This week marks the beginning of the 2020 legislative session. The kickoff will be the Governor’s address to the legislature where he’ll outline what he sees as priorities.
Our Advocacy Approach
AzPHA will follow the session closely and express our support or opposition to bills based on a simple core principle… we support bills that will have a positive impact on public health especially when they are evidence-based or evidence-informed. We will oppose bills that are likely to have a negative impact on public health. Our support or opposition to bills is located on the https://www.azleg.gov/ site under RTS Current Bill Positions (a summary of the system went out in last week’s update).
We have a host of Resolutions that also guide our advocacy which are posted on the members only website. The fact that we have Resolutions on so many core public health priorities make it easy for us to be swift with our support or opposition. Our Resolutions go all the way back to the 1930s. They are initiated by either the Board or our members and all resolutions have been voted on and approved by our members.
Our Public Health Policy Committee has a discussion board on Basecamp and that’s also where we post information, research and documents related to public health policy. Let me know if you’d like to sign up for that Basecamp site at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our policy committee also has conference calls every other Monday starting tomorrow at 11 am. The call-in number is 641.715.3580 and the Code is 389388.
Harmful Reproductive Health Education Bill
We haven’t started our full review of bills as most have not yet been proposed. We have, however, signed up in opposition to SB1082 which would make it more difficult for schools to provide evidence-based and age appropriate reproductive health education. The bill proposes to prohibit age appropriate reproductive health education before 8th grade and would place additional administrative barriers on schools that will discourage them providing this important curriculum topic.
Here’s our statement in the RTS system on the Bill:
Teen births are the number one cause of inter-generational poverty resulting in poor health outcomes and avoidable reliance on public benefits. Evidence-based and age appropriate reproductive health education in schools reduces teen births- and is an important tool to reduce teen births and inter-generational poverty.
This bill includes burdensome administrative requirements that will discourage school districts from providing reproductive health education and will increase teen births and the resulting poverty, poor health outcomes and reliance on public benefits.
For example, Texas has a very restrictive reproductive health school requirement (similar to those in this Bill) and also has among the country’s highest teen birth rate.