Legislature working on hundreds of proposed laws

Posted By | February 27, 2014 12:00 am

Lawmakers are reviewing several proposed bills of interest during this week’s session of Tennessee General Assembly.
House Bill 2408
Subject to local approval, increases length of terms for the board of mayor and aldermen from two to four years; moves the election of the board of mayor and aldermen to coincide with the regular November election beginning in 2016; extends the two-year term of the board of mayor and aldermen elected in June, 2013, to the date of the board’s first regular meeting in December, 2016, following the November election.
This bill was ready for transmission to the Senate on Feb. 24, 2014.
House Bill 1265
Requires health insurance policies to cover screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.
On Feb. 25, 2014, this bill was taken off notice for the calendar in the Insurance and Banking Committee.
Generally under present law, a contract or policy of an insurer that provides benefits for neurological disorders must provide benefits and coverage for treatment of autism spectrum disorders that are at least as comprehensive as those provided for other neurological disorders. These benefits and coverage for treatment must be provided to any person less than 12 years of age. Benefits provided for treatment of autism spectrum disorders are subject to deductible and copayment requirements and benefit limits that are no more stringent than those established for the treatment of other neurological disorders.
This bill would have rewritten the above requirement to instead require that all health insurance policies, with limited exceptions, provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of an autism spectrum disorder. To the extent that the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of an autism spectrum disorder are not already covered by a health insurance policy, coverage under this bill must be included in health insurance policies that are delivered, executed, issued, amended, adjusted, or renewed in this state, or outside this state if insuring residents of this state, on or after Jan. 1, 2014. No insurer could terminate coverage, or refuse to deliver, execute, issue, amend, adjust, or renew coverage to an individual solely because the individual is diagnosed with or has received treatment for an autism spectrum disorder.
Coverage under this bill will not be subject to any limits on the number of visits an individual may make for treatment of an autism spectrum disorder. Coverage under this bill will also not be subject to dollar limits, deductibles, or coinsurance provisions that are less favorable to an insured than the dollar limits, deductibles, or coinsurance provisions that apply to physical illness generally under the health insurance policy. This bill specifies that it does not limit benefits that are otherwise available to an individual under a health insurance policy. (Additional information may be found at http://www.capitol.tn.gov/)
House Bill 1909
Exempts the state from daylight saving time.
Action on this bill was deferred in the State Government Committee to March 18, 2014.
House Bill 1910
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, requires the amount of the present police pay supplement of $600 to be increased annually to reflect inflation.
Under present law, an eligible local unit of government that requires all police officers to complete an in-service training course each calendar year appropriate to the officer’s rank and responsibility and the size and location of the officer’s department, of at least 40 hours duration at a school certified or recognized by the commission, is entitled to receive a pay supplement of $600 for any one officer in any one year, from the commission, to be paid to each officer, in addition to the officer’s regular salary. Police officers are eligible for the pay supplement upon successful completion of 40 hours of the in-service training.
Under this bill, beginning Jan. 1, 2015, and on Jan. 1 of each subsequent year, the amount of the pay supplement will be adjusted to reflect inflation. The commission must notify each eligible local unit of government of any change in the amount and post the information in a readily identifiable location on the commission’s web site.
On Feb. 25, 2014, this bill was received for passage and referred to the Finance, Ways and Means Committee.
House Bill 2348
Prohibits intentional destruction of imagination library program books intended to be delivered to children enrolled in the program; requires best efforts to deliver books or, in the alternative, to make the books available for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten or elementary programs.
Action on this bill was deferred in the Education Committee to Mach 4, 2014
House Bill 2371
Abolishes annexation by ordinance at the initiative of the municipality.
Under present law, a municipality may extend its corporate limits by annexation of territory adjoining the municipality’s existing boundary. The municipality may take such action:
(1) When petitioned by a majority of the residents and property owners of the affected territory; or
(2) Upon its own initiative, by an ordinance, when it appears that the prosperity of such municipality and territory will be materially retarded and the safety and welfare of the inhabitants and property endangered, after notice and a public hearing, by ordinance.
This bill removes the municipality’s authority to annex a territory by ordinance upon its own initiative and removes other provisions governing such process.
Action on this bill was deferred in the Local Government Committee to March 4, 2014
House Bill 1795
Requires that persons aged 65 years or older receive a 25 percent discount on residential sewer service.
On Feb. 25, 2014, action on this bill was deferred in the Business and Utilities Subcommittee to a summer study.
House Bill 1659
Creates second offense for using a hand-held mobile telephone to transmit written messages while driving a motor vehicle to include a fine not to exceed $1,000; present law imposes a fine not to exceed $50 for each offense; removes present limitation on amount of court costs that may be imposed for such offense.
This bill was placed on the Transportation Subcommittee calendar for Feb. 26, 2014
For more information about these bills and other legislation log onto http://www.capitol.tn.gov/

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