Del. legislative roundup: Lawmakers pass patient protection bills

    Three of the “Bradley Bills” get through the Delaware House and Senate. The measures would clarify reporting issues and increase penalties.

    The first three of several bills aimed at protecting Delaware’s youngest patients are headed to the governor for his signature.

    The entire package of patient protection bills was introduced two weeks ago in response to the case of Dr. Earl Bradley, a former Lewes pediatrician charged with sexually assaulting more than 100 patients over more than a decade.

    So far, three of the bills have easily cleared both the House and the Senate.

    One bill clarifies that health care institutions must report suspected child abuse or neglect and increases the penalties for not reporting.

    Another increases the fines for individuals who fail their mandatory duty to report suspected unprofessional conduct by a doctor.

    “I think people didn’t know when they needed to report a doctor whose behavior was wrong,” said Senate Majority Leader Patti Blevins (D-Elsmere). “So these bills will make it very clear when that’s appropriate and also will make it very clear the penalties for not doing so.”

    The third bill reorganizes the state medical licensing board and gives it greater authority to investigate and take action against doctors.

    The remainder of the so-called “Bradley Bills” are moving quickly through both chambers of the legislature.

    New emergency road rules clear Senate

    The state Senate has approved a bill that clarifies how state officials can restrict driving during snowstorms and other emergencies, and the penalties for violating those restrictions.

    The legislation was prompted by this past winter’s snowstorms, which resulted in many motorists ignoring driving bans during states of emergency.

    The bill establishes a three-tier system of driving restrictions, ranging from a warning to a complete driving ban.

    Liz Olsen, the Deputy Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security, testified that the bill would be a big help the next time a storm hits.

    “You’re going to make it easier for first responders,” she said. “You’re going to make it easier to clear the roads. And it’s going to keep them safer, because the less people that are out there the better off you are.”

    Motorists who ignore a driving ban or restriction would face fines ranging from $25 to $115 for a first offense and between $50 and $200 for subsequent offenses.

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