2016 Session Wrap Up

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JACKSON – With the 2016 Spring Session of the Mississippi Legislature now in the books, the list of bills now either passed or awaiting approval by the governor is set. And as the Legislative Watchdog for our members, MASI is pleased to provide this final update.

 

As in years past, many dangerous bills were introduced – bills that if passed would have been very harmful to the self-insured workers’ comp and health community. We are proud of the fact that these bills again failed to pass, thanks in large part to the support of friends at the Capitol such as Senate Insurance Chairman Videt Carmichael and House Insurance Chairman Gary Chism. We thank them for their leadership and support.

 

MASI Helps Pass New Adjuster Bill

An important bill that MASI was involved in helping pass was SB2193, which creates a new license for workers’ comp adjusters. We believe this is a positive step forward for our industry and will result in better trained adjusters who will better serve the injured workers in our state. We hope to assist with adjuster training using the curriculum we have created for our Certified Self-Insured Workers’ Comp Professional program. This bill also creates parity and reciprocity with other states. A worrisome amendment was removed during conference, and we expect the governor to quickly sign this bill.

 

Workplace Wellness Tax Credit Dies In Final Hours

Mississippi’s Workplace Wellness Tax Credit died unfortunately in the final hours of the legislative session. We were hopeful that HB408 would prevail, having passed the House by a margin of 115 to 6. The Senate never acted on it, however, allowing it to die, as did the Senate version, SB2016.

 

House Ways and Means Chairman Jeff Smith fought valiantly to keep our Wellness Tax Credit alive by attaching it to the House Conference Report on SB2922, the Historic Tax Credit Bill. In the final hours of negotiations, however, the Senate struck the Wellness Tax Credit from the conference report.

 

If passed, this credit would have allowed $1 million in tax credits for employers who provide wellness programs for their employees, making Mississippi one of only four states to offer such a powerful incentive for healthy living.

 

We look forward to better results next year, however, and we do thank Governor Bryant, Speaker Gunn, and Insurance Commissioner Chaney for their support.

 

Other Bills That Have Passed…

Other bills we have been watching that have now been passed are as follows:

SB2070 – This bill requires accommodations by employers and public facilities for mothers who are breastfeeding. We believe this bill constitutes good public policy in that it will promote a healthy practice that is proven to contribute to the long term health of our citizens.

SB2189 – This bill changes the risk-based capital requirements for life and/or health insurers upon company action level event.

SB2192 – This bill allows the Insurance Commissioner to have more authority over taking action against non-resident producers who have been sanctioned for malfeasance in other states.

SB2300 – This bill revises eligibility for coverage in the Comprehensive Health Insurance Risk Pool and clarifies when an association may close enrollment.

SB2362 – This bill, called the Budget Transparency and Simplification Act, requires that all special funded agencies including the MWCC by placed under the control of the General Fund. Time will tell if it results in increased costs at the Commission, which could have an impact on our members.

HB 93 – This bill clarifies and revises the assignment provisions regarding health insurance.

For more information, or to visit the Legislative Homepage, click here.   

 

Workplace Wellness Tax Credit Passes House of Representatives!

Mississippi’s Workplace Wellness Tax Credit may be on its way to becoming law! It cleared a major hurdle this week: the Mississippi House of Representatives passed it by a margin of 115 to 6. Authored by House Ways and Means Chairman, Jeff Smith of Columbus, HB408, would allow $1 million in tax credits for employers who provide wellness programs for their employees. The tax credit would be capped at half of the cost of the wellness plan, up to a maximum of $20,000 per employer, and would be available on a first come, first serve basis.

 

MASI applauds Chairman Smith for his leadership and support of this important issue. His enthusiasm for this bill has never wavered, and we appreciate his leadership.

 

MASI also wishes to thank House Speaker Philip Gunn. Many will recall that Speaker Gunn enthusiastically expressed his support of the Wellness Tax Credit at the 2014 Fall Conference, and this week he acted on that endorsement and helped ensure its passage.

 

HB408 now heads to the Senate, where a companion bill, SB2016 awaits action in the Senate Finance Committee. This bill is authored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Joey Fillingane of Sumrall – and MASI applauds and appreciates his support!

 

To read talking points on MASI’s Wellness Tax Credit bill, CLICK HERE.

To view the vote on HB408, CLICK HERE.

To send an email expressing YOUR SUPPORT for MASI’s Wellness Tax Credit, CLICK HERE.

 

To visit the Legislative Homepage, click here.   Scroll down to the bottom of this email for a listing of active bills.

 

MS INSURANCE COMMISSIONER MIKE CHANEY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT WORKPLACE WELLNESS BILL

Speaking to a record crowd yesterday at MASI’s 9th Annual Winter Conference, MS Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney shared optimism that Mississippi’s Workplace Wellness Tax Credit may be passed this year. Along with an excellent update on the latest Affordable Care Act mandates, Commissioner Chaney applauded the concept of promoting wellness among the state’s employers, reporting that his own department has initiated a wellness program and is already seeing positive results. “People are getting healthier,” he said. “They are losing weight – diabetes is being reversed in some cases. It’s been really good.”

To send an email expressing YOUR SUPPORT for MASI’s Wellness Tax Credit, CLICK HERE.