STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS - MORNING EDITION - TUESDAY, JULY 15, 2014

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

MED DEVICE SALES, ALCOHOL SALES, SOCIAL MEDIA BILLS ON SENATE AGENDA

The Senate on Thursday plans to consider legislation that would regulate the sale of medical devices to patients out of a health care provider's office, seeking to bring transparency to any potential profits doctors might be earning as well as giving patients information about "reasonable" alternatives. "The practice of health care practitioners selling products for profit in their offices to patients creates the potential for a conflict of interest, creates undue pressure on the patient, and may lead to adverse decision making by health care practitioners and patients," wrote the drafters of the bill (S 2128), which emerged from the Health Care Financing Committee. Another bill on the docket (S 2118) would ban employers from requiring employees or applicants to provide access or disclose passwords to personal social media sites. The Senate plans its first formal session of the week at 1 p.m. The Senate also plans to consider a bill (H 228) allowing the retail sale of alcohol on Sunday starting at 10 a.m. instead of noon; a bill ( S 2120) that would lower retainage rates on private construction projects; and legislation (H 2387) related to the Dedham-Westwood water district. - M. Murphy/SHNS

FLOOD INSURANCE BILL SENT TO GOV. PATRICK

The Senate on Monday sent to the governor's desk a bill that bans creditors from requiring homeowners to buy flood insurance policies at amounts exceeding the outstanding balance of their mortgage.


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The bill (H 3783) also bans mortgage lenders from requiring coverage for the contents of the home, or including a deductible of less than $5,000. The legislation requires notices for homeowners explaining that minimum flood insurance requirements will protect the outstanding mortgage interest and not the value of the home, according to a Senate Ways and Means Committee summary. The bill was originally filed by Attorney General Martha Coakley, House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop), and Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth). The House unanimously passed the bill in March and the Senate voted 34 to 3 for the bill in June. In a statement after the Senate's passage of the legislation, Coakley said, "This bill will help protect homeowners living in flood zones from unaffordable insurance premiums. This measure, combined with federal legislation signed into law earlier this year, will help families facing increased flood insurance premiums remain in their homes." - G. Dumcius/SHNS

JUDGE DETAILS CHARGE TO JURY IN PROBATION CASE

U.S. District Court Judge William Young spent the better part of Tuesday morning telling the jury in the criminal trial of three former state probation department managers how they can decide the charges pending against former Probation Commissioner John O'Brien and his former top deputies Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke III. The three defendants are fighting charges that they oversaw a rigged hiring system intended to deliver jobs to candidates recommended by lawmakers in exchange for preferential treatment by the Legislature. Closing arguments in the ten-week trial are planned for later Tuesday. - M. Norton, A. Metzger/SHNS