This was the final week for bills to be heard in their chamber of origin in their assigned committee. Those that didn’t get heard this week are essentially dead.  However, they can always be resurrected as a Strike All amendment later in the session.

Here’s the summary file with the summary of the action this far and below is a little description about this week’s action (it was a busy week). 

Good Bills

SB1493 Pharmacists; Dispensing Hormonal Contraceptives – AzPHA Supports.  This good bill passed the Senate this week.  It was amended slightly to make it clear that county health department staff (doctors) can write the Standing Order in addition to the ADHS.  This is a good bill that’s consistent with our Resolution Supporting Universal Access to Contraception 

SB 1167 Graduate Medical Education – AzPHA Supports.  Passed the full Senate this week.

SB 1086Long Term Care Surveyors- AzPHA Supports.  Passed Senate Appropriations this week.

HB 1571 Newborn Screening Fund – AzPHA Supports.  This got a pass recommendation from the Senate Health Committee this week. 

SB1028  Public Health Surveillance – AzPHA Supports. This bill was on the agenda in Senate Health this week but for some reason was held and is now essentially dead.

HB 2244 Dental; Native Americans –  AzPHA Supports. Passed House Appropriations this week and House Health back in January.

HB2608  Overdose Prevention & Harm Reduction – AzPHA Supports.  Got a pass recommendation from the House Health Committee (8-0) last week and passed House Rules this week.

HB 2549 Adult Protective Services Audit – AzPHA Supports.  Passed both House Health and House Appropriations Committees this week.

HB 2784 Medical Marijuana Research – AzPHA Supports.  The bill is consistent with our Resolution on this topic and passed the House Health Committee Thursday.

HB 2550 ADHS Licensing SurveyorsAzPHA Supports. The bill is consistent with our Resolution on this topic and passed the House Health Committee Thursday

Bad Bills

HB 2453  Exemption, Food Code Wineries – AzPHA OpposesPassed the full house this week.

HB 2739 Liquor Omnibus- AzPHA Opposes.  Passed the commerce committee and Rules is next.


Here’s the List of Bills that We’re for and Against & their Status

This is the last week for bills to be heard in Committee in their Chamber of Origin.  The Bills that didn’t get heard in time have a strike-through on them. Of course, they could come back as a strike all amendment, but for now the lined-out Bills look dead.

Tobacco Control

HB2636 &SB1400  Tobacco Retail Licensing – AzPHA Supports

This bill (sponsored by Representative Blackman) would facilitate a licensing system for stores that wish to sell tobacco products including e-cigarettes.  It also references the amendment to federal FDA law that raises the tobacco sale age to 21.  This bill would be helpful to ensure compliance with the new federal age standard. The licensing system would be coordinated by the ADHS and begin on January 1, 2022.

HB2637   Tobacco Definition –  AzPHA Supports

This bill (sponsored by Representative Blackman) will define electronic cigarettes as a tobacco product for the all purposes of state law (although I don’t think that this would extend for tax purposes although I’m not sure yet).

HB2173   Smoke Free AZ Act Amendments –  AzPHA Supports

This bill sponsored by Representative Kavanagh would amend the voter approved Smoke Free Arizona Act to include electronic cigarettes.  Because this amends a voter approved initiative it will need a super-majority vote in the legislature.


HB2050 Immunizations; Parental Control – AzPHA Opposes

This (Fillmore) bill would essentially get rid of the current system by which schools track whether students are vaccinated or not.  Currently, parents decide whether to vaccinate their children and schools can’t require students to receive the recommended immunizations OR refuse to admit or otherwise penalize a student because the student has not received the recommended immunizations as long as the parent signs a personal exemption. Bad bill.

HB2486  Immunization Requirements – AzPHA Opposes

This bill would basically do away with the FDA vaccine approval process and replace it with criteria set by this law for the purposes of implementing vaccination requirements.  The FDA has a rigorous approval protocol that includes all the core elements to determine whether they are safe and effective.  The data are reviewed by independent panels and approved using rigorous protocols.

This bill adds a series of additional requirements that, unless met, mean that a vaccine is eliminated from any vaccination requirement. It’s basically an IED to get completely rid of all vaccination requirements.  Bad bill.

SB 1267  School Immunization Rate Reporting – AzPHA Supports

This common-sense Carter bill would require schools to post the immunization rates on their school website.

