From Sex Ed To Broadband: New Laws Go Into Effect

Arizona capitol

On Wednesday, many of the bills passed during Arizona’s 55th Legislative Session took effect.

Governor Doug Ducey signed a total of 445 bills into law that went into effect 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:

S.B. 1572 – Early Literacy Initiative –

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 – 

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 – 

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.

S.B. 1660 – Justice for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse – 

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 – 

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 –

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 – 

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.

H.B. 2241 – Holocaust Education – 

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.

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