Bills to improve nutritional assistance for the formerly incarcerated and streamline state health facility licensing pass Senate Health Committee


Soraya Marashi


House bills concerning nutritional assistance for formerly incarcerated individuals and outpatient treatment center licensure exemptions recently crossed over into the Senate Health Committee for discussion, and ultimately passed.


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House Bill 2060, sponsored by Rep. Walter Blackman (R–Snowflake), would repeal outlined SNAP eligibility criteria for individuals convicted of a controlled substance-related felony, and qualify such an individual for SNAP benefits if the person is in compliance with all terms of probation, including any required drug testing. The bill also removes the requirement that the Department of Economic Security (DES) adopt drug testing rules for SNAP eligibility purposes.

Angie Rogers, president and CEO of the Arizona Food Bank Network, testified in favor of the bill. She said this bill would provide stability in a formerly incarcerated person’s life. 

“We understand the challenges that many formerly incarcerated individuals face when attempting to stabilize their lives after release … The bill tries to eliminate the residual punishments that stay with someone after serving their sentence,” she said.

Rogers added that this bill would also help individuals who may have had a drug conviction many years ago, but now need SNAP due to job loss, a health crisis, or another unexpected life circumstance.

Several senators praised the bill and ultimately passed it in a 7-1 vote, with the only opposing vote coming from Sen. Kelly Townsend (R–Mesa). 

HB 2450, sponsored by Rep. Joanne Osborne (R–Goodyear), would exempt outpatient treatment centers that are staffed by health care providers and have the same governing authority as a licensed hospital from certain Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) authorities. These include licensure, supervision, regulation, and control, unless patients are kept overnight or are treated under general anesthesia, or the center is an abortion or pain management clinic.

The bill subjects these exempt outpatient treatment centers to reasonable inspections by DHS if a complaint indicates patient harm may be occurring at the facility. 

Osborne emphasized that the bill is meant to establish parity between private practice and nonprofit licensures and Arizona hospitals. 

Brittany Kaufmann, representing the Health System Alliance of Arizona, highlighted Osborne’s points.

“This bill streamlines the state licensing requirements,” she said. “It creates consistency between privately-owned medical offices and hospital-owned medical offices.”

Sen. Tyler Pace (R–Mesa) echoed the positive statements, adding that it is a great deregulation bill that doesn’t put patients at risk. 

The bill passed unanimously and moved on to the Senate Rules Committee.