In Tucson, Sinema Discusses Bipartisan Safer Communities Law & Workforce Challenges with Health Care Leaders

May 24, 2023

Senator highlighted resources available to Arizona that she secured in the Bipartisan Safer Communities law

TUCSON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema held a roundtable discussion with Arizona health care leaders and advocates to discuss mental health programs Sinema secured in her Bipartisan Safer Communities law to reduce community violence and learn about the challenges recruiting and retaining of heath care workers.
“Our Bipartisan Safer Communities law invests in mental health programs to reduce violence in our communities. We’re partnering with Tucson health care leaders to address their workforce challenges and other needs to ensure a safe and healthy Arizona,” said Sinema, sponsor and negotiator of the Bipartisan Safer Communities law.
Sinema detailed the investments and programming for mental health she secured in her Bipartisan Safer Communities law to reduce gun violence, promote safety, and empower care providers to keep Tucson communities safe and healthy.
Representatives from El Rio Health, Tucson Medical Center, Marana Healthcare, Chiricahua Community Health Center, Pima County, and the Tucson Police Department attended Sinema’s roundtable discussion to provide a local perspective on the challenges health care providers in Southern Arizona face in providing accessible, affordable care to Arizonans.
Specifically, roundtable participants expressed difficulty in recruiting and retaining the health care workers necessary to care for Arizonans in a timely, effective manner. Sinema highlighted her bipartisan Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act – bipartisan legislation allowing unused visas from prior years to be used by doctors and nurses to meet ongoing health care staffing challenges – as a solution that would increase the number of health care professionals in Arizona.
In the wake of the May 24, 2022 Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Sinema formed a bipartisan group of solutions-focused Senators and led negotiations on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – historic legislation breaking nearly 30 years of inaction by investing in community and school violence prevention and mental health services.  
In February, Sinema announced the first round of funding from her law coming to Arizona – $6 million to support Arizona crisis intervention programs designed to make communities safer by preventing gun violence and suicide. As funding becomes available, the Senator is meeting with Arizona local leaders, stakeholders, and advocates – like those attending today’s roundtable discussion – to ensure the investments are implemented efficiently and effectively.
Sinema, an experienced school social worker who has taught at ASU’s School of Social Work for over 20 years, used her social work background when writing and negotiating the historic Bipartisan Safer Communities law.