now being reviewed in the Senate. The Senate has formed a 13-member working group composed of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), and Senators John Thune (R-SD), John Barrasso (R-WY), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Pat Toomey (R-PA). Major areas of disagreement between Senate Republicans include the structure of tax credits, Medicaid per-capita caps, Medicaid expansion, essential health benefits, and pre-existing conditions. The Arc has released a fact sheet on the harmful impact of the AHCA on people with disabilities. The Congressional Budget Office is expected to provide cost information on the AHCA early in the week of May 22.
Click here to watch the latest in The Arc's series of videos on the critical importance of health care and Medicaid to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Please share with your networks.
Massachusetts and Missouri Launch ABLE Programs
Massachusetts and Missouri have launched qualified ABLE programs, bringing the total number of states with ABLE programs to 21. Massachusetts's program (The Attainable Savings Plan) is open to all eligible individuals nationwide, has eight different investment options, has a minimum initial deposit requirement of $50, and charges an annual fee of $30 as well as asset-based fees ranging from 0.57% to 0.94%.
Missouri's program (MO ABLE) is currently only open to state residents, has five different investment options, a minimum initial contribution requirement of $50, a monthly fee of $3.50, and asset-based fees ranging from 0.19% to 0.34%. More information about state implementation of the ABLE Act can be found here. General information about ABLE programs can be found in the National Policy Matters: ABLE Accounts for People with Disabilities here.
Caregiver Strategy Bill Passed by Senate Committee
On May 11, the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee passed the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S. 1028) by unanimous voice vote. This bipartisan bill was introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Michael Bennet (D-CO). The Arc supports this bill to implement the recommendation of the federal Commission on Long-Term Care for the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers. The bill would create an advisory body to bring together relevant federal agencies and others from the private and public sectors. The advisory body is charged with identifying specific actions that government, communities, providers, employers, and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers.
​​Nominate Your Policy Catalyst Today!
We want to hear from you about the change-makers in the policy arena! The Arc's Catalyst Awards were created to recognize individuals, businesses, and other organizations that are catalysts for achievement in the lives of people with I/DD. Will you help us recognize the next advocacy powerhouse? In 2015 during the inaugural awards, the Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (or ABLE) was awarded Public Policy Victory of the Year. In 2016, Patti Saylor won Community Advocate of the Year for her tireless and fearless advocacy at both state and federal levels of government after the death of her son, Ethan. This year's categories include: community advocate of the year, local government advocate, state government advocate, federal government advocate, and public policy victory of the year (state or national). Know someone who deserves to be recognized? Nominate them today! Deadline: May 26, 2017.

Prepared by:
Peters, Cannata & Moody, PLC

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