The State Senate this afternoon passed SB 1386, a bill providing money for an independent agency to conduct an external review of Child Protective Services CPS). The bill passed 29-0, and now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The idea behind the bill is to bring in an outside group to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the state’s child welfare system, identifying best practices used in other states and determining recommendations for improving the delivery of CPS in Arizona.
This bill follows the discovery last fall that Child Protective Services ignored thousands of reports of possible child neglect. In January lawmakers approved more than $5 million in new spending for more CPS case workers. Governor Brewer has also put together a team of child welfare experts to determine legislation to further improve the agency.
“This bill does nothing to interfere with ongoing efforts to improve child welfare in Arizona. In fact, it complements it,” said President Andy Biggs, sponsor of SB 1386.”I think it’s a mistake to just have current CPS staff determine the future of CPS. Arizona has a structural problem with the child welfare system. Other states are not seeing this level of failure.”
“I think we are letting down the children of Arizona if we don’t pursue a full review, and find out what works in other states and how we can bring those effective practices to Arizona.”
SB 1386 provides $250,000 for the outside review.
Our View: Andy Biggs’ bill should win quick approval
By Editorial board The Republic | azcentral.com Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:32 PM
Senate President Andy Biggs is pushing a bill to bring in outside experts to review Arizona’s child-welfare system. It’s a good idea that won unanimous approval from the Senate Health and Human Services Committee last week. Today, it should pass the Senate Appropriations Committee.
It makes sense to spend $250,000 on a fresh look at the long-troubled agency that is now called the Division of Child Safety and Family Services. National experts who specialize in this field can compare what Arizona is doing to best practices from around the country.
To read the rest of the editorial, click here:
PHOENIX — Less than 30 words described Republican State Sen. Gail Griffin’s view of what encapsulates good government and her responsibilities as an elected official.
The wording of the Second Section of Article 2 of the Arizona Constitution succinctly describes the powers of the state government and of the legislators, said Griffin, who is the Senate President pro tem.
Holding up a copy of the section’s text which reads: “All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights,” she said any action by the state government, especially legislators, which violates those words are constitutionally not allowed.
To read more of this profile of Senator Griffin, click here:
President Biggs sits down with House Speaker Tobin for their monthly discussion of what’s happening down at the State Capitol on Arizona Horizon.
In addition to continuing rising costs of health care, another concern for patients in Arizona is the wildly different costs of the same procedure, depending on where you go for the procedure. Now, a new law is calling attention to these varying costs.
Beginning on January 1st, hospitals and healthcare providers in Arizona are now required to post the out-of-pocket costs for some of their most common procedures. As required by HB 2045, signed into law last June by Governor Brewer, healthcare providers must post the direct pay cost for their 25 most common services and hospitals are required to post the prices for their 50 most common services. Senator Nancy Barto (R-15) sponsored the amendment to the bill that put in place these requirements.
In a study done by the University of California San Francisco, healthcare costs vary widely between states and even between communities. For example, a patient could pay $21,000 to treat heart failure in Denver, Colorado or $9,000 for the same procedure in Jackson, Mississippi. The HealthCare Incentives Improvement Institute gave Arizona an “F” rating for healthcare transparency. “Arizonans simply don’t know what they could be paying for a procedure if they are paying for it themselves or through a Health Savings Account. All they know is what their co-pay is,” says Senator Barto, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.
In an attempt to fix this, Senator Barto followed the lead of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, which began posting their prices for services online five years ago. This, according to the New York Times, has led other healthcare providers in the area to post their prices, driving down costs.
Senator Barto’s goal is to lower the enormous cost of healthcare for Arizonans. “With more people having higher deductibles or not having insurance altogether, knowing how much an operation or procedures costs is incredibly important. How can we lower medical bills if patients are buying health care with no idea what it costs? Now that the bill has passed, people need to make sure that their healthcare providers are following the law and they are getting the true cost of their healthcare.”
Senator Yee recently took part in a nationally televised panel at the Republican National Committee Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. The Senator attended the conference so she could be honored as one of the five “rising stars” of the party and be given an opportunity to share her views on a national platform. The panel’s theme was how the GOP needs to reach out to women and minorities. Senator Yee urged the party to listen to the border states and “wrap our arms carefully, diligently around comprehensive immigration reform”.
Senator Yee also noted during the panel discussion that more Asian Americans should join the Republican Party, given that Asian Americans are “highly educated, higher wage earners, and for the most part own their own business” These characteristics, Senator Yee explains, resonate with our party.
To watch the full panel discussion, please visit C-SPAN’s website here: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/4482298
Senator Bob Worsley joined Mark Curtis on Arizona Nightly News Wednesday night to discuss the bill he introduced to create a virtual border fence along Arizona’s Southern Border. The bill would appropriate $30 million to allow the state to monitor the Arizona-Mexican Border.
To see the full interview, follow this link:
State senators propose $30 million bill for virtual border fence