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Juneau, Alaska – In a move to ensure greater public safety in the field of midwifery, Governor Sean Parnell signed Senate Bill 156 into law. Sponsored by Senator Pete Kelly, the legislation updates the Certified Direct-Entry Midwife Practice Act. Additionally, the bill requires a certified direct-entry midwife to be licensed, practicing for two years, and attend 50 or more births as a primary or assistant midwife before being able to supervise an apprentice direct-entry midwife.
Governor Parnell also signed legislation to help eradicate Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD). Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 urges the governor to increase the capability of rapid screening for FASD within state agencies and to expand residential substance abuse treatment services in Alaska for pregnant women experiencing drug or alcohol addiction challenges. The resolution was sponsored by Senator Kelly.
In an effort to reduce the skyrocketing costs of health care in Alaska, the governor signed House Concurrent Resolution 20, calling for the U.S. Congress and the president to eliminate the medical device tax contained in the Affordable Care Act. The resolution seeks to eliminate the 2.3% tax on manufacturers, which will undoubtedly be passed to consumers through higher costs to patients.
Governor Parnell also signed legislation allowing a second license plate to be used as an automobile’s primary plate. House Bill 293, sponsored by Representative Peggy Wilson, allows residents to choose between the current plain yellow plate and one that has a bear insignia – similar to the popular version dating to 1976. Additionally, the bill allows all firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMT), whether volunteer or paid, former or retired, to have a choice to purchase a specialty license plate that previously was only available to active or former firefighter or EMTs.