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Archive for the ‘New Laws’ Category

Washington, DC may institute 24-hour waiting period for tattoos and piercings

courtesy http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/washington–dc-may-institute-24-hour-waiting-period-for-tattoos-and-piercings–183010474.html

tattoo artist

If you had to stop and think about it for a day, would you still get that giant dragon tattoo across your back?

That’s the question being raised by health regulators in our nation’s capital, where Washington, DC officials are considering a mandatory 24-hour waiting period before getting a tattoo or body piercings.

“The licensee or operator of a body art establishment shall ensure that no tattoo artist applies any tattoo to a customer until after twenty-four (24)hours have passed since the customer first requested the tattoo,” reads the language of proposed language of new regulations from Washington DC’s Department of Health.

“We’re making sure when that decision is made that you’re in the right frame of mind, and you don’t wake up in the morning . . . saying, ‘Oh my God, what happened?’ Washington DC Health Department Spokeswoman Najma Roberts told the Washington Post.

In other words, the potential new regulation would largely be aimed at stopping people from getting a tattoo while drunk, or under the influence of other drugs.

“They can’t be responsible for themselves, as well as the person doing the work on them,” Roberts said.

Once largely relegated to the counter culture, tattoos have become mainstream in recent years. A 2010 Pew Research Study found that more than 23 percent of people in the U.S. have a tattoo .

However, getting a tattoo can still carry a social cost in some circles. For example, a recent New York Times story found that 61 percent of human resource managers say a visible tattoo could hurt someone’s job prospects . Interestingly, that number is actually up from 57 percent in 2011.

The DC Health Department said the proposed regulation is also aimed at reducing the cases of Hepatitis B and other potential risks. However, a number of local tattoo parlor owners tell the Post that a waiting period would be devastating to their businesses.

“Overregulation will kill the profession and drive it underground and make it less safe for everybody,” British Ink tattoo parlor operator Paul Roe told the Post. “Why not 24 hours’ waiting time before shaving your head?”

Technically, DC is one of the few largely unregulated tattoo markets in the nation. New Mexico and North Dakota are the only two states without some form of body art industry regulations. A 2012 city council resolution required DC tattoo artists to be licensed.

The actual 66-page draft proposal of new regulations was released on Friday and contains a number of provisions for ensuring health and safety standards in body art locations within the District.

The Mayo Clinic says that any person considering a tattoo or other permanent body art should carefully consider whether the location they are visiting has high health standards.

The proposed regulation still has several hurdles to clear before becoming law. In DC, there is a 30-day period where the public is allowed to weigh in on any proposed new regulations. And the office of Mayor Vincent C. Gray said he “has serious doubts about the regulations as proposed.”

Vermont Legalizes Assisted Suicide

courtesy http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/20/vermont-assisted-suicide_n_3309210.html

MONTPELIER, Vt. — After years of debate, Vermont became the fourth state in the country Monday to allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medicine to terminally ill patients seeking to end their lives.

Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the bill into law at a Statehouse ceremony even as opponents vowed to push for its repeal.

The End of Life Choices law was effective immediately, although it could be weeks before the state Health Department develops regulations in accordance with the new measure.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen said he expects doctors to write between 10 and 20 lethal prescriptions a year, with a smaller number of patients actually using the drugs.

He based his figures on the experience in Oregon, the first state to legalize assisted suicide in 1997. Washington state and Montana followed later, with Montana’s coming by way of a court order.

“It’s used by a very small number, but it brings comfort to a much greater number knowing it’s there,” Chen said.

During emotionally charged discussion of the bill, proponents said Vermonters of sound mind who are suffering from terminal conditions should be able to choose when to end their lives. But opponents said the law could be abused and vulnerable people, especially the elderly, could be forced to end their lives.

Shumlin offered reassurances before signing the bill.

“This bill does not compel anyone to do anything that they don’t choose in sound mind to do,” he said. “All it does is give those who are facing terminal illness, are facing excruciating pain, a choice in a very carefully regulated way.”

