Pre-filing of Legislation is Slow—and that is not a complaint

After the first day of pre-filing the pace of legislation filed in both the House and the Senate has slowed.  The first noteworthy health care bill would strike repayment of funds as a defense to criminal Medicaid Fraud.  HB 334 and SB 187 were both filed on November 17th and have identical language creating a new subsection to section 35A.02 of the Penal Code which, if adopted, would apparently prohibit a defendant provider from offering evidence that the government has recouped the alleged overpayments as a defense in a criminal Medicaid Fraud action.  We will keep an eye on these bills.  In what appears to be anti-lawsuit legislation filed to benefit the anti–anti-lawsuit legislation plaintiff’s bar, (yes,  irony is the word you are looking for) there is a bill filed which would prohibit lawsuits against plaintiff attorneys arising out of contingency fee agreements provided such agreements meet certain requirements. (HB 247).  While on the topic of irony, there has been a bill filed to prohibit discrimination against LGBT applicants for health insurance.  Meanwhile, a separate piece of legislation that clearly appears to be an anti-ObamaCare bill, provides that: “Each individual in this state has the right to choose or decline to choose to purchase health care coverage without penalty or sanction or threat of penalty or sanction.” This language, aside from it potential statement about ObamaCare, seems to extend non-discrimation protection to not only LGBT, but to non-citizen “individuals in this state.”  There are a few more proposed bills to wipe out most taxes in the state.  Finally, in legislation clearly intended to protect school children from teachers on the edge (and I am quick to add my firm belief that there is a special place in heaven for teachers) there is a bill that would extend the required duty free lunch break of classroom teachers and librarians from 30 to 45 minutes.   Stay tuned . . .

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