Attorney General touts consumer bills passed in 2013 legislative session

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller applauded the Legislature on the number of bills it passed this session which, he said, support law enforcement as well as serve and protect the state’s residents.

The attorney general, flanked by state senators and representatives from both parties, highlighted specific bills at a press conference Wednesday in his office. Zoeller described the legislative measures as tools that will give the attorney general’s office the ability to do its job better.

Zoeller wanted to recognize the work of the lawmakers who reached across party lines and between both chambers this session to support the areas that the attorney general’s office deal with in public health and safety.

Among the bills highlighted at the press conference was Senate Enrolled Act 1 which Zoeller and Sen. Pete Miller, R-Avon, introduced before the legislative session began. This measure establishes a grant program which schools can tap into to get matching funds to create or expand the number of school resources officers.
Other bills spotlighted included:
•    SEA 246, which provides new regulations to pain clinics;
•    SEA 382, which enhances the existing consumer protections statutes for victims age 60 and older; and
•    House Enrolled Act 1084, which amends the foreclosure consultant law to prohibit consultants from misrepresenting themselves as being affiliated with any government agency or program.

Speaking after the conference, Zoeller said the number of consumer-oriented bills that passed and the level of bipartisan cooperative in the 2013 Indiana General Assembly was typical of past sessions.

As an example of this year’s success, Zoeller pointed to SEA 559, a comprehensive bill dealing with Medicaid fraud signed by Gov. Mike Pence on Tuesday. Language tucked into the legislation requires that businesses that apply to provide transportation services to Medicaid recipients must first get a surety bond.

Medicaid transportation has seen a lot of abuse, Zoeller said, with companies billing for riders but offering no clear records that the people were actually driven to their medical appointments. Many times these providers then leave the state and the attorney general’s office has the difficult task of chasing them down to try to recoup the Medicaid payments.

“For years, I’ve wanted them to have a surety bond so that somebody has looked at them and made sure they are a legitimate provider and not a scam artist,” Zoeller said. “So we finally got it through this year after three efforts.”

Past efforts raised concerns that the surety bond requirement would reduce the number of transportation providers in rural communities. This bill contains a provision that allows the provider to receive a waiver in certain circumstances.


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