The universe of bills for the 2014 General Assembly stands at a total of 870: 423 in the Senate and 447 in the House. Some of these are "vehicle bills," meaning they have only general titles, but are available for the insertion of content at the discretion of leadership.
Senate and House committees picked up the pace during the first full week of the legislative session. The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday will shorten next week's timeframe for committee hearings, but schedules are likely to be packed.
Of note this week, the Senate passed SB 51, requiring the State Department of Health to adopt rules before Sept. 1, 2014 concerning the regulation of facilities for treatment of traumatic brain injuries. SB 44, requiring the Department of Health and FSSA to establish a work group to study uniform access to electronic health data by health providers, also passed the Senate.
Coming down the legislative pipeline is Sen. Vaneta Becker's (R-Evansville) SB 139, which amends the definition of "attendant care services" to include providing assistance with taking medications, including controlled substances and prescription drugs. This bill is assigned to the Senate Health Committee. In addition, Sen. Patricia Miller's (R-Indianapolis) SB 173, is on the Second Reading calendar for Tuesday. This bill deals with the moratorium on the approval of new or converted comprehensive care beds in nursing facilities.
Wrapping up our Senate bill tracking list is SB 382, which would require the Department of Health to seek federal authorization to be the "enforcement agency" in Indiana for the US EPA's program to address lead based paint hazards created by renovation, repair, and painting activities that disturb lead based paint in housing structures and facilities. This bill, authored by Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson), has been assigned to the Senate Health Committee.
In the House, Rep. and House Public Health Committee Chair Ed Clere (R-New Albany) has introduced HB 1309, which would create the Affordable Care Committee, expand the services available under the Healthy Indiana Plan, and direct the Office of Medicaid Policy & Planning (OMPP) and the Family & Social Services Administration (FSSA) to negotiate with the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) for the expansion of the Medicaid program in Indiana. It has been assigned to his Public Health Committee.
Also on INARF's radar is Rep. Steve Stemler's (D-Jeffersonville) HB 1272, providing for the licensure of Art Therapists and reimbursement for their services in the Medicaid program. A similar bill which passed the 2013 legislature was vetoed by the Governor.
For those wishing to track bills, the state's General Assembly website continues to have technical issues. Information may be accessed athttp://www.in.gov/legislative. Users should try clicking on the "legislation" tab and then the "bill" tab for an opportunity to scroll through the list of bills to the number you are seeking.
As always, please contact INARF if you have any questions or comments regarding the bills above or our policy work in general.