September 18, 2020

N.J. eyes jail for mask scofflaws

GL Solutions regulatory news

N.J. Bill Proposes Jail Time for Failing to Wear Mask

Bills in New Jersey and Pennsylvania propose to make the refusal to wear a mask a crime. In New Jersey, S2814 calls for fines of up to $500 and/or jail sentences of up to 30 days for anyone who enters a store without a mask. according to Governing. Pennsylvania’s proposed SB1287 would make failing to wear a mask a second-degree misdemeanor, as the failure places another person “in danger of death or serious bodily injury.”

Report Faults Iowa DHS in Adopted Teen’s Death
A report released by the state ombudsman has determined that Iowa’s Department of Human Services failed to prevent the death of 16-year-old Sabrina Rey. DHS received multiple abuse reports against Rey’s adoptive parents. However, the investigation found DHS wrongly rejected those complaints, according to Iowa Public Radio. The report cited DHS failures in record keeping, training and communication between officials.

Quarter of Ariz. Nursing Homes Cited for COVID Lapses
Federal government inspectors cited over 25% of Arizona’s nursing homes for making mistakes that potentially cause COVID-19, like not wearing masks or using hand sanitizer. The inspectors cited 43 nursing homes, with 26 of those cited previously for infection control issues before the pandemic. In many cases, these nursing homes failed to follow their own procedures. The affected facilities serve over 3,400 residents, according to azcentral.

Audit Faults Ore. for Low-Income Mental Health Care
A recently released state audit found that Oregon fails to provide children and families the mental health care for which they qualify through the Oregon Health Plan. The audit traced many of the issues to high staff turnover. One behavioral health position, for example, remained unfilled for three years, according to The Oregonian. Data from the Oregon Department of Human Services show that in 2017 and 2018 only 49% of children received a mental health assessment within 60 days of entering the foster care system. Steve Allen, state behavioral health director, said the audit shows the “long-standing challenge within the behavioral health system, which is lack of timely, complete and accurate data.”

Calif. Warns Fire Victims about Construction Fraud
The district attorney or California’s Solano County, Krishna Abrams, warned residents to beware of construction fraud and price gauging as the area rebuilds from the LNU Lightning Complex Fire. In 2017, according to The Reporter, 50 Santa Rosa-area homeowners were defrauded by a Tulare-based construction company after the Tubbs Fire. Abrams urged homeowners to verify contractors’ licenses with the California Contractors State Licensing Board, www.cslb.ca.gov.

Mich. Eyes Licensure for People with Criminal Records
To help the state recover from the economic effects of COVID-19 and put more people back to work, a package of Michigan bills proposes to make occupational licenses easier to get for those with prior convictions.  According to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), Michigan requires licenses for about 150 careers in Michigan, such as barbers and architects. Currently, any criminal conviction counts as evidence to a licensing board that someone lacks the good moral character to enter a profession, according to the Detroit Free Press.

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