KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

In Calif., Gov. Brown, Legislative Leaders Finalize Health Plan Tax Deal

The proposal's backers say they have enough GOP support to gain approval in the Senate and Assembly. The vote is scheduled for Thursday. Meanwhile, state legislatures are active across the nation, with news outlets reporting developments in Utah, Idaho, Michigan, West Virginia, Kansas and Florida.

The Associated Press: Utah Lawmakers Back Plan To Declare Porn A Health Crisis
Utah Senators have unanimously supported a resolution declaring pornography a public health crisis. Plan sponsor Republican Sen. Todd Weiler of Wood Cross says he is not trying to ban porn. He says he wants to start a national movement so children are protected from it. Weiler says children are being exposed to pornography at an earlier age and that viewing the images and videos lead to relationship problems. (Mattise, 2/23)

The Associated Press: Senate Backs Bill Lowering Age For Pharmacists Vaccinations
The Idaho Senate has backed a proposal that would lower the age requirement for pharmacists to vaccinate children. Senate lawmakers voted 29-5 Tuesday on legislation that would allow children age six and older to get flu shots and vaccinations like tetanus shots from pharmacists with parental consent. Previously, the age limit was 12. (2/23)

The Detroit Free Press: Senate, House Task Force Formed To Look At Flint Water
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, and Speaker of the House Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, have formed the Joint Committee on the Flint Water Public Health Emergency to hold hearings on the Flint water crisis. The task force is expected to look at all levels of government — city, state and federal — to see how the situation happened and look at solutions for both Flint and how to prevent similar problems in the future. (Gray, 2/23)

The Sacramento Bee: Tobacco Tax Push To Delay Assisted Death Law
The forthcoming legislative vote to renew a health-plan tax would seem to be good news for proponents of last year’s controversial bill legalizing assisted death. That proposal, which will allow doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients, passed through the same special health care session where the tax deal is now pending, meaning it won’t take effect until 90 days after the session has ended. (Koseff, 2/23)

The Associated Press: Tobacco Tax Hike Cleared By West Virginia Senate
Facing a grim budget picture, the Republican-led Senate voted Tuesday for a bigger tobacco tax hike in West Virginia than Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin requested. The Senate's 26-6 vote sends the bill to the House of Delegates, where that chamber's Republican leadership has been more hesitant to raise taxes. Senate Democrats and 12 of 18 Republican senators favored the tax increase Tuesday. Senate President Bill Cole, who is the lead Republican running for governor, voted against it. (2/23)

Health News Florida: Lawmakers Won't Consider Medical Record Charge Increase
The Florida Legislature has killed a measure that would let doctors increase what they charge patients for copies of medical records to $1 a page. The proposal died not with a bang but a whimper, tabled indefinitely without ever coming to a vote in the House Subcommittee on Rulemaking Oversight and Repeal. (Gentry, 2/23)

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