Some critics of the law attended the bill-signing and promised to seek its repeal.

“We need to be more of a caring, compassionate society, not one that says `take a pill, go away,'” said Edward Alonzo of Burlington. “People don’t have the best of intentions, always, with their family members,” he said.

The Legislature passed the bill last week. A similar measure was defeated in 2007.

“I know from my many years of practice that there are many patients out there that want to have this option available to them, and because it’s a new bill I anticipate that a lot of people are going to ask questions about it,” said Dr. Diana Barnard, a family practice doctor in Burlington who is certified in hospice care.

“I do know there are providers who will be willing to provide the best possible medicine to their patients regardless of what that means, and that includes all aspects of palliative care,” she said.

In its first three years, the Vermont law will resemble the Oregon model, which has built-in safeguards, including requirements that patients state three times – once in writing – that they wish to die. Other safeguards include a concurring opinion from a second doctor that a patient has less than six months to live and a finding that the patient is of sound mind.

In Oregon and Washington, patients who take advantage of the Death with Dignity law use the drug pentobarbital, a barbiturate, that is dissolved in liquid or semi-liquid, said George Eighmey, a board member of the Death with Dignity National Center in Portland, Ore.

The patient doesn’t eat for four or five hours before taking an anti-nausea drug and the lethal drug about an hour after that. It takes about five minutes for the patient to fall into a coma. The average length of time until death is about two hours, said Eighmey.

After July 1, 2016, Vermont will move to a model pushed by some senators who complained of too much government intervention. The new model would require less monitoring and reporting by doctors. But many expect lawmakers may push to eliminate those changes and leave the original model in place.

The Health Department will receive reports of how many people were prescribed lethal drugs. Chen said he expects the process will be covered by health insurance.

Democrats push bill in Congress to require gun insurance under penalty of fine

Courtesy Of: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/04/02/democrats-push-bill-in-congress-to-require-gun-insurance/

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A New York Democratic lawmaker is behind a national push that would force gun owners to buy liability insurance or face a $10,000 fine.

The Firearm Risk Protection Act, pushed by Rep. Carolyn Maloney and seven co-sponsors, follows efforts at the state level to create the controversial new kind of insurance for gun owners.

“For too long, gun victims and society at large have borne the brunt of the costs of gun violence,” Maloney said in a written statement. “My bill would change that by shifting some of that cost back onto those who own the weapons.”

The likelihood, though, of Maloney’s bill gaining any traction is slim. Republicans control the House, and even states where Democrats have sizeable majorities have not approved the insurance idea.

Six states — California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania — have all introduced gun liability insurance legislation over the past few months. None has produced any results.

In Illinois, the House rejected a measure 34-74 that would require people carrying concealed weapons to also carry $1 million in liability insurance. Chicago Democrat Kenneth Dunkin was behind the defeated bill. He said an insurance policy would cost between $500 to $2,000, but Illinois Republicans successfully argued the costs were too high for citizens exercising their constitutional right to carry a gun, and the bill was defeated.

Last week, a similar measure in Connecticut was withdrawn following a two-hour hearing on the issue. Connecticut’s proposal would require firearm owners to maintain excess personal liability insurance and self-defense insurance.

In Maryland, a bill that sought mandatory firearm liability insurance for gun owners was also recently withdrawn.

Because there have been so many setbacks on state levels, many have argued that trying to pass a liability insurance mandate on a national level would be near impossible.

Still, Maloney maintains she won’t back down from the fight.

“We have a long history of requiring insurance for high-risk products — and no one disputes that guns are dangerous,” she said in her written statement. “While many individual states are debating this issue right now, it makes more sense for Congress to establish a national requirement to allow the insurance markets to begin to price the risks involved consistently nationwide.”

Maloney also supports proposed bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

The push in Congress for a renewed assault weapons ban has faltered. Though it is expected to get a vote as an amendment to a broader gun control package, few expect it to pass. The debate in Congress lately has centered on whether lawmakers can agree to a system of near-universal background checks.

