Legislators discuss amendment to child abuse reporting & jurisdiction law as budget talks continue - AZEdNews
Sections    Thursday February 2nd, 2023
Twitter Profile Facebook Profile LinkedIn Profile RSS Profile

Legislators discuss amendment to child abuse reporting & jurisdiction law as budget talks continue

Rep. Joanne Osborn Discusses House Bill 2647, Which Would Amend Current Arizona Law On Child Abuse Reporting And Jurisdiction During The Republican Caucus On Monday, May 9, 2022. Photo Courtesy Arizona Capitol Television

Arizona Legislators discussed a bill that would amend current Arizona law on child abuse reporting and jurisdiction but did not vote on it yet, while work on a budget continues.

Budget update

Legislative leadership are meeting each day to develop a state budget, but they have yet to agree upon a plan to discuss with members, weeks after a skinny budget that would have continued this year’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year failed in the House Appropriations Committee.

At that time, House Appropriations Committee members Rep. Jake Hoffman and Rep. Michelle Udall joined Democratic committee members to vote against the continuation budget, with Rep. Udall saying the bills did not address several key issues and Rep. Hoffman saying the state government already spends too much.

Education advocates urged Legislators to develop a more robust budget that uses some of the $2.8 billion in one-time funding and $1.29 billion in ongoing funding forecast by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee for education funding and other key needs identified by state agencies.

What the amendment to child abuse reporting law will do

House Bill 2647 sponsored by Rep. Joanne Osborn and co-sponsored by Rep. Tim Dunn, would amend current Arizona law that requires the Arizona Department of Child Safety to operate and maintain a central intake hotline to receive information about suspected child abuse or neglect, provide information so law enforcement or DCS can investigate and complete a report on the allegation.

Legislators discuss amendment to child abuse reporting & jurisdiction law as budget talks continue Screen-Shot-2022-05-11-at-9.09.28-AM-1024x512
Rep. Joanne Osborn discusses House Bill 2647, which would amend current Arizona law on child abuse reporting and jurisdiction during the Republican Caucus on Monday, May 9, 2022. Photo courtesy Arizona Capitol Television

HB 2647 was requested by the Arizona Department of Child Safety and says that DCS is not required to prepare a report concerning alleged abuse or neglect if the alleged acts occurred in a foreign country and the child is the custody of the federal government.

Arizona Capitol Television: House Republican Caucus 5/9/22

Rep. John Kavanagh asked, “What exactly does that mean? Can you give me an example?”

“What we’re saying is that our state department doesn’t have to do a report on it,” Rep. Osborn said. “Because it’s out of their hands.”

“But wouldn’t it be interesting to know that outside of this country that a child under the authority of this country was abused?” Rep. Kavanagh asked.

“But that’s the point, it needs to be with the federal government who’s in control of these children, rather than the state,” Rep. Osborn said. “Our own state department is having enough trying to keep up with our own reporting, so I think it’s giving it back to where it properly needs to take place.”

Initially, the bill also let the Department of Child Safety transfer the jurisdiction of a child who lives on an Indian reservation to a tribal social services agency, but that provision was removed in the Senate engrossed version of HB 2647 said Rep. Osborn who concurred with the Senate amendment.

Legislators discuss amendment to child abuse reporting & jurisdiction law as budget talks continue Screen-Shot-2022-05-11-at-9.19.14-AM-1024x512
Rep. Teresa Martinez asks a question about House Bill 2647 during the House Republican Caucus on May 9, 2022. Photo courtesy Arizona Capitol Television

“Is this different? I notice it specifically says for the reservation or the native children. Are they treated differently?” asked Rep. Teresa Martinez

“This is what was being removed being the reporting, because they’re their own sovereign governments so to speak and it was a matter of they were doing reports to an entity that they have no jurisdiction for, but because there was no consensus found that was why it’s being removed from this bill,” Rep. Osborn said.

If an allegation that a Native American child is abused comes into the hotline, that information will be forwarded to the appropriate tribal agency to be investigated.

“What were the tribes … were they neutral, were they for, were they against? And did you know which tribes did what?” asked Rep. Martinez.

“There weren’t specific tribes that signed in to speak on behalf of this bill,” said Aunjeunae, a House staff member. “There were no tribes that spoke against this bill.”

Arizona Capitol Television: House Democratic Caucus 5/9/22

Majority Whip Rep. Leo Biasiucci asked who would have jurisdiction if a child coming across the Arizona border says they were sexually assaulted before they entered the U.S.

Rep. Walter Blackman said, “I see it as the state only handles state cases and that’s it.”

“My concern with this is that if the federal government decides to do nothing, which they often do, that the State of Arizona has nowhere to start,” Rep. Martinez said. “If they’re in federal custody these children they will eventually be released somewhere in the United States.”

“The state deals with state cases. If the kid is in the State of Arizona and they’re living in Arizona and they are turned over to the state by DHS then it’s a state issue,” Rep. Blackman said. “If that’s the issue, then there should be a bill that addresses your issue. This bill only says the state will deal with state issues. You’re talking about bringing another bill and that’s fine. If that’s your concern, that’s fine, then do that.”

Other education bills’ progress

The Arizona House of Representatives and Arizona Senate remain adjourned until Monday, May 16, 2022, when a conference committee of legislators will meet at 3 p.m. to discuss Senate Bill 1630 on school buses and student transportation.

In addition, the House approved Senate Bill 1319 on school vision screening and sent it to Gov. Doug Ducey. SB 1319 would require the Arizona Department of Health Services when making rules about school vision screening to consult with “recognized nonprofit organizations that provide free vision screening services, eyeglasses or examinations and ophthalmologists, optometrists, school nurses, pediatricians and school administrators.”

Related articles:
Legislators approve higher ed individuals with disabilities bill as work on budget continues
Videos: Legislators approve bills on school transportation, CTEDs offering degrees, parents’ rights & more
All skinny budget bills fail in House Appropriations Committee
House Rules Committee approves bill to limit classroom discussion of race, ethnicity, sex
Video: Legislators approve major school funding overhaul bill in committee
Legislators approve voucher expansion & hold school takeover bill
Judge rules voter approved Invest in Ed Act can’t be enforced, tax levy to fund education
Legislators approve student code writing grant, move discussion of parents’ access bill
Advocates support year-round inclusion of Black history as Legislatures seek to limit classroom discussions on race
What students say Legislators should know as they vote on education bills
Videos: Legislators approve funds to educate youth in county jails & bill to help or close schools
Legislators vote to expand vouchers & require special education cost study
Legislators expand parents’ access to students’ learning materials, hold several other bills
Legislators vote against partisan school board elections & for library, learning materials bills
House Education Committee passes bill to ban instruction that places blame on the basis of race, ethnicity or sex
Video: Details of Gov. Ducey’s K-12 education budget proposal & economic outlook
Video: Gov. Ducey calls for more school choice in State of the State, no mention of lifting aggregate expenditure limit
Transcript of Gov. Ducey’s State of the State address 1/10/2022
What education advocates hope to see this legislative session
Five education issues to watch in the upcoming Arizona Legislature session