New Laws Support Education, Strengthen Criminal Justice Reform And Protect Arizonans

Published by The Bee News

September 29, 2021

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Governor Doug Ducey and members of the state legislature worked hard during Arizona’s 55th Legislative Session to enact legislation that secures a brighter future for all Arizonans. Today, many of those key bills take effect.

Thanks to the groundbreaking budget Arizona is making significant investments throughout our state. Arizona is seeing a booming economy and record revenue — and is investing those dollars in things that matter. From election integrity to new gaming laws, to four year community colleges and much more, this year’s session was one for the record books!

The Governor signed a total of 445 bills into law, 403 of which passed with bipartisan support. A majority of these bills will go into effect today, September 29, on what is known as the “General Effective Day,” which comes 90 days after the legislative session adjourns.

Included in those bills are new laws to secure our elections, increase transparency in education, expand broadband in rural communities, protect child abuse victims and assist military families.

Below are a few of the laws that take effect today:

S.B. 1572 – Early Literacy Initiative – Sponsored by Senator T.J. Shope

S.B. 1572 requires all schools to provide notification, intervention plans, and regular updates to parents of children who have an identified reading deficiency, so that they can work as a team to get kids on track.

It also requires the State Board of Education to adopt a statewide kindergarten entry evaluation so that teachers will know where each student is starting out and have an important tool for targeting support.

S.B. 1443 – Reforms to Military Family Relief Fund – Sponsored by Senator Sonny Borrelli

S.B. 1443 allows service members, who have established residency in Arizona, provide proof of continuous physical presence in Arizona for at least 12 months before applying and meet other statutory requirements, to be eligible for assistance from the Pre-9/11 and Post-9/11 Subaccounts.

H.B. 2596 – Broadband Bill – Sponsored by Representative Regina Cobb

H.B. 2596 allows private broadband providers to install, operate and maintain telecommunications equipment within the Arizona Department of Transportation’s (ADOT) rights-of-way.

It also allows ADOT to grant access to its own broadband conduit to private telecommunications companies in a non-exclusive and non-discriminatory manner — reducing the cost of installing rural broadband infrastructure.

Expansion of Broadband was covered by the Washington Examiner.

S.B. 1660 – Justice for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse – Sponsored by Senator Paul Boyer

In 2019 Governor Ducey established the Justice for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse Task Force to provide recommendations to the state for further reforms to ensure victims are entitled to safety, healing, justice and restitution. One of these recommendations was S.B. 1660, which requires the Department of Child Safety (DCS) ensure a child who is eight years of age or older receives materials and resources about sexual abuse, child sex trafficking and exploitation within 30 days of placement in out-of-home care.

It further outlines requirements and guidelines for the materials and resources about sexual abuse, child sex trafficking and exploitation. And finally, requires the clerk of the court to compile an annual report on the number of civil actions filed regarding allegations of sexual conduct or contact committed against a minor.

S.B. 1485 – Election Integrity – Sponsored by Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita

Governor Ducey signed numerous bills aimed at protecting the integrity of Arizona’s elections. One of the most significant pieces of legislation was S.B. 1485, which renames Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) to Active Early Voting List (AEVL). Under this legislation, if a voter on the AEVL actively votes by mail, they will continue to receive an early ballot. If a voter on the AEVL does not return at least one early ballot over the course of four years (two consecutive primary elections and general elections, and any municipal elections that precede them) the voter will be sent a postcard asking if they still want to receive an early ballot.

H.B. 2035 – Sex Education – Sponsored by Representative Gail Griffin

H.B. 2035 codifies into law the curriculum transparency and parental notification measures included in Executive Order 2021-11, which Governor Ducey issued on April 20. The legislation provides parents with an opportunity to participate in, review, and provide input on any proposed sex education course of study before it is adopted. This legislation also prohibits sex education from occurring in kindergarten through fourth grades.

S.B. 1453 – Community Colleges Offer Four Year Degrees – Sponsored by Senator Paul Boyer

S.B. 1453 allows a district board, in a county with a population of 750,000 or less, to offer accredited four-year baccalaureate degrees from Community Colleges. Effective today Community Colleges can begin developing plans to offer these four year degrees.

The expansion of four year degrees at community colleges was covered by Fox 10 News.

H.B. 2241 – Holocaust Education – Sponsored by Representative Alma Hernandez

On August 19 signed H.B. 2241 to requires the State Board of Education to include a requirement in course of study and competency requirements that students be taught about the Holocaust and other genocides at least twice between the 7th and 12th grades.

The expansion of holocaust education in Arizona schools was covered by KTAR.

Many bills from this year’s legislative session have already gone into effect. These include:

Healthy Forests

On March 9, Governor Ducey signed S.B. 1442 to prevent wildfires by allowing for additional partnerships to reduce the risk of wildfires on federal lands neighboring communities.

The legislation aligns with the Arizona Healthy Forest Initiative, a $24.5 million proposal that builds on proven methods to protect communities, while engaging individuals in state correctional facilities to equip them with new skills and reduce recidivism.

The Governor’s Healthy Forest Initiative was covered by the Arizona Daily Star.


On May 5, Governor Ducey signed H.B. 2454 to put Arizona at the national forefront of telemedicine. It expands access to telemedicine for patients, ensures doctors receive equal compensation from insurance companies for telemedicine services, and allows out-of-state health care professionals to provide telemedicine in Arizona.

The expansion of telehealth was covered by the Arizona Republic.


On April 15, Governor Ducey signed H.B. 2772 to make the most significant modernization in Arizona in almost two decades. The compact amendments and the associated legislation took more than five years to negotiate, and it ensures gaming in Arizona remains limited and regulated while providing certainty for the future of the state and tribes. The Governor participated in a number of sports betting kick off events earlier this year.

The gaming compact and rollout was covered by ABC News.

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