Oral Health

HB 2244 Dental; Native Americans –  AzPHA Supports

This bill would require AHCCCS to seek federal authorization to reimburse IHS and tribal facilities to cover the cost of adult dental services that are eligible for a federal medical assistance percentage of 100%.  Authorizes AHCCCS to seek CMS approval to reimburse Indian health care dental providers that receive 100% FMAP for the cost of dental services. Passed House Health 9-0 in late January.

HB2423, SB1170 & HB2727  AHCCCS Dental for Pregnant Women –  AzPHA Supports

These bills from Rep. Butler & Sen Carter would expand oral health coverage for pregnant women enrolled in AHCCCS to include preventive and other services.  This is a terrific bill for public health because a mom’s oral health status is directly linked to birth outcomes.  A new systematic review found a clear relationship between periodontal disease and pre-term birth, and low birth weight.  HB 2727 Received a unanimous pass recommendation from House Health Committee.

HB2535 Preventive Dental Care (AHCCCS) – AzPHA Supports

This bill from Representative Shah would boost the adult oral health coverage for Medicaid members to include two regular cleanings, fluoride 15 treatment, and one set of X-rays annually.  We are in support of this common-sense bill.

Maternal & Child Health

SB1472   Maternal Health; Postpartum Visits – AzPHA Supports

This is a terrific bill from Senator Carter that would direct AHCCCS to require their contracted health plans to increase post-partum visits by new moms and increases the appropriation that would be required to pay for this important initiative.  There are a ton of important physical and behavioral health reasons to implement this important initiative.  Passed the Senate Health Committee.

SB 1493  Pharmacists; Dispensing Hormonal Contraceptives – AzPHA Supports

This is a bill we support which would allow a pharmacist to dispense a self-administered hormonal contraceptive to a person 18 or over pursuant to a standing order.  There are checks and balances in this statute to ensure that best practices are used.  This is a net public health benefit as teen births are the number one cause of inter-generational poverty and the bad health outcomes that result.  Passed the full Senate.

HB2670 Doulas; Voluntary Certification – AzPHA Supports

This bill would establish a voluntary certification process for a person to “practice as a certified community doula.” The ADHS would write the rules and run the program.  There’s good evidence that doulas can improve birth outcomes while reducing delivery costs. Here’s an Issue Brief that provides documentation. This Bill passed the House Health Committee 9-0 on 2/6.

HB 1571Newborn Screening Fund – AzPHA Supports.

Increases the newborn screening fees from to $117 for both screening tests (one is at birth and the second is at about 2 weeks after birth.  The Arizona State Public Health Laboratory currently screens every newborn in Arizona for 31 different conditions.  The new combined fee will provide more efficiency in collections and also provide additional resources for 2 new recommended tests.   This got a pass recommendation from the Senate Health Committee Thursday. 

Here’s a link to our weekly bill tracking spreadsheet thanks to our crack group of policy interns this year. Interesting to note that the bills that would further erode vaccination coverage haven’t been scheduled for a hearing next week. That doesn’t mean they’re kaput, but it’s a good sign.

Social Determinants

HB2104 Child Care Assistance and Training – AzPHA Supports

This bill would let ADES waive work requirements for people enrolled full time in an accredited educational institution in order to continue to provide supplemental child care assistance subsidies for the dependent child.  Unanimously passed House Health Committee.

Disease Control

SB 1028   Public Health Surveillance – AzPHA Supports

Adds “an emerging public health threat to the list of things that can trigger ADHS enhanced surveillance orders and compliance with mandatory public health interventions.  The idea is that the bill would provide enhanced surveillance authority for emerging public health threats that aren’t yet a full public health emergency- along the lines of doing enhanced surveillance when persons were getting severe lung illnesses from the bootleg vaping products that contained vitamin e acetate.  Received a pass recommendation from the Senate Health Committee.


SB 1167 Graduate Medical Education – AzPHA Supports

This important bill from Sen Carter would set up a program to reimburse primary care residency programs and qualifying Community Health Centers.  This bill is important because it addresses the shortages that we face in rural and under-served areas by setting up residency programs that will have a long-term positive impact on access to care (especially primary care) in these areas. Passed the full Senate.

HB 2296     Native American AHEC – AzPHA Supports

This bill would create a sixth Area Health Education Center (AHEC) that will focus on the Indian Health System. AHECs are committed to expanding the health care workforce, while maximizing diversity and facilitating distribution, especially in rural and under-served communities and offer creative, hands-on and innovative health career curriculum for pre-college level students.  It passed the House Education Committee.

