The Randolph-Sheppard Act, enacted in 1936, is a federal law that gives vendors who are legally blind priority over other vendors to operate concession services or “vending facilities” on most federal property. Nearly every state has adopted a similar law; these state laws are often referred to as mini-Randolph-Sheppard Acts. The Randolph-Sheppard Act and its state law counterparts make vendors who are legally blind powerful agents with respect to vending and other concession services on a wide variety of government property. The Public Health Law Center conducted a 50-state review of mini-Randolph-Sheppard Acts. This project was funded by the American Heart Association.

The scope of this review was state statutes and regulations. Relevant case law interpreting these provisions may exist, but it was not included. The review was completed by March 2014. To confirm that this information is up to date, contact Julie Ralston Aoki at Julie.RalstonAoki@mitchellhamline.edu.


What We Found Regarding Mini-Randolph-Sheppard Acts in Arizona

 

Q: Is there a mini-Randolph-Sheppard Act (mini-RSA)?

A: Yes

 

Q: What state agency has been designated to administer the mini-RSA?

A: Department of Economic Security, https://www.azdes.gov/rsa/sbvid/bep/

 

Q: Where can I find the mini-RSA in the state code? 

A: Merchandising Businesses for the Blind, A.R.S. §23-501 thru §23-508. The law is set forth at A.R.S. §23-504

 

Q: Are there relevant regulations implementing the mini-RSA? 

A: Yes, A.A.C. §R6-4-301 to A.A.C. §R6-4-325

 

Q: What kinds of state property does the mini-RSA apply to?

A: The law sets forth that “the head or governing body of each department or agency and of each county or municipality or other local government entity having control of state, county or other local government property shall cooperate with the department of economic security in surveys of property under their control to find suitable locations for the operation of merchandising businesses by blind persons, and after it has been determined that there is need for a merchandising business and after the department of economic security has determined that such a business may be properly and satisfactorily operated by a blind person grant space to the department of economic security for the operation of a merchandising business by a licensed blind person and cooperate with the department of economic security in the installation of such merchandising business”. A.R.S. §23-504. 

Additionally, “Preference to the blind is not mandatory for those merchandising businesses operated by public educational institutions where merchandising facilities are provided as an integral part of service to students or as a training program to students, nor for major food services provided by hospitals or residential institutions of the state as a direct service to patients, inmates, trainees or otherwise institutionalized persons.” A.R.S. §23-504

  

Q: Does the mini-RSA extend to any local government property?

A: Yes, it extends to “county, municipality, or other local government entity.” A.R.S. §23-504.

 

Q: What kinds of vending or concession facilities are covered by the mini-RSA?

A: The law covers “[all] automatic vending machines, cafeterias, snack bars, cart service, shelters, counters, and such other appropriate auxiliary equipment which may be operated by blind licensees, and which is necessary for the sale of newspapers, periodicals, confections, tobacco products, food, beverages, and other articles or services dispensed automatically or manually and prepared on or off the premises in accordance with all applicable health laws, and including the vending or exchange of chances for any lottery authorized by state law and conducted by an agency of a state within such state.” A.A.C. §R6-4-301.

 

Q:  Does the mini-RSA include any requirements or standards for vendor contracts?

A: Yes. Requirements are outlined in AAC §4-312 Operator's Agreement.

 


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