Legislation Makes Its Way To Gov’s Desk

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A number of varied bills impacting students, schools and school leaders made it to the Governor’s desk December 17.

Pension Notification

Senate bill, S-2432 (Madden), requires notification of a member or retiree of a State administered retirement system under certain circumstances when a member or retiree requests a change in beneficiary for group life insurance purposes.   Specifically, the bill requires the Division of Pensions and Benefits of the Department of the Treasury to provide for the notification of any member or retiree of a State-administered retirement system if there is on file for that member or retiree a judgment, court order, decree, or other legal document, such as a court-approved domestic relations order, that specifies the beneficiary of group life insurance.  The notification would occur only if the member or retiree submits a change to the designation of beneficiary for contributory and non-contributory group life insurance.  The bill passed the Senate back in June by a vote of 40-0 and was approved by the Assembly last week by a vote of 67-0.

School Board Petitions

One measure, A-4386 (Coughlin), would permit candidates for school board in either April or November of each year to circulate a nominating petition jointly and be bracketed together on ballot.  Candidates would need to notify the secretary of the board of education in writing prior to drawing for position on the ballet.  The candidates themselves would decide the order in which they seek to appear on the ballot.  The bill also permits short non-political designation of principles on petitions and ballots and provides for a study on the impact of changes by the Secretary of Education,  in coordination with the Commissioner of Education and the clerks of each county.  The legislation passed the Assembly by a vote of 69-8-1 back in late June, it was approved by the Senate earlier this month by a vote of 34-1.

Epi-pen Training

In addition, the legislature approved a bill, A-4094 (Conaway), that would permit the administration of epinephrine auto-injector device by persons who complete approved educational program developed by the Commissioner of Health.  Dubbed the “Epinephrine Access and Emergency Treatment Act,”  the program would include training on the administration of epinephrine auto-injector devices, recognition of the symptoms of anaphylaxis, safe maintenance and storage of the devices, and such other information as the commissioner deems necessary.  Under the bill, health care professionals would be authorized to prescribe and dispense an epinephrine auto-injector device, either directly or through a standing order, to a person authorized to administer, maintain, and dispose of the device under the bill.

In addition, the bill confers immunity from civil and professional liability for prescribing or dispensing an epinephrine auto-injector device in accordance with the bill.  Immunity from civil liability would apply to: a person authorized to administer an epinephrine auto-injector device, for administering the device in good faith and without fee to a person who appears to be suffering from anaphylaxis or any other serious condition treatable with epinephrine; an entity authorized to obtain, maintain, and make available the devices to an authorized person employed by the entity for any act or omission which is undertaken in good faith in accordance with the bill; and a person or entity conducting an educational program approved by the commissioner for any act or omission undertaken in accordance with the bill. The bill provides that good faith does not include willful misconduct, gross negligence, or recklessness.

This bill blitzed through the Legislature throughout the month of December, passing the Assembly back on December 3 by a vote of 77-0 and the Senate December 7 by a vote of 35-0.