Our Top 5 AZ Tech Bills: Furthering Progress & Entrepreneurial Opportunities

February 27, 2019 by Jenn Woods
We always have our eyes on disruptive technology - and related legislation - at Traversant Group. But last week was especially exciting in terms of startups, tech bills and the future of Arizona.

Last week was a lively week at the State Capitol for technology. These bills are especially important because of how they support radically rethinking existing business models. From PropTech startups to car sharing delivery models to business one-stop portals, these bills have a new vision and a desire for reinvention.

While we don't yet know the ultimate outcome of these bills, today's blog gives a recap of the five tech bills that we’ve been interested in following - and you might be, too.  

Here is a brief synopsis of some of the bills we are watching at Traversant Group:

Will the Real Estate Industry be “Uberized?”

At the State Capitol, it’s the new buzzword. Coming off of successful FinTech legislation last session, Rep. Weninger is now looking to disrupt the real estate industry. With successful Proptech startups like SMS Assist, OpenDoor and Purplebricks already in existence, and with $6.4 billion raised over the past four years among more than 800 registered real estate startups, House Bill 2673 would establish the regulatory parameters around a new Property Technology Sandbox Program enabling a person to test an innovative, new solution. The bill also prescribes consumer protection disclosures and program reporting requirements. Creating a new PropTech Sandbox puts Arizona on the map as the first state to pass this type of legislation.

How Do We Create the Tech Workforce of the Future?

After working with the local community colleges to establish a blockchain certification program, Rep. Jeff Weninger is at it again - this time introducing legislation to position Arizona as a leader in technology workforce development. House Bill 2657 would create a grant program to fund emerging technology job training programs between employers, educational institutions and the Arizona Commerce Authority. The goal is for these programs to fast-track students to go into emerging technology fields. Without any geographic limits, the job training programs would be available statewide and would complement higher education offerings. With this industry-led approach to training the future workforce, Arizona stands ready to attract new technology companies.

Can Arizona Be The Best Place to Start a Business?

Starting a business in Arizona can be a confusing process, requiring that someone contacts a variety of state agencies and offices for licenses, trademarks and business & tax registrations. Seeing an opportunity to help the business community and grow the Arizona economy, Rep. Weninger introduced House Bill 2686 to create a business one-stop portal to streamline the application to starting a business. It’s legislation like this that puts the foundation in place to facilitate the startups that will change our economy.

Can I Share My Car?

Two bills (House Bill 2559 & Senate Bill 1305) were introduced that would establish new laws to govern peer-to-peer car sharing industry for individuals to share their privately-owned cars with other individuals. Car-sharing allows an owner of a vehicle (a "host") to register his vehicle with an online provider and then make his vehicle available for use by another person when the host is not using it.  The person pays an hourly or daily fee, which is then transmitted to the host with a percentage of proceeds withheld by the online provider. 

While the debate continues on whether peer-to-peer car sharing companies should be subject to the same regulations as rental car companies,  Rep. Grantham, the sponsor of House Bill 2559, made clear that he “does not want to penalize a company for being a new concept.” And, when you consider the momentum that companies like Turo, Maven, Getaround and Drift are gaining, these innovative business models are catching on. Perhaps this is an opportunity to find a new revenue source for our state?

Do I Still Need to Go to the Office to See My Doctor?

A few years ago, Governor Doug Ducey expanded telemedicine by requiring private health plans to pay for telemedicine services across the whole state rather than only services received in rural areas of the state. Arizona lawmakers are now moving forward with proposed legislation that would expand coverage for telemedicine to include more healthcare services, as well as provide for asynchronous telehealth and remote patient monitoring. Senate Bill 1089, sponsored by Sen. Carter, would expand the list of healthcare services that can be provided through telemedicine to any service if it would be covered when provided in person.

From a technology standpoint, Senator Carter’s bill would also expand the definition of telemedicine to allow healthcare providers to share patient medical information (like lab reports and imaging studies) with a healthcare professional at another location, as well as use remote patient monitoring technologies like tracking vital signs at a distance.

What’s Next?

It’s an exciting time in Arizona. With all of the new ideas being floated to reinvent industries, entrepreneurs and innovators continue to reflect on common business models and create startups. And, while some of the legislation listed above could be viewed as threats to traditional business models, they are also opportunities for others. Can you imagine still going to the store to buy a record or dropping off film cartridges in bags at the drugstore? The risk to existing business models is very real, but consumers’ needs are evolving and change is happening.

If you would like to talk about any of these bills or brainstorm on new policy ideas, feel free to connect with us. We would love to help advance good government and smart technology policies in Arizona.

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