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News from the Capitol

az capitol building 203Grandparent Stipend Moves Forward

Last week, SB 1346 passed the full Senate with only two NO votes (Gail Griffin and Steve Pierce). The bill has been transferred to the House of Representatives but has not yet been assigned to committee. SB 1346 would provide a modest $75 monthly stipend per child for some grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. Grandparents would qualify for the monthly stipend if they don’t receive any other financial assistance, their grandchildren were placed with them by court order (CPS or guardians), and their income is below 200% of the federal poverty level.

Health Insurance Navigators Bill Improved

CAA initially opposed HB 2508 because it would have imposed unnecessary burdens and requirements on Navigators and Certified Application Counselors (CAC) who help people apply for health insurance through the federal marketplace. Fortunately, the bill was amended when it passed the House of Representatives. In its current form, HB 2508 would require Navigators and CACs to apply for a license though the AZ Department of Insurance (DOI) starting October 1, 2014. The DOI would facilitate background checks and fingerprinting for new health insurance assistors. Navigators and CACs before October 1st who have already passed a background check would not be required to undergo another check.

CPS External Review Bill Advances

SB 1386, the supplemental appropriation for an external CPS review, is moving quickly to a full vote by the House of Representatives. It has passed the Senate and two House committees unanimously. SB 1386 would appropriate $250,000 to fund an external review of CPS by an independent organization with expertise in child welfare system planning and operations. The auditor would also identify best practices in other states regarding the delivery of CPS, and make recommendations for improving the delivery of CPS in Arizona, including how to:

1. Develop strategic direction for child welfare services after an investigation.
2. Create accountability systems.
3. Engage the community, including families, youth and service providers.

This review can go hand-in-hand with the creation of the new state agency, helping Arizona develop the most effective policies to give every child a safe and permanent home.

Stay connected with the latest legislative developments by visiting our 2014 Legislature page.

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