US Supreme Court holds that police bringing a drug dog to your front door to sniff is a violation of the 4th Amendment.

drug dogIn the case of Florida v. Jardines the US Supreme Court upheld the Florida Supreme Court’s suppression of drug evidence found after police brought a drug dog to a home to search without consent.  Previous law had held that a drug dog sniff was not a search for 4th Amendment purposes, but the Court found that the privacy of the home was violated by such a search and upheld the Florida Supreme Court’s decision.  Police can no longer just bring a drug dog to the front door to see if it alerts and then search a home.

follow the below link for detailed information about the case.

http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/florida-v-jardines/

HB 397 – Open Meetings Act Revision (Effective upon Governor’s signature)

House Bill 397
Open Meetings Act Revision
Effective Date: Became Effective Upon Governor’s Signature

This legislation simplifies the law regarding open meetings and open records by eliminating ambiguities and incorporating judicial interpretations of the law. This legislation clarifies the definition of a “meeting” and requires that all final votes be taken in an open session. If an action is taken during an illegal meeting, a suit to void that action may be brought within six months. The use of meetings by telephone for local governments is limited. Likewise, this legislation defines an “executive session” as a portion of meetings lawfully closed to the public.

Under the open records provisions, data and data fields are now considered to be “records.” An agency may designate an open records officer to whom requests should be directed. Fees for copying records are reduced from $.25 per page to $.10 per page. Requests for records may be oral or written, but only written requests are subject to criminal and civil enforcement proceedings and penalties.

The exemptions from disclosure are clarified. The time period during which records related to the hiring of a president of a unit of the University System of Georgia must be available to the public is shortened from 14 days to 5 days. The attorney-client privilege and work product is broadened. New exemptions include records pertaining to the rating plans or proprietary information used to administer liability insurance or self-insurance to any agency, as well as Department of Economic Development documents pertaining to economic development projects. The economic development projects are exempt only until the project is secured by a binding commitment. Finally, records related to a training program, disclosing an economic development project prior to a binding commitment having been secured, are exempt.

Civil and criminal penalties are imposed for violations of the open meetings and open records acts.

Crawford and Boyle, LLC
(678) 951-8821

SB432 – Local Government Prohibited from Further Constraining Knife Use (Effective 7/1/12)

Senate Bill 432
Local Government Prohibited from Further Constraining Knife Use
Effective Date: July 1, 2012

This legislation prohibits any county, municipality, or consolidated government from constraining the possession, manufacture, sale, or transfer of a knife more restrictively than is otherwise provided in the Code part regarding the carrying and possession of firearms. This restriction does not apply to the local government’s regulation of knives in courthouses or government buildings.

Crawford and Boyle, LLC
(678) 951-8821

SB431 – Gaming, Lottery, and Coin Operated Amusement Machines (Effective upon Governor’s signature)

Senate Bill 431
Gaming, Lottery, and Coin Operated Amusement Machines
Effective Date: Became Effective Upon Governor’s Signature
With limited exception, any promotion involving an element of chance during the playing of a game on a computer, mechanical device, or electronic device at a place of business is an unlawful lottery, as is the promotion of playing a game of no-skill on a computer, mechanical device, or electronic device at a place of business.

This bill expands the definition of “lottery” in the statute relating to offenses against public health and morals to include payments in cash or other consideration, and the option to play a no-skill game for prizes on a computer, mechanical, or electronic device. However, “lottery” does not mean a national or regional promotion or contest conducted by a corporation, if the corporation is registered under the federal Securities Exchange Act and has total assets of at least $100 million. This does not apply to games offered by the Georgia Lottery Corporation pursuant to the Georgia Lottery for Education Act.

The bill clarifies the definitions of Class A and B bona fide coin operated amusement machines, and it also authorizes counties and municipalities to enact and enforce ordinances regulating bona fide coin operated amusement machines outlined in the bill.

Note: It’s not illegal if the government does it.

