During today’s meeting of the Senate Committee on Health Policy three proposed bills were considered and voted on.
The most contentious of the three was Senate Bill (SB) 122, the Surrendered Newborn Infants Bill, also known as the “Baby Box Bill.” If passed, it would authorize the Department of Health to approve the use of a newborn infant safety devices (or baby boxes) at certain hospitals, emergency medical services stations and fire stations to be used anonymously by the mother to surrender a newborn infant, up to 30 days old to authorities.
Senator Dennis Baxley (R-District 12), the bill’s sponsor, passionately argued for the bill saying that it was truly a matter of life or death for an infant facing abandonment by its mother.
Questions were raised by Senator Lauren Book (D-District 32) over whether or not it was a good idea to let the mother leave her child anonymously and potentially not receive the counselling or care she needs and what the process would be regarding custody of the child following its placement at one of the baby box locations.
Baxley said, “The well-being of the child means far more to me than these other concerns. Life itself is being preserved and that has to take priority.”
SB 122 passed favorably with six yesses and 2 nays. It is now forwarded to the Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.
Another bill, SB 7000, the Nurse Licensure Compact, was also considered by the Health Policy committee. The committee bill amends a provision which provides an exception from public record requirements for certain personal identifying information. It was unanimously reported favorably.
SB 170, Podiatric Medicine, authorizes the Board of Podiatric Medicine to require a specified number of continuing education hours related to the safe and effective prescribing of controlled substances; providing for governance of podiatric physicians who are supervising medical assistants. It also was unanimously reported favorably by the Health Policy Committee.