High court lets Hobby Lobby, others opt out of contraception coverage under ACA

June 30, 2014 3 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) again this term, and today, it held in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. that the ACA’s contraceptive mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) as it is applied to “closely held corporations.” According to the Court’s 5-4 opinion, the mandate “substantially burdens the exercise of religion.”

Under the ACA (and related Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations), many health insurance plans must cover certain preventive services for women without cost sharing (e.g., coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles). These preventive services include contraceptive methods and counseling—or more specifically, “all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”

read more…

Tennessee’s “guns in trunks” law takes effect July 1

June 27, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by Kara E. Shea

The Tennessee law giving handgun carry permit holders the right to transport and store firearms and/or ammunition in their vehicles parked in an employer’s parking lot goes into effect July 1. With the enforcement deadline at hand, employers understandably want to know whether they need to alter current “no weapons” policies that ban weapons on all parts of their property, including parking lots. Unfortunately, the answer remains uncertain, although a recent opinion from the state attorney general seems to indicate that you still may be able to enforce such policies.

To recap, the popularly dubbed “guns in trunks” bill was signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam on March 14 after it passed by a wide margin in both the Tennessee Senate and House of Representatives. Previous versions of the law faced resistance from the Tennessee business community last year, but it passed easily this year, helped along by provisions of the new bill stating that businesses won’t be liable for damages or injuries caused by firearms stored by employees on their premises in accordance with the new law.

read more…