Arizona’s Legislature wrapped up its legislative session early Saturday morning, June 25th.
For the cancer community this turned out to be a session of great accomplishment!
- Arizona became the second state in the country to pass ACS CAN’s model language to require more insurance plans to cover biomarker testing. Biomarker testing is key to helping some patients access the best treatment for their cancer – often with fewer side effects and better survival than other treatments. ACS CAN was the lead organization on this issue. We cultivated a coalition of more than 25 supporting organizations and found multiple patient stories that helped to pass this legislation. Our volunteers sent hundreds of messages to lawmakers and showed them the importance of this issue during our in-person Cancer Action Day. Passage of this bill culminated in a live and in-person signing ceremony with Governor Ducey. Many of our coalition partners were present. The legislation goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
- The breast and cervical cancer screening program received funding of $1,369,400 from the general fund. Appropriations bills went into effect July 1, 2022.
- For the fourth consecutive session, we were able to beat back tobacco preemption legislation. When we talk about preemption, we are referring to policies that prevent local communities from passing local laws that are more stringent or differ from a state’s tobacco control policies. Again, we called on our volunteers to reach out to our lawmakers multiple times to stop these efforts. If the Tobacco Industry had been successful recent local wins around tobacco control in Tempe, Tucson, Flagstaff and Phoenix would have been erased.
Unfortunately, we do not get to win all the time. The Legislature passed a series of laws tying the hands of public health officials regarding masking and vaccination. Obviously, immunocompromised populations, like folks fighting cancer, have greater risks when exposed to viruses and diseases. Prohibiting preventative measures like mask and vaccine mandates can have severely negative impacts on the cancer community.
As we look forward, we remind you that next year in 2023 more than half the legislature will be new as the result of redistricting, resignations/retirements, and statewide elections. It is likely you will have a new legislative district number and representatives. With the help of Hannah Scott, Grassroots Manager, we will be encouraging you reach out to your new elected officials to encourage them to make cancer a priority in their legislative agenda.
Thank you for everything you’ve done to make the 2022 Arizona legislative session a strong success for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers.
Goverment Relations Director