WEEK TWO--Idaho Legislative Report
2019 IDAHO LEGISLATURE
January 14, 2019 through January 18, 2019
Michael McGrane, RN
During week two of the session legislators franticly reviewed hundreds of administrative rules. All new rules from state departments and boards must be reviewed and approved before becoming law. This gives the legislature the ability to approve rules, or to reject a section or the rule entirely. The legislature does not have the authority to change a rule. Most rule rejections are over ideology; some over power of the legislative branch over the executive. Legislative leadership has directed that all rules must by completed by the third week of the session.
Board of Nursing Administrative Rule
The Board of Nursing rules are scheduled to be heard in the House Health and Welfare Committee this Tuesday, January 22nd at 9:00AM, then in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee that same afternoon at 3:00PM.
Change Definition of “Nurse Apprentice”
This would allow recent nursing program graduates who are employed as CNAs to continue to work in an unlicensed capacity for three months beyond completion of the nursing program. Nurse Apprentice should not be confused with Graduate Nurse or Nursing Residency.
Remove a Section of the Rules Addressing Multistate Licensure
Since adoption of the Enhanced Interstate Nursing Compact, language in the rules is obsolete and needs to be removed.
Prescriptions Written by APRNs
The current rules require information to be provided by APRNs ordering prescriptions that are not required of other providers authorized to write prescriptions. The rule revision removes those additional requirements to align with those of other providers.
Restraint & Seclusion Rules - Passed
The change to the Department of Health and Welfare Hospital Licensing Rules will allow Nurse Practitioners to order restraints and seclusion. Previously only a physician was authorized to order restraints. These changes align with CMS requirements and were done to protect the safety of patients and staff. ANA-Idaho/NLI worked alongside Disability Rights Idaho and the Department to draft the new rules. The rules passed both the House and Senate Committees and will become effective at the end of the legislative session.
Rules Requiring Insurance Coverage for Children’s Hearing Aids and Speech Therapy – Passed
Immunization Rules - Passed
The form used for parents to decline immunizations for their children became a hot topic during the 2018 legislative session. Over the summer, with the input of parents, the Department of Health and Welfare drafted rules to allow parents to use a modified form posted on the Departments website, a form developed by the school, or any form produced by the parent to decline immunizations. Previously students would not be allowed to attend school without having immunizations except under limited circumstances. The only requirements for the new form are that it includes the child’s name and birthdate and the parent/guardian signature. Several parents who oppose immunizations testified at the House hearing.
Another rule change would require high school seniors prior to graduation to receive a buster for the meningitis vaccination. The State Epidemiologist reported that there is a 76% compliance in receiving the initial meningitis vaccine at age 12, but it drops to 21% for the booster shot at age 17. The rule is intended to improve compliance. As with other vaccinations, parents have the option of declining the vaccination. There again were several parents who testified against vaccinations in general and against any requirement that students receive a vaccination even if the parents could opt-out. The new rule barely passed the committee 7-6. It now goes to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.
Proposition 2 became law when it was passed by the voters in November. The Department of Health and Welfare is submitting the state Medicaid Plan to include expansion to CMS this month. However, the legislature must appropriate money to cover the state’s portion of the cost. The Governor included the state’s share in his budget request. Inside the legislature, there is a lot of pushback. First there is the concern that state revenue will come in short, partly due to changes in the tax law. There is the lawsuit filed by the Freedom Foundation questioning the constitutionality of the initiative. That case will be heard on January 29th. There is also a federal court decision in Texas that ruled the Affordable Care Act which allows for Medicaid expansion is unconstitutional setting up a U.S. Supreme Court hearing. Some legislators are taking “wait-and-see” attitude to delay the decision on funding. Round two of implementing what 60% of Idaho voters approved may go down to the wire at the end of the session.
Religious Exemption to the Child Protection Act
On Wednesday, Protect Idaho Kids, an group advocating for children, hosted a documentary and discussion at the capitol. A draft bill is being circulated that would limit the religious exemption to the Child Protection Act in cases where serious illness, disability or the child’s life is in danger. The bill could get sidetracked if assigned to the State Affairs Committees or Judiciary and Rules rather than Health and Welfare. Leadership assigns committee hearings. Those Committees are more likely to table hearings or vote to oppose changing the law.
New Bills Introduced
The bill introduced by Representative Fred Wood, a retired physician from Burley, would open access to naloxone to anyone without a prescription. Naloxone is a very safe drug, and this bill would put it in the hands of families and friends of those at risk of opioid overdose.
Changes to the Complications of Abortion Reporting Law
The controversial law was passed in 2018 to require healthcare providers, physicians and nurses, to report on any complications of abortion including divulging patient information. The law also directs the Board of Nursing to take license action against nurses who fail to report. The law is being challenged in federal court. The changes presented by Representative Greg Chaney of Caldwell would add requirements to report on a women’s follow-up care after an abortion even when the women fails to follow-up.
CALL TO ACTION
Familiarize yourself with the Idaho Legislature website: www.legislature.idaho.gov
The site includes information on who your legislators are (you can search by your address), and how to contact them. In addition is information on House and Senate Standing Committees, with photos and background information on each legislator. The site also has links to Committee agendas and meeting minutes.