Wed, June 26

New law gives municipalities ability to regulate sober living homes

PHOENIX -- Cities and counties are getting new powers to register "structured sober-living' homes.

Legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Doug Ducey will permit local governments to adopt some standards for these houses which are designed to help people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. While this is strictly providing a place to live, residents are supposed to be receiving services from outside providers for substance abuse or addiction treatment.

Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott, said these have proliferated in his community, with complaints from neighbors about noise and other issues.

But in giving cities some oversight, Campbell was limited in what he can do.

That is because addicts in recovery are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. And that federal law precludes communities from prohibiting those facilities.

What the new state law does allow is that cities and counties can require operators of these homes to provide the address of the facility and the name of the property owner. They also can insist on supervision requirements for residents.

Other measures signed Tuesday by Ducey include:

- Allowing retired police officers to keep their weapons with them when they go into bars or restaurants where alcohol is served;

- Mandating state licensing of organizations that procure organs for transplants;

- Requiring the Department of Child Safety to contract with outside groups to help clear the backlog of "inactive' cases in which no one has looked in on a child in at least 60 days;

- Prohibiting the use of electronic benefit transfer cards, given to cash assistance recipients, at medical marijuana dispensaries;

- Expanding the requirement that health insurance policies cover telemedicine -- getting advice and diagnosis from a doctor at a remote location -- to cover residents anywhere in the state, not just rural areas.

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