New laws that went into effect January 1

New laws that are effective as of January 1, 2018. 

Elections

    The omnibus elections law calls for the establishment of five uniform dates throughout the year for local elections.

    A special election in a city, town or school district must be held on one of the following dates: the second Tuesday in February; the second Tuesday in April; the second Tuesday in May; the second Tuesday in August (state primary date); or the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November (general election date).

    A special election may only be held on a different date if it is held in response to an emergency or disaster.

    School districts will be permitted to consolidate polling places if their election is a standalone one. The polling places must be designated polling places already in the district.

Health and Human Services

    Health plans that cover prescription eye drops will need to cover refills earlier than the expiration of a 30- or 90-day supply. The law takes effect for health plans offered, sold, issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2018.

    Age-related hearing loss can be an isolating experience and lead to depression, increased incidences of dementia, hospitalizations and falls. But the effects may be mitigated by well-informed staff trained to deal with communication barriers through a new law.

    The law will allow home care providers to include training about age-related hearing loss in the orientation they receive to help them interact more effectively with people who are hard of hearing in their care to improve the quality of their lives. Home care workers will also be able to count training in age-related hearing loss toward their annual training requirements.

    All staff performing direct home care services must undergo annual training that can address a range of topics, including maltreatment reporting, the home care bill of rights and infection control techniques....

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