As expected, Governor Ducey signed two harmful COVID-19-related bills last week. HB2616 and HB2498 restrict the ability of governmental entities to require mitigation measures, the first one on school masks and the second on vaccines. These are just two of several pieces of legislation related to COVID-19 this year. We expect additional bills to pass and be rubber stamped by Ducey in the coming days/weeks.

For example, the House gave their final approval to SB1009 last week. That bill will restrict future governors to 120 days of public health emergency authority (amending ARS 26-303). After that, the state legislature would need to reauthorize additional extensions (in 30-day increments). The bill also restricts future ADHS directors to the same authority timeframe (the ARS 36-787 authority).

Most governors protect the executive authority of their successors while they’re in office. Ducey has shown no such proclivity, and he will sign it this coming week. He already signed a bill very similar to SB1009 in last year’s budget (fortunately the AZ Supreme Court threw out that provision on procedural grounds). 

There was a snippet of good news last week. SB1162 opioid prescriptions; intractable pain; exceptions was signed, providing some exceptions from some of the restrictions in the 2018 Opioid Epidemic Act for persons in chronic/intractable pain was passed and signed into law: Chronic pain exception added to Arizona opioid law.

Still no sign of progress in the very important SB1716 which would move operation of the Arizona State Hospital out of the ADHS. The Superintendent would report to a 5 member governing board. This one is important because of the tremendous mission conflict with the current set up in which ADHS both runs and ‘regulates’ ASH (the fox watching the henhouse). It needs to be heard in House Rules and then go to the floor. Rules is meeting on Monday afternoon but sadly SB1716 isn’t on the agenda. 


Bill Overview: Select Bills AzPHA is Supporting

Maternal/Child Health

SB1272 AHCCCS; postpartum care; eligibility; Passed Senate 26-2; Still needs House Rules and Floor Vote & Built into the Budget

Access to Care

HB2144 health insurance coverage; biomarker testing Passed House; Passed Senate Amended, Sent back to House

Special Needs

HB2157 supplemental appropriations; community-based services SIGNED

HB2113 developmental disabilities; Down syndrome SIGNED

HB2111 appropriation; healthy families program – Passed house 40-17; Waiting for Senate Rules Committee

Social Determinants

HB2060 supplemental nutrition assistance program; Passed House 44-15; Passed Senate Health 7-1. Still Needs Senate Rules & Senate Floor

HB2484 forcible entry; detainer; filing fee Passed House 59-0; SIGNED


HB2255 fireworks use, limitations, prohibition Passed House. Ready for Senate Floor

State Hospital/Behavioral Health

SB1716 state hospital; governing board; governance Passed Senate 27-0; Still needs House Rules & Floor

SB1444 state hospital; administration; oversight Passed Senate; Passed House Health; Rules then Floor

SB1641 health care institutions; civil penalties Passed Senate 28-0. Failed in House Appropriations. DEAD

SB1162  opioid prescriptions; intractable pain; exceptions SIGNED

SB1210 mentally ill; transportation; evaluation; treatment; Passed Senate. Passed House (amended) and sent back to Senate

Bill Overview: Select Bills AzPHA Is Opposing

Vaccines/Disease Control

HB2086 ADHS; school immunizations; exclusions Passed House 31-28; Ready for Senate Floor vote

SB1009 state of emergency; executive powers Passed Senate 16-13; Passed House 31-27. Sent to Governor for an Inevitable Rubber Stamp

HB2453 mask requirement; prohibition Passed House 31-28. Ready for Senate Floor Vote

HB2616 mask mandates; minors; parental consent SIGNED 

HB2161 parental rights; schools; educational records On Governor’s Desk Waiting for Rubber Stamp

HB2498 COVID-19; vaccination requirements; prohibition. SIGNED

Social Determinants

SB1164 – abortion; gestational age; limit SIGNED


SB1175– noncustodial federal monies; appropriation Passed Senate 16-13; Ready for House Floor