Legilsative briefs

The Assembly passed legislation Thursday requiring pharmacists to dispense the medications prescribed by doctors.

The issue was raised after some pharmacists began refusing to dispense RU486 - the so-called "morning after" birth control pill - because of their personal religious beliefs.

Assemblyman Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, said that becomes a problem for patients under certain HMO programs because they are restricted in where they can go to get prescriptions filled and still qualify for their benefits. It can also be a problem in rural areas where there are few pharmacists.

"The pharmacist is hired to dispense," she said. "This, therefore, simply makes it their duty to dispense and not question whether or not they like the medicine your doctor chooses."

Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, R-Reno, urged members to oppose the legislation saying "conscientious objection is a right that is guaranteed to us by the Constitution."

"When a pharmacist would refuse to fill a prescription because it violated the tenants of his faith, I think we have to give them that right," she said.

The vote for the legislation was 25-16 mostly along party lines.

The requirement was included in SB163, which made numerous changes to the operation and functioning of regulatory boards including changes designed to ensure public notification of and access to meetings.

The pharmacists language was included as an Assembly amendment so the bill must now go to a conference committee to resolve differences.

Insurance companies can no longer use substance abuse to deny injury claims

The Senate gave final legislative approval Thursday to legislation stopping insurance companies from denying injury claims simply because the victim was under the influence when the accident occurred.

AB63 was sponsored by Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, who said too many insurers are denying claims under current law simply because the individuals who suffered the injury had alcohol or drugs in their system.

The legislation does, however, allow companies to deny a claim by a person injured while committing or attempting to commit a felony, whether or not that person was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Hand-held gambling devices may come to a casino near you

State lawmakers on Thursday gave final approval to AB471, which lets gamblers operate hand-held devices while on the property of larger casinos. The "mobile gaming" would include games approved by the state Gaming Commission and would let gamblers place bets on roulette and blackjack or play slots by wireless transmission.

Proponents of the devices say the remote gambling option would help casinos stay competitive with Indian casinos and Internet betting.

Others within the monolithic casino industry are cautious, saying they want to learn more about the concept and the state regulations that will govern it.

Bill Eadington, director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno, said the potential impact of the devices, in their nascent stage, is largely unknown.


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