BOSTON - Coming up on Beacon Hill:
WHAT IF A CANDIDATE DIES (H 3422) - The House gave initial approval to a bill that would allow votes for a candidate to count if he or she wins his or her party nomination in a primary, but dies before the General Election. Supporters said an old Supreme Judicial Court ruling says that votes cast for a deceased candidate do not count. That has led to the possibility that a write-in candidate who gets a handful of votes could win the election. The bill would allow the deceased candidate's votes to count, and then the seat would be considered "vacant" and filled by a special election.
BAD DRIVER POINTS (H 897) - The Committee on Financial Services held a hearing on legislation that would reduce from five years to three years the amount of time a moving motor vehicle violation stays on a driver's record and causes higher insurance rates.
PUBLIC HEALTH COMMITTEE - The Committee on Public Health held a hearing last week. Dozens of bills were on the agenda including the following:
INSPECT DOC'S OFFICE (H 1979) - Allows the state to inspect any doctor's office without notice, during regular business hours, to verify that the office is clean and sanitary, has all necessary equipment and is properly maintaining patient records.
ACCESS BY DISABLED (H 2057) - Requires that medical equipment be accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities, including examination tables and chairs, weight scales, mammography equipment, x-ray machines and any other equipment commonly used for diagnostic purposes.
LEGIBLE PRESCRIPTIONS (H 2090) - Designed to avoid problems caused by the poor handwriting of some doctors, this measure prohibits pharmacies from filling any prescription unless it has been hand printed, typed or electronically generated.
VIDEOTAPE SURGERY (H 2105) - Allows any patient undergoing surgery to privately pay for a licensed medical videographer to tape the patient's surgery. The measure is named "Leona's Law" in memory of Leona Trabucco, who died in 2000 during hip surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
LIMIT NEW DOCTORS' HOURS OF WORK (S 1167) - Creates an advisory council to study and make recommendations about limiting the work hours of resident physicians in Massachusetts hospitals.
PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION (S 1083) - Requires hospitals and other health care facilities to provide transportation home via taxi, car or bus for all resident physicians, medical students and other health care providers who have worked for more than 16 consecutive hours and judge themselves to be too fatigued to drive safely.
During the week of Nov. 4-8. The House met for a total of 12 hours and three minutes while the Senate met for a total of three hours and 45 minutes.
Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org