Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed legislation that will prevent temporary medical licenses issued under his coronavirus executive orders from immediately becoming invalid if he ends the state of emergency he issued two years ago.
Friday's action extends temporary licenses issued since the Republican governor first declared a state of emergency on March 11, 2020. They will be valid until the end of the year if they were active at the start of this month.
Rep. Joanne Osborne of Goodyear told fellow Republicans in a caucus meeting last week that more than 2,200 licenses remain active, including about 1,200 issued to nurses. A waiver issued by the Department of Health Services under Ducey's emergency order allowed doctors, nurses and other qualified health professionals to be licensed even if they lack current training or other requirements for an Arizona license.
The extension of the temporary licenses will allow boards that issue them time to process permanent license applications. The bill passed the Senate and House with only one no vote.
“If we want the emergency orders to end, this has to be taken care of first,” Republican Rep. Regina Cobb said at the same meeting of GOP House members. “And then once this is taken care of, then the governor can do what he needs to do as far as ending any emergency orders.”