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Thu, Oct. 17

Senate OKs sober living homes bill

State Rep. Noel Campbell, the chairman of the State Legislature’s Ad Hoc Committee on Drug Rehab Recovery Homes, leads a committee meeting Thursday morning, Oct. 22, in this captured screen shot from the online broadcast of the meeting.

State Rep. Noel Campbell, the chairman of the State Legislature’s Ad Hoc Committee on Drug Rehab Recovery Homes, leads a committee meeting Thursday morning, Oct. 22, in this captured screen shot from the online broadcast of the meeting.

PHOENIX — The Senate approved a bill allowing Arizona cities and towns to regulate sober living homes.

Despite passing both houses in the Legislature, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Noel Campbell, of Prescott, worries it may fall victim to legislative process.

The measure, which Campbell previously said is his chief goal for the session, is headed back to the House of Representatives before it can go to the governor’s desk for signature.

Sober living homes are the final step to recovery for many former drug addicts who are looking for a structured place to live after leaving in-patient care, correctional facilities and hospitals.

Campbell’s bill allows local authorities to adopt policies registering sober living homes and requiring them to meet minimum standards.

Those include on-hours supervision and a plan to help rehabilitate and discharge people living at the home.

While the growth of the group home industry in Prescott was a driver in Campbell’s efforts, he’s been quick to point out the group home industry is expanding in communities across the state.

He says the bill helps regulate a growing industry fostered in part by the state’s burgeoning drug problems related to prescription opioids.

House Bill 2107 passed the Senate on a 29-0 vote Monday.

In March, it passed the House 49-9, but that was before a series of senate amendments.

Campbell said the version returned from the Senate still accomplishes what his original bill set out to do.

“We’ve been two years working on this thing,” he said, before thanking people who called senators and voiced support for the bill.

“I’ve had tremendous response from constituents,” he said.

For now, House leadership has delayed floor action as they hammer out a budget deal.

That means Campbell’s bill faces the same fate as every other delayed House bill.

“It’s a big concern with the representatives in the House,” he said.

Campbell said he and others are worried about leaders in the Legislature passing a budget and immediately adjourning, leaving his and hundreds of other bills unheard and without a final vote.

“I’m cautiously hopeful,” he said, adding if the bill doesn’t make across the governor’s desk this year, he’s ready to bring it back next year.

Follow reporter Les Bowen on Twitter @NewsyLesBowen. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 1110, or 928-830-9305.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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