A quick admin note from yesterday – a link to a document I mentioned concerning SB310 was broke. It is now fixed. I’ll provide more details on SB310 and the results of the committee meeting later in the blog. Special thanks to everyone that alerted me to the problem (wow, people are actually reading the blog!)
My first meeting of the day was the Education Policy Committee at 0830. We discussed several bills at the meeting but the highlight was SB310, Tenure Reform. An amended bill was offered by the sponsor who incorporated numerous changes as recommended by committee members. I want to thank the sponsor for incorporating those changes and again I thank readers of this blog who took the time to help me identify specific areas of the bill that needed improving. We still need to tweak a couple of areas and I ask everyone to read the amended bill and once again provide quality feedback. An overview of changes is presented here and the new bill is linked here. Feel free to share with with your network (...I double, triple checked today’s links).
The physical therapist direct access bill was the subject of a public hearing this afternoon in the Health Committee meeting. This bill (linked in yesterday’s blog below) has received some push back from the medical community as the perception is the bill erodes into the medical arena and their professional capability to diagnose and recommend treatment options. I do not question that concept. I see this bill from a different perspective, as a patient rights/choice bill enabling expansion of healthcare services. In short, current law mandates that one must go to a physician and receive a referral to then be seen/treated by a physical therapist. This bill allows Alabamians to make the choice - go to my doctor first or go directly to a physical therapist. After some debate with others we decided to include an amendment that makes the bill a “limited, direct access”. This means patents can be seen by a physical therapist but only for a specific time and that if the condition does not improve the patient must be referred to a physician (the “cards” I was holding before the public hearing that I mentioned in last night's blog). By the way, should this bill pass, we will be the 47th state to allow direct, limited access to the physical therapy profession. Read that last sentence again…anytime I read a statement like that it makes me wonder who our laws are trying to protect. This is the type of health care reform we need.
Tomorrow I have a Tennessee Valley Caucus meeting at 0830 regarding the control of lake weeds in areas controlled by the Tennessee Valley Authority. I then have two committee meetings scheduled back to back: Banking and Insurance, and Commerce and Transportation. We go into session at 1000 and should take up the Illegal Immigration Bill introduced by Senator Beason. I support this bill but realize we have some work to do on the bill in its current form. Should be an interesting day; you can listen live to the debate on the Senate audio feed here.
This evening I plan to take in a Montgomery Biscuits minor league baseball game with several of my colleagues. We’ll have dinner at the stadium and, provided the weather holds, enjoy Military Appreciation Night as Montgomery plays Jacksonville. For those that are thinking it…no, we are not going to be wined and dined in box seats by lobbyist or special interest - that would’ve been the norm last year but no more under the new ethics laws. We are simply going to the ball park as a group of guys and I’m really looking forward to it! First pitch is at 7:05 – Go Biscuits!