House sends telemedicine bill to governor

LITTLE ROCK — The House voted 92-0 Wednesday to approve and send to the governor a bill to loosen restrictions on telemedicine, or the treatment of patients using remote technology.

Senate Bill 146 by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, R-Rogers, would make several changes to a telemedicine law the Legislature approved in 2015, including a change to the requirements for establishing a professional relationship between a health-care professional and a patient.

Under the 2015 law, before a health-care professional can treat a patient remotely using telecommunications technology, he or she must establish a professional relationship with a patient by meeting with the patient either in person or using audio and visual technology. The patient must be at an “originating site” that is a licensed health-care facility.

SB 146 would change the law so that “originating site” would be defined as wherever the patient is at the time. After a professional relationship is established, the health-care professional could treat the patient using any type of technology.

The Senate approved SB 146 in a 3-0 vote Monday. A matching bill by Rep. Deborah Ferguson, D-West Memphis, cleared the House on Monday.


House rejects War Memorial Stadium spending bill

LITTLE ROCK — The House on Wednesday rejected an appropriations bill for the War Memorial Stadium Commission.

House Bill 1500 by the Joint Budget Committee, which includes a $1.5 million appropriation for new turf and scoreboards at War Memorial Stadium, received 40 votes in support and 25 votes against, falling short of the 75 votes it needed to pass.

Rep. Stephen Meeks, R-Greenbrier, spoke against the bill, saying it was not a good use of taxpayer dollars.