Following one of the toughest legislative sessions in recent history, the ACLU of Arizona celebrates legislative accomplishments
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHOENIX, AZ - Yesterday afternoon, the 2021 Arizona Legislative Session came to a close. The ACLU of Arizona lobbied for several acts of legislation and is celebrating key accomplishments that they secured during this fraught session. Included among the victories are:
HB 2123: This new law prohibits schools from suspending or expelling students aged six and younger and greatly limits expulsions and suspensions for students in kindergarten through fourth grade. In addition, it asks schools to explore alternate behavioral and disciplinary interventions and create a pathway for potential readmission of suspended or expelled students. The ACLU of Arizona worked closely with Stand for Children to advocate for this legislation and views HB 2123 as a significant step towards reforming outdated discipline practices that keep students from learning.
SB 1526: In a major victory for incarcerated individuals and their families, this law will provide better prenatal care and ensure people are not shackled at any point during their pregnancy. It also ensures people who have periods are given sufficient, free supply of tampons and pads and requires the Department of Corrections to attempt to place parents of minor children in facilities close to their homes and to ensure children can visit their parents. This legislation could not have happened without all the brave, directly-impacted advocates who worked tirelessly over the years to push for these reforms.
Additionally, HB 2386 was passed by lawmakers and awaits Governor Ducey’s signature. This bill provides much-needed nondiscrimination protections for persons with disabilities, persons of advanced age, and communities of color if Arizona needs to invoke a crisis standards of care (CSC) again in the future. HB 2386 ensures that disability advocates and advocates for the aged are part of the process of creating future standards of care from the beginning, helping to ensure they are non-discriminatory. The ACLU of Arizona worked with the Arizona Center for Disability Law, Arc of Arizona, Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, and many others to advocate for this legislation.
“This has been a charged legislative session, with lawmakers attempting to criminalize abortion, attack peoples’ free speech and voting rights, and dictate school curriculum,” said Darrell Hill, policy director for the ACLU of Arizona. “We made important progress in some areas, suffered hard-fought losses in others, and defeated many threats to civil liberties. We’re glad that HB 2123 and SB 1526 are law and are hopeful that Governor Ducey signs HB 2386. These three pieces of legislation will undoubtedly improve the lives of Arizonans and are examples of what our state can accomplish when we put aside political games and get to work.”
Hill continued, “Against the backdrop of a global pandemic that limited access to the Capitol and continued protests against police brutality, we knew this session would be more difficult than others. Despite all the obstacles placed in our way, we are grateful for all of the supporters and advocates who came together, helped us lobby for change, and hold elected officials accountable. The ACLU of Arizona will continue to advance its advocacy agenda and will be back next year, stronger and more energized than ever to protect the civil rights and civil liberties of all.”