Vulnerable Populations

 HB2608   Overdose Prevention & Harm Reduction – AzPHA Supports

This bill would facilitate evidence best practices that slow the spread of blood-borne pathogens and engage injection drug users in treatment.  It’s currently a felony to provide syringes to injection drug users via a syringe access program even though these programs are evidence-based programs that reduce the spread of Hepatitis C, HIV and other blood-borne pathogens and engage injection drug users in treatment. 

We have supported bills like this for the last several years, but they have yet to be successful.  This Bill got a pass recommendation from the House Health Committee (8-0). On to the Rules Committee then the House floor.

HB 2549 Adult Protective Services Audit – AzPHA Supports

A recent report from the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council has identified several critical shortcomings in the performance of the Adult Protective Services program at the Arizona Department of Economic Security. This bill would charge the Auditor General’s Office with contracting for an independent evaluation of APS’ performance- an evaluation that is sorely needed.  It includes a $300K appropriation to conduct the review.  Passed the House Health Committee last week.

SB 1086 Licensing Surveyors –  AzPHA Supports

Appropriates $3M & 44 staff positions in FY 2021 for additional (ADHS) long-term care facility surveyors.  Normally, these services would be paid for via a licensing fee.  In this case, the bill contemplates a general fund appropriation.  The genesis of this bill is as a result of the 2019 Auditor General’s Report that found the ADHS is not adequately following up on complaints at skilled nursing facilities in Arizona. Passed Senate Health 8-0 in late January.

HB 2031   School Marshals – AzPHA Opposes

Lawmakers just introduced a new bill that would bring guns into Arizona schools.  HB 2031 would create a school marshal program that would allow school employees across Arizona to carry concealed firearms on school grounds, during school hours.  There is no evidence in the literature that we could find to demonstrate that this is an evidence-based intervention to prevent violence and injury in schools so we are opposing the measure.

SB 1164    Severe Threat Order of Protection – AzPHA Supports

This bill would create a new kind of severe threat order of protection (with judicial review) and place new requirements for persons for who the orders have been issued including prohibiting the person from buying or having a firearm during the order’s duration.

SB 1169 School Health Program – AzPHA Supports

This bill from Sen Carter would support the costs of placing nurses and psychologists in Arizona public schools. The bill includes a detailed list of application standards for schools.

SB 1397 Health Insurance; Pre-existing conditions – Neutral 

This bill provides a partial backstop in case the US Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act. It would prohibit health insurers from offering health insurance plans that exclude people with pre- existing conditions from coverage.

It is silent on whether people with pre-existing conditions could be charged higher premiums, which is why we’re neutral on the bill.  We’d like to see it amended so that it includes Community Pricing. The bill got a pass recommendation from the Senate Finance Committee last week (9-0). Hopefully it’ll eventually be amended to include community pricing.

HB 2788 Pre-existing Conditions; Essential Benefits

This bill from Rep. Butler would provide a backstop in case the US Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act. It would prohibit health insurers from offering health insurance plans that exclude people with pre-existing conditions from coverage and would not allow insurers to charge more for people with pre-existing conditions. It would also require coverage for the 10 essential health benefits outlined in the ACA.

Nutrition & Food Safety

SB1221   SNAP; benefit match – AzPHA Supports

This bill would direct an appropriation of $800K to the ADES to develop the infrastructure to create a produce incentive program within SNAP (food stamps) and to help enrollees to buy Arizona grown fruits and vegetables.Passed Senate Finance Committee.

HB 2739 Liquor Omnibus

Exempts alcoholic beverages that are commercially produced by a licensed producer from laws and rules relating to the Department of Health Services and Pure Food Control (the state food code). Passed the commerce committee and Rules is next.

HB 2453  Exemption, Food Code Wineries

Arizona law already exempts certain food or drinks from the state food code requirements that are: a) Not potentially hazardous; b) Offered at a child care facility and limited to prepackaged food that is not potentially hazardous and whole fruits and vegetables; and c) Offered at locations that sell only commercially prepackaged food or drink that is not potentially hazardous. (A.R.S. § 36-136). 

This bill would extend the exemptions to liquor, wine or beer that is produced and served on the premises.  In other words- bars that only serve booze and pre-packaged foods would no longer require a food establishment license.  Counties would no longer have any authority over making sure bar bathrooms are sanitary or how glassware is washed and sanitized.  Also, the bathrooms would be unregulated.  Passed the full House this week.