Crawford and Boyle, LLC
(678) 951-8821

SB352 – Prosecuting Attorneys (Effective upon Governor’s signature)

Senate Bill 352
Prosecuting Attorneys
Effective Date: Became effective upon Governor’s signature

This bill establishes the procedure for establishing an office of prosecuting attorney; requirements to be appointed as a prosecuting attorney; duties, authority, and compensation of the attorney; provisions for additional assistant prosecuting attorneys; and the procedure in the event of a solicitor general’s death.

This legislation authorizes district attorneys and solicitors-general to bring actions to enforce the Code section related to vehicles overtaking school buses, and also grants jurisdiction of transactions in drug related objects to municipal courts, if the offense occurred within the corporate limits of the municipality.

Crawford and Boyle, LLC
(678) 951-8821

HB1166 – Child-only Health Insurance Policies (Effective January 1, 2013)

House Bill 1166
Child-only Health Insurance Policies
Effective date: January 1, 2013

This legislation requires insurers issuing individual health policies to offer at least one child-only policy. A “child-only policy” means individual health insurance coverage for children less than 19 years of age. The policy does not include dependent health insurance for a child under another person’s health insurance.
Insurers must offer guaranteed-issue coverage to primary subscribers under the age of 19 during open enrollment periods or during a special enrollment period within 30 days of a qualifying event. A “qualifying event” means the loss of employer-sponsored health insurance or the involuntary loss of other existing health insurance for any reason other than fraud, misrepresentation, or failure to pay a premium.

A special enrollment period must last 30 days from the date the insurer receives notice of loss of coverage if the notice is provided to the insurer no later than the sixtieth day after the loss of coverage and the loss of other coverage results from:

  • Birth or Adoption;
  • Marriage or Divorce;
  • Loss of employer sponsored insurance Medicaid, or PeachCare coverage;
  • Entry of a valid court or administrative order mandating the child be covered; or
  • Involuntary loss of other coverage for reasons other than fraud, misrepresentation, or failure to pay premium.

An insurance carrier may deny coverage to an applicant if the applicant is currently enrolled in a high-risk pool insurance policy. In the event that the applicant is a dependent on a policy with a primary subscriber who is over the age of 19, and the primary subscriber drops the policy, the child may apply for child-only policies during the open enrollment period or, in the case of a qualifying event, during a special enrollment period.

Crawford and Boyle, LLC
(678) 951-8821

HB879 – Care of Students with Diabetes while at School (Effective 7/1/12)

House Bill 879
Care of Students with Diabetes while at School
Effective date: July 1, 2012

This bill requires the Department of Education to develop guidelines by August 1, 2012, on the training of school employees in the care needed for students with diabetes. Such guidelines must include instruction on the recognition and treatment of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, the performance of certain blood glucose level monitoring tests and basic insulin pump functions, and recommended food intake, among other issues. Each local school board and state chartered special school must ensure that at least two employees of schools attended by a diabetic student undergo such training to become trained diabetes personnel. Schools must provide information on the recognition of diabetes related emergency situations to school bus drivers responsible for transporting diabetic students.

The parent or guardian of a diabetic student who seeks diabetes care while at school must submit to the school a diabetes medical management plan. In accordance with such a plan, the school nurse, or in the absence of a school nurse, trained diabetes personnel are to perform functions related to diabetes care. A school nurse or at least one trained diabetes personnel must be on site at school and available during school hours to provide care to students with a diabetes medical management plan, and a parent or guardian may accompany such a student on field trips. If authorized by the student’s diabetes medical management plan, a diabetic student may perform activities related to the monitoring and treatment of his or her diabetes in any area of the school or school grounds and at any school related activity, and he or she must be permitted to possess, on his or her person, necessary supplies and equipment.
A student’s school choice may not be restricted because the student has diabetes.

The bill provides immunity from civil damages or from professional disciplinary action to health care providers, school employees, local school systems, and state chartered special schools who carry out these provisions with reasonable prudence. A private school that complies with these provisions will also have such limited liability.

Crawford and Boyle, LLC
(678) 951-8821