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What you need to know: New laws on education, public safety and water safety take effect today

This year’s legislative session is sure to be memorable – and not just because of the historic bipartisan budget deal. We’ve taken record revenues and sent a clear message about the future of our state: We’re ready and we can’t stop. – Governor Doug Ducey

Governor Doug Ducey signed 387 bills into law during the second session of Arizona’s 55th Legislature, capping eight years of successful collaboration with lawmakers to position our rapidly growing state as a land of opportunity.

The bills — which prioritized K-12 education, public safety, water security, infrastructure, veterans, health care and more — come in effective today, September 24.

The Arizona Republic, The Arizona Family and KOLD 13 covered some of the laws that impact the daily lives of Arizonans.

Here are some highlights of the laws that come into effect today:

Securing Arizona’s Water Future

Arizona’s bold plan to secure its water future goes into effect today. SB 1740 was a bipartisan effort through the House and Senate, legislative leaders, and Governor Ducey. The $1 billion investment will fund projects to bring additional water to the state and help ensure that Arizona families, businesses and agriculture continue to have a water supply adequate in the long term.

The governor forged the plan in partnership with Arizona Senate Speaker Karen Fann, House Speaker Rusty Bowers, and leaders Rebecca Rios and Reginald Bolding, taking an “all of the above” approach to treat the water supply for the next 100 years.

The investment expands the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority with a new board of directors and responsibility for providing loans and grants to water providers and entities for the purposes of Arizona water importation, conservation, efficiency and reuse, and new technologies.

Fighting crime at the border

HB 2696, sponsored by Representative Leo Biasiucci, repressed on people smuggling by making it clear that a person who assists illegal people smuggling organizations or operations will be held accountable for their crime. The law goes even further to ensure that those who prey on the most vulnerable, including minors, are held accountable by the criminal justice system.

The law is based on that of Arizona monumental investments in border security in this year’s budget, which allocates over $560 million to the Border Security Fund. Investments have already been used, filling the gaps in the border wall near Yuma.

Solidify Arizona’s position as a national leader in civic education

HB 2632, sponsored by Rep. Quang Nguyen, strengthens Arizona students citizenship skills before graduating from high school. The bill raises Arizona’s civics test passing score from 60 percent to 70 percent, allows students to take the test as early as middle school, and requires test score data to be made public online.

Additionally, the governor signed SB 1497, sponsored by Senator Vince Leach, establishing the Arizona America Commission250. The commission that will plan a Party for the 250th anniversary of the United States and to reinforce the teachings of the founding of our nation in schools.

Civic education has been a legislative priority for Governor Ducey since taking office. The first bill he signed into law established the Arizona Civics Test.

Improved access to precision medicine

HB 2144, sponsored by Rep. Regina Cobb, increases access for patients and their doctors with innovative tests that can help determine the most effective medical treatment for cancer and other diseases.

Governor Ducey celebrated the signing of the bill in May at the Dignity Health Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. Arizona now joins only a handful of other states in requiring health insurance plans to cover biomarker testing when clinically needed.

Support our veterans

HB 2741, sponsored by Representative Joanne Osborne, waives state business license fees for military wives and honorably discharged veterans, helping those who have served their country start their own business.

This decision adds to the current rule that agencies must waive any initial business license fee for an applicant whose income does not exceed 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Protect parental rights

HB 2025, sponsored by Rep. Michelle Udall, bolsters parents’ rights by requiring school boards to adopt policies for visitation, visitation, and observation of all classrooms by parents of enrolled students and parents who wish to enroll their children in the charter school or school district.

HB 2161, sponsored by Rep. Steve Kaiser, increased parents’ access to their children’s school records. It also states that parents must be provided with any survey language their child may take.

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