JFC Motion #999

The wrap-up motion, also referred to as Motion #999, is the final omnibus motion introduced by JFC in every budget. The motion is always a grab bag of surprises as it can include nearly anything, and is not provided to the public until official introduction to the committee. This year, the 999 motion was released at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday night. Below are some of the more interesting items found in the 24-page omnibus motion.

Open/Public Record Provisions (#28-32)

Various provisions in the omnibus motion relate to protection of legislative and legislative serving agency documents. All “deliberate materials” are not to be considered a public records for the purpose of the state’s public records law. (#28)

The motion also provides that a legislator has a legal privilege or right to refuse to disclose, and to prevent, current or former staff members from disclosing a long list of communications and related records. These provisions would also direct legislative service agencies to observe the confidential nature of all communications, records and information that may be subject to these legislative privileges. (#29)

The Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) will be required to observe the confidential nature of research requests from legislators. All drafting files and other records related to such requests received by LRB must remain confidential at all times. The motion also deletes requirements that LRB maintained drafting records from prior sessions or otherwise provide legislative history services.

The committee also approved a provision that has Senate and Assembly rules or policies superseding any conflicting provision of the state’s public records law. (#31) Finally, provisions were adopted that allows communications between legislative service agencies notwithstanding the various confidentiality requirements imposed through this motion. (#32)

Limits on Local Authority (#55)

The motion limits towns or counties from imposing requirements that are expressly preempted by federal or state law as conditions for proving a conditional use permit. However, it appears this provision is a mere restatement of existing law.

This provision also prohibits any town or county from imposing insurance requirements on an operator of an interstate hazardous liquid pipeline if the pipeline company has comprehensive general liability coverage for sudden and accidental pollution.

Chiropractic Treatment Dispute Resolution Process (#44)

The JFC wrap up motion includes language which creates a new dispute resolution process relating to health insurance coverage of chiropractic care. This language will require the Insurance Commissioner to promulgate rules that “provide for a fast, fair, cost-effective and binding independent process for resolving disputes” over insurance coverage of chiropractic care.  These rules must include, among other issues: (1) A requirement that individuals requesting an independent dispute resolution must first exhaust any interval grievance procedure established by the insurer; (2) Procedures and timelines the independent reviewer must follow when reviewing a complaint, and a requirement that a complaint must be resolved within nine months after filing; (3) A requirement that the insurer pay the fees of the independent reviewer.

Potential Pharmacy Benefits Manager Regulation (#45)

The motion requires any pharmacy benefit manager, with respect to a contract with a pharmacy to: (1) Require maximum allowable cost pricing information be updated at least once every seven business days; (2) Require PBMs to reimburse pharmacies based on these updated lists; (3) Require each contract between a PBM and a pharmacy to include a process to appeal, investigate and resolve disputes regarding maximum allowable cost pricing.

These new regulations would take effect July 1, 2016.

Lead Paint Liability & Toxic Substance Enforcement (#33)

The motion changes the definition of “lead-bearing paint” and deletes current statutory provisions allowing for administrative rules to supersede this definition. The committee also increase the maximum forfeitures for violations of Chapter 254 provisions relating to lead paint from $1,000 to $5,000 per violation. Knowing violations of these provisions will result in criminal penalties not less than $100 or more than $5,000 per violation.

PSC Provisions (#51-54)

The committee made various changes related to the condemnation authority of oil pipeline companies, modified the regulation of alternative telecommunication utilities, and changed the definition of essential telecommunication services. The motion specifies that the chairperson of the PSC is a distinct appointment, deferring from that of a Commissioner, apparently for compensation purposes.

Statutory Minimum Wage Requirements (#58)

The Joint Finance Committee also approved some additions to minimum wage law and rules administered by the Department of Workforce Development. The provision repeals references to and provisions for a “living wage.”  The motion also statutorily sets minimum wage levels currently housed in administrative rule DWD 272.  Additionally, it provides in statute an allowance against the minimum wage to an employer who provides room and board to their employee.  It also establishes in statute employee classification definitions currently provided in DWD rules.

One Day of Rest in Seven (#56)

This provision inserts the language of Assembly Bill 118 into the budget bill. The provision allows employees to voluntarily choose to work without one day of rest in seven. Current law requires every factory or mercantile employer allow each employee 24 hours of rest in every consecutive seven days.

Military Property Program (#16)

In April, JFC voted to make several changes to the Military Property Program, also known as the 1033 program. In the motion in April, JFC added new processes, oversight and reporting for state or local law enforcement to participate in the program. In motion 999, the committee repealed all the changes previously made in April.

Extension of Water or Sewerage Service Between Municipalities (#66)

The motion would authorize a municipality to request an extension of water or sewer services from another municipality for areas not already having such services. The provision contains various requirements relating to such requests; for example, a requirement that the water or sewer utility approve or disapprove the request in writing within 45 days. Requests cannot be disapproved less the utility has insufficient capacity to serve the subject area or if the request will have a significant adverse effect on utility.