Oct 11, 2011- Updates from the W.Va. Capitol

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

Lawmakers came back to Charleston Tuesday to find out there are issues with the autism insurance law passed earlier this year.

During interim meetings Tuesday, West Virginia lawmakers heard about a series of issues with the autism law passed earlier this year that have to be changed for the law to work.

Lawmakers are also getting updates on prison overcrowding and an attempt to draft a law in response to the Casey Anthony case.

The Associated Press provided these updates:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A series of legislative errors threaten West Virginia's new law extending insurance coverage to a crucial treatment for children for autism.

Lawmakers were told Tuesday that while none of the mistakes is huge, they make the new law almost impossible to carry out.

That prompted a House-Senate Judiciary subcommittee to endorse corrective legislation for the upcoming regular session.

The new law eventually will require both public and private insurers to cover applied behavioral analysis. Experts say this treatment can greatly help with some of the neurological disorders that fall under the autism diagnosis.

The law exempts individual and small employer policies. It also sets spending and age limits. Some of the errors leave those limiting provisions unclear. Others kept language amended out of the bill before its final passage.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia lawmakers may require the construction of a new prison to ease the state's inmate crowding crisis.

The drafted proposal is one of two targeting the problem that lawmakers detailed Tuesday at an interim legislative meeting.

The other draft is more wide-ranging. It would promote strategies to curb repeat offenses, and encourage community-based alternatives to incarceration.

Drug offense punishments also would be changed. While keeping severe sentences for large-scale trafficking, this proposal would advocate probation for nonviolent offenders who possess small amounts of drugs.

A House-Senate Judiciary subcommittee plans to discuss both drafts next month.

West Virginia lacks the prison space for some 1,800 felons who instead are serving their sentences in regional jails. That has all of the state's jails over-capacity.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Casey Anthony's July acquittal has West Virginia lawmakers considering a new criminal charge for failing to report missing children.

The draft bill endorsed by a joint interim study committee Tuesday would target parents and other custodians who don't alert law enforcement.

It proposes a 12-hour deadline to report when the child is under age 12, and 24 hours for older children.

Penalties hinge on the child's age. They would become more severe if failing to report endangers the child's health or is meant to conceal a crime.

The draft bill is meant for next year's regular session. Similar proposals have emerged in other states since a Florida jury acquitted Anthony in the death of daughter Caylee.

Casey Anthony had failed to report the 2-year-old missing for more than a month.

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