Arizona Legislature Repeals Governor’s Public Health Emergency Powers

Arizona Legislature Repeals Governor’s Public Health Emergency Powers

By Corinne Murdock |

On Wednesday, the Arizona House approved a Senate bill to repeal the governor’s current executive powers in public health emergencies. 

Instead, SB1009 would ensure governors only have the authority to issue a state of emergency for public health emergencies for 30 days. After that, the governor would be limited to extending that state of emergency for 30 days at a time with a limit of 120 days or about four months. Once that time is exhausted, the state legislature must consent to any new state of emergency. 

The governor wouldn’t be able to extend the state of emergency more than once without additional reporting requirements. After 60 days of an emergency, the governor must submit a written report to a joint committee of the Senate and House health committees. That committee will assess the report along with a Arizona Department of Health Services briefing and publish a public review of the extension. 

SB1009 also empowers the state legislature to extend the state of an emergency for public health emergencies as well. Those extensions would be limited to 30 days, too. 

The bill passed along party lines. It now heads to Governor Doug Ducey for final approval. 

Ducey only ended the COVID-19 state of emergency at the end of last month: well over two years after the initial state of emergency was issued. 

This legislative session covered other changes to Arizona’s state of emergency protocol. Ducey signed HB2507 on Monday, ensuring that religious services would be considered essential during a state of emergency. Over the last two years, other state governments forced the closure of religious buildings and worship gatherings, punishing those who dared to defy their public health orders in order to exercise their religious freedoms. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Governor Ducey Takes Action to Protect Students and Parents from More School Shutdowns

Governor Ducey Takes Action to Protect Students and Parents from More School Shutdowns

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

By now, you’re probably fed up with talking about school shutdowns. And frankly, we’re getting fed up with fighting the left on this issue. But leave it to the teachers’ unions and RedforEd to call for more school shutdowns right before students returned from their winter break.

Once again, they’d rather play politics than truly trust the science. After all, we’ve been dealing with this pandemic for almost two years and with that comes data. So, what do we know? A microscopic 0.2 percent of deaths from COVID-19 have come from individuals under the age of 20 in Arizona. At the time this article was written, the total number of reported COVID fatalities for that age range was 54.

While death of any sort is heartbreaking, these numbers prove that COVID is no more dangerous for children than the seasonal flu. But the teachers’ unions and RedforEd just can’t help themselves—because, as usual, it’s always about them.

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Governor’s Office Reflects On Telehealth Legislation As Use Continues To Grow

Governor’s Office Reflects On Telehealth Legislation As Use Continues To Grow

By Terri Jo Neff |

Arizona jumped to the national forefront of telehealth in May 2021 when Gov.  Doug Ducey signed emergency legislation that dramatically expanded options for accessing safe and reliable health care services.   

“Our state now has the broadest telemedicine law in the nation, providing greater opportunity for safe and reliable medical services,” Ducey’s office noted Wednesday in a “2021 Year in Review” statement. “Expansive telehealth helps all Arizonans, especially low-income families and those living in rural areas, connect with their medical providers.”

Telehealth or telemedicine is the use of digital technology -devices such as computers, telephones, smartphones, and tablets- to access health care services without needing to be in the same room or even the same state as the medical provider.

In May 2020, the health care consulting firm McKinsey & Company noted the total annual revenue of U.S. telehealth players was an estimated $3 billion prior to COVID-19.  That U.S. revenue stream could jump in a post-pandemic market to $250 billion as health care services continue to shift to a telehealth platform, or what they refer to as virtual or virtually-enabled care. 

A July 2021 updated report by McKinsey & Company noted the utilization of virtual care services is now 38 times higher than before COVID-19. This change has been driven by an increased willingness of consumers / patients to embrace telehealth, as well as an increased willingness of providers to offer such services.

And as seen in Arizona, another key factor in the growth of telehealth is the regulatory and statutory changes, which enable greater access and reimbursement.

“Patients and medical professionals know what’s best for their needs, and we’re working to make sure they have access to those services,” Ducey said when signing the legislation in the spring.  

The governor pointed at the time to the benefits for vulnerable populations and the fact snowbirds visiting Arizona could receive telemedicine from their home state due to Arizona’s new law.  In addition, doctors are assured equal compensation from insurance companies for telemedicine services.

Meanwhile, McKinsey & Company noted in July that investor activity continues to grow at record levels.

“Investment in virtual health continues to accelerate,” the firm noted in its July update, adding that total venture capital investment into the digital health space in the first half of 2021 totaled $14.7 billion. That is more than all of the investment in 2020 ($14.6 billion) and nearly twice the investment in 2019 ($7.7 billion), the update noted.

The University of Arizona’s College of Medicine operates the Arizona Telemedicine and Telehealth Center. It provides telemedicine services, distance learning, informatics training, and telemedicine technology assessment capabilities to communities throughout Arizona.

On Feb. 7, the UA Telemedicine Center is offering a free webinar for medical professionals interested in adding telehealth services to their practice. More information about the “Developing a Telemedicine Program” webinar can be found at https://telemedicine.arizona.edu/training/developing-telemedicine-program/webinar/2022-02-07

Ducey Orders Flags At Half Staff To Honor Maricopa County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Chad Brackman

Ducey Orders Flags At Half Staff To Honor Maricopa County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Chad Brackman

Governor Doug Ducey ordered flags at all state buildings be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset Friday, November 12, 2021, to honor Maricopa County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Chad Brackman who died on Wednesday when he was struck by a vehicle.

Lieutenant Brackman, a 22-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, was struck by a vehicle while conducting traffic control in Scottsdale. He was taken to the hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries. He is survived by his wife and children.

“Arizona is saddened by this terrible tragedy,” said Ducey. “Lieutenant Chad Brackman served his communities and our state honorably, and he had a deep devotion to public safety throughout his 22 years of service. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones, along with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the entire law enforcement community. In honor of Lieutenant Brackman’s life and service, I have ordered all flags to be lowered to half-staff.”

Ducey Orders Flags At Half Staff To Honor Maricopa County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Chad Brackman

Ducey Encourages Arizonans To Honor U.S. Service Members Killed In Afghanistan

Governor Doug Ducey ordered flags at all state buildings be lowered to half-staff through August 30, 2021 in honor of the U.S. service members killed during the terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The governor encouraged his fellow Arizonans to participate in this tribute.

“Today is a tragic day for our nation. I am sending my deepest condolences and prayers to the loved ones of the U.S. forces killed and wounded in today’s terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan. I am horrified by this attack on our brave service members as well as other innocent civilians in the area.

“Arizona joins all Americans in condemning this attack in the strongest possible terms. There are no words to express the depth of Americans’ sorrow and anger for this loss of life.

“As we mourn the dead, we must also recognize the context for this terrible attack. American troops have fought, bled and died in Afghanistan for two decades to keep this country from once again becoming a safe haven for terrorists. We are now seeing in real time how the recent action to withdraw from Afghanistan has made America and the world less safe.”