Thursday, October 30, 2014

Autism insurance bill, dozens more get Brownback’s OK

By The Herald Staff | 4/18/2014

TOPEKA — While many Kansans argue the federal government can’t mandate health coverage, the governor approved a new state law this week requiring specific Kansans to have health insurance.

Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill Wednesday that requires health insurance for children with autism, according to Brownback’s office. The law was passed with overwhelming support in the state House and Senate.

TOPEKA — While many Kansans argue the federal government can’t mandate health coverage, the governor approved a new state law this week requiring specific Kansans to have health insurance.

Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill Wednesday that requires health insurance for children with autism, according to Brownback’s office. The law was passed with overwhelming support in the state House and Senate.

The bill was signed at the University of Kansas, Edwards Campus in Overland Park, where Brownback was joined by state Rep. John Rubin, R-Shawnee, several members of the Legislature and representatives of autism support groups. The co-directors of the Kansas Center for Autism Research & Training and vice chancellor of the Edwards Campus also were present.

“I am pleased to sign this bill today expanding coverage for autism spectrum disorder,” Brownback said. “This is an important moment for families dealing with the challenges of an autistic family member.”

House Bill 2744, which would require insurance coverage for children younger than 12 who have autism, passed the House Feb. 21 on a 114-3 vote, including the backing of state Reps. Blaine Finch, R-Ottawa, and Kevin Jones, R-Wellsville. The measure cleared the Senate April 2 — which was World Autism Awareness Day — on a 38-2 vote.

State Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, was the only Franklin County lawmaker who voted against the bill, and one of only two senators to oppose the measure. She previously linked the bill to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which includes government mandates on purchasing health care coverage.

“We hear so many people complain about Obamacare, which is the requirement of purchasing insurance,” Tyson said. “There are options available for people to optionally buy the insurance, so I just felt this shouldn’t be a government mandate. There’s other issues out there too, other very important issues for Kansans, and they should be able to decide which ones they need.”

Brownback also signed another 16 bills into law Wednesday, and signed 18 others Thursday, raising the total number of new laws during the 2014 legislative session to 75, according to Brownback’s office. One bill — the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act — was passed into law without Brownback’s signature. Those bills, along with the votes of the Franklin County delegation to Topeka, include:

WEDNESDAY

• House Bill 2419 — Amendments to city annexation, fire district territory, and detachment agreements. [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• House Bill 2420 — Allows designation of volunteer school crossing guards. [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• House Bill 2447 — Establishes the duty of real property owners to trespassers. [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• House Bill 2479 — Removes the 2015 sunset provision as to ignition interlock device after first test failure or alcohol or drug-related conviction. [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• House Bill 2516 — Amendments to health care provider liability insurance law. [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• House Bill 2577 — Allows parents to remain anonymous when surrendering an infant under the Newborn Protection Act. [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• House Bill 2636 — Amendments to the Air Quality Act. [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• House Bill 2724 — Uniform Commercial Driver’s License Act; definition of “tank vehicle.” [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• House Bill 2728 — Permits for the operation of salvage vehicles no longer required to be prepared in triplicate. [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Senate Substitute House Bill 2065 — Relating to magistrate judge jurisdiction and appeals. [Finch N; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Senate Substitute House Bill 2101 — Amendments to the Net Metering and Easy Connection Act. [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Senate Substitute House Bill 2182 — Continuation of exemptions under the Kansas Open Records Act. [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Senate Substitute House Bill 2197 — Membership of board of directors and executive board of the Kansas State High School Activities Association. [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Senate Substitute House Bill 2378 — Provides a sales tax exemption for certain machinery and equipment used for surface mining activities. [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Senate Substitute House Bill 2482 — Creates the Energy Efficiency Investment Act. [Finch Y; Jones N; Tyson Y]

•Substitute House Bill 2436 — Inspections of dual-licensed facilities by the boards of cosmetology and barbering. [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

THURSDAY

• House Bill 2272 (No signature) — Amends the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act by reducing the total minimum investment threshold from $250 million to $55.5 million that a Lottery gaming facility manager would be required to present to the state for the right to bid for and be awarded the management contract of a Lottery-owned gaming facility in the Southeast Kansas Gaming Zone. [Finch Y; Jones N; Tyson N]

“While I have reservations about state ownership of casinos in general and the quality of regional economic development associated with casino gaming, many in Southeast Kansas have expressed their desire for this change in KELA through their elected representatives,” Brownback said in a news release. “The Legislature passed SB98 with large majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and therefore I will allow this bill to become law without my signature.”

• Senate Substitute House Bill 2338 — Appropriates $2 million in additional state general funds for the judicial branch in FY 2015, increases docket fee revenue to the judicial branch, and modifies statutes governing judicial branch operations concerning budgeting, the election of chief judges, and allowing for a delay in filling judicial vacancies for up to 120 days. The bill also deletes the statutory requirement for longevity payments to judicial branch non-judicial staff. The provisions of the bill are non-severable. [Finch N; Jones Y; Tyson N]

The Kansas Supreme Court issued a statement formally blasting the signing of the bill.

“The Supreme Court of Kansas has strongly opposed this bill since its creation. We are troubled now that it has been signed by the governor,” the Kansas Supreme Court said in a news release. “It weakens the centralized authority of the Kansas unified court system in exchange for money to pay our employees and keep courts open. And the money it provides still may fall short of even doing that.”

• House Bill 2552 — Requires prompt payment of Medicaid claims and requires the Legislature to pass the expansion of Medicaid [Finch N; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Substitute House Bill 2442 — Increases the penalty for individuals convicted for fleeing and eluding law enforcement three times or more [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Substitute House Bill 2452 — Authorizes additional specialty license plates [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• House Bill 2057 — Addresses provisions related to property and income tax amendments [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Substitute House Bill 2223 — Allows home brewers to have their beverages tasted or judged [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Senate Substitute House Bill 2298 — Amends controlled substances act to add certain classes of drugs [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Senate Bill 344 — Addresses signage requirements for oversize loads on Kansas highways [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Senate Bill 285 — Limits insurance company mandates to providers of vision care [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Senate Bill 423 — Allows Department of Administration to possibly sell or destroy state office buildings [Finch N; Jones Y; Tyson N]

• Senate Bill 349 — Allows the Board of Technical Professionals to provide clarity in specific professions [Finch Y; Jones N; Tyson Y]

• Senate Bill 311 – Increases the cap on economic damages in personal injury lawsuits over the course of several years [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Senate Bill 271 – Amends the Medicaid Fraud Act and provides for additional penalties [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Senate Bill 54 – Addresses technical changes in abortion law [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Senate Bill 265 – Definition of income for homestead refund and SAFESR eligibility; income tax credit for adoption expenses. [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Senate Bill 256 — Attorney General costs in criminal appeals [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• House Substitute Senate Bill 40 — Expands statutory provisions for prison-based industries [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

• Substitute House Bill 2681 – Makes changes in the Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs [Finch Y; Jones Y; Tyson Y]

comments powered by Disqus