Much to the consternation and disappointment of Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Legislature adjourned on June 20 for the summer in-district break, leaving the Fiscal Year 2020 state budget and road funding deal unfinished.
While session days are tentatively scheduled in July on both House and Senate calendars, the current expectation is that legislators will not return to Lansing this summer unless it is to vote on budget or road funding legislation.
Before leaving town, several bills on MAFP’s radar saw some movement. Among them are two bills focused on e-prescribing. Senate Bills 248 and 254 would mandate that, beginning January 1, 2021, all prescribers submit all prescriptions to the pharmacy electronically or face a fine. The legislation does offer exemptions for, among other things, temporary technology issues, submitting prescriptions over the phone, and veterinarian prescriptions.
SB 248 and 254 also require that Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs create a waiver process for physicians who are unable to comply with the e-prescribing mandate due to “technological limitation” or “exceptional circumstance.”
Each chamber has its own version of the bills. The Senate bills passed committee, with substitutes, but have not been placed on the calendar for consideration by the full chamber. The substitutes made several changes to the original bills. Among them is aligning the mandate’s implementation date with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ implementation date of Medicare Part D e-prescribing. Meanwhile, the House committee has heard testimony on its e-prescribing bills but has not yet taken a vote.
Due to several concerns with the bills—including the unfunded e-prescribing mandate, administrative burden, and fine for non-compliance—MAFP remains opposed to SB 248 and 254 as currently written and is working with bill sponsors in both chambers to address the concerns.
Pregnancy Termination Legislation
Before adjourning for the summer break, Senate Bills 229 and 230 also moved through the Senate along party line votes and are before the House Judiciary Committee. These bills prohibit all dilation and evacuation pregnancy termination procedures. Governor Whitmer has vowed to veto any and all legislation that would negatively impact a woman’s right to choose and limit access to healthcare.
Knowing there would not be enough votes to overturn a veto if the legislation were to pass both chambers, Right to Life Michigan began the process of a ban through the ballot initiative. If the petition receives the required roughly 340,000 signatures, the Legislature could choose to adopt the language and pass the law with a simple majority. This would prevent the measure from needing the Governor’s signature of approval and keep it off the ballot. Another group is working on a petition to implement a measure in Michigan which would prohibit pregnancy termination after a fetal heartbeat is detected.