Stories on Bills You May Not Have Noticed… Welfare Felons, Bicycles & Drug Switching

Welfare Felons
A bill that, as introduced, would have prohibited anyone convicted of a drug-related felony from receiving welfare benefits has passed the Senate in a somewhat softened form.
As amended and approved 32-0 last week, SB96 would allow benefits to continue so long as the felon in question has enrolled in or completed a drug abuse counseling program.
“This bill gives these individuals notice that our charity is extended as long as they enroll and successfully complete treatment,” said sponsor Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville. “The bill, however, puts a stop to endless payments to those who continue to ignore our drug laws and who continue to abuse the system for public assistance.”
The bill is up for a final House vote Monday night with approval expected.
(Note: this post was clipped from an item in a recent ‘legislative notebook’ by yours truly. Bill summary from legislative website (as introduced) is HERE.
Bicycle Safety Bill
Last week, lawmakers approved a bill to require higher standards of due care when driving and to enhance penalties when bicyclists and pedestrians are hurt or killed in crashes involving motor vehicles, reports Richard Locker.
The bill was sought by Bike Walk Tennessee, a statewide advocacy group founded in 2009 to improve conditions and safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.
(Note: It’s SB1171. Bill summary page from legislative website HERE.)
Drug Switching
Amid the Tennessee legislature’s attempts this year to rein in prescription drug use is a bill regulating so-called “therapeutic substitutions” of medications. The National Consumers League (NCL) calls the practice “drug switching,” reports Hank Hayes.
NCL says the practice involves replacing a patient’s prescription drugs with chemically different drugs expected to have the same clinical effect. But problems with the practice arise in patient groups using antidepressants, and cardiovascular, epileptic and stomach medications, according to NCL.
(Note: The bill is HB716, which has been sent to ‘summer study,’ according to the legislature’s website. Bill summary HERE.

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