By McCall                                              H.B. No. 411
         76R2967 KKA-D                           
                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-1                                   AN ACT
 1-2     relating to the regulation of assisted living facilities.
 1-4           SECTION 1.  AMENDMENT.  Chapter 247, Health and Safety Code,
 1-5     is amended to read as follows:
 1-7                      SUBCHAPTER A.  GENERAL PROVISIONS
 1-8           Sec. 247.001.  SHORT TITLE.  This chapter may be cited as the
 1-9     Assisted Living [Personal Care] Facility Licensing Act.
1-10           Sec. 247.0011.  SCOPE, PURPOSE, AND IMPLEMENTATION.  (a)  The
1-11     purpose of this chapter is to ensure that assisted living
1-12     facilities in this state deliver the highest possible quality of
1-13     care.  This chapter and the rules adopted under this chapter
1-14     establish minimum acceptable levels of care, and a violation of a
1-15     minimum acceptable level of care established under this chapter is
1-16     a violation of law.  For purposes of this chapter, components of
1-17     quality of care include:
1-18                 (1)  resident independence and self-determination;
1-19                 (2)  humane treatment;
1-20                 (3)  conservative intervention;
1-21                 (4)  access to care;
1-22                 (5)  continuity of care;
1-23                 (6)  coordination of services;
1-24                 (7)  safe surroundings;
 2-1                 (8)  professionalism of service providers;
 2-2                 (9)  participation in useful studies; and
 2-3                 (10)  quality of life.
 2-4           (b)  The department shall protect residents of assisted
 2-5     living facilities by:
 2-6                 (1)  adopting rules relating to quality of care and
 2-7     quality of life;
 2-8                 (2)  regulating the construction, maintenance, and
 2-9     operation of assisted living facilities;
2-10                 (3)  strictly monitoring factors relating to the
2-11     health, safety, welfare, and dignity of each resident;
2-12                 (4)  imposing prompt and effective remedies for
2-13     violations of this chapter and rules and standards adopted under
2-14     this chapter;
2-15                 (5)  providing a residential environment that allows
2-16     residents to maintain the highest possible degree of independence
2-17     and self-determination; and
2-18                 (6)  providing the public with helpful and
2-19     understandable information relating to the operation of assisted
2-20     living facilities in this state.
2-21           (c)  This chapter shall be construed broadly to accomplish
2-22     the purposes identified in this section.
2-23           Sec. 247.002.  DEFINITIONS.  In this chapter:
2-24                 (1)  "Assisted living facility" means an establishment
2-25     that:
2-26                       (A)  furnishes, in one or more facilities, food
2-27     and shelter to three or more persons who are unrelated to the
 3-1     proprietor of the establishment; and
 3-2                       (B)  provides personal care services.
 3-3                 (2)  "Board" means the Texas Board of Human Services.
 3-4                 (3)  "Controlling person" means a person who controls
 3-5     an assisted living facility or other person as described by Section
 3-6     247.005.
 3-7                 (4) [(2)]  "Department" means the Texas Department of
 3-8     Human Services.
 3-9                 (5) [(3)  "Personal care facility" means an
3-10     establishment, including a board and care home, that:]
3-11                       [(A)  furnishes, in one or more facilities, food
3-12     and shelter to four or more persons who are unrelated to the
3-13     proprietor of the establishment; and]
3-14                       [(B)  provides personal care services.]
3-15                 [(4)]  "Personal care services" means:
3-16                       (A)  assistance with meals, dressing, movement,
3-17     bathing, or other personal needs or maintenance;
3-18                       (B)  the administration of medication by a person
3-19     licensed to administer medication or the assistance with or
3-20     supervision of medication; or
3-21                       (C)  general supervision or oversight of the
3-22     physical and mental well-being of a person who needs assistance to
3-23     maintain a private and independent residence in an assisted living
3-24     [a personal care] facility or who needs assistance to manage the
3-25     person's personal life, regardless of whether a guardian has been
3-26     appointed for the person.
3-27                 (6) [(5)]  "Qualified religious society" means a
 4-1     church, synagogue, or other organization or association that is
 4-2     organized primarily for religious purposes and that:
 4-3                       (A)  has been in existence in this state for at
 4-4     least 35 years; and
 4-5                       (B)  does not distribute any of its income to its
 4-6     members, officers, or governing body other than as reasonable
 4-7     compensation for services or reimbursement of expenses.
 4-8           Sec. 247.003.  APPLICATION OF OTHER LAW.  (a)  Except as
 4-9     provided by Subsection (b), Chapter 242 does not apply to an
4-10     assisted living [a personal care] facility licensed under this
4-11     chapter.
4-12           (b)  Subchapter D, Chapter 242, applies to an assisted living
4-13     [a personal care] facility, and the department shall administer and
4-14     enforce that subchapter for an assisted living [a personal care]
4-15     facility in the same manner it is administered and enforced for a
4-16     nursing home.
4-17           Sec. 247.004.  EXEMPTIONS.  This chapter does not apply to:
4-18                 (1)  a boarding facility that has rooms for rent and
4-19     that may offer community meals but that does not provide personal
4-20     care services;
4-21                 (2)  an establishment conducted by or for the adherents
4-22     of the Church of Christ, Scientist, for the purpose of providing
4-23     facilities for the care or treatment of the sick who depend
4-24     exclusively on prayer or spiritual means for healing without the
4-25     use of any drug or material remedy if the establishment complies
4-26     with local safety, sanitary, and quarantine ordinances and
4-27     regulations; or
 5-1                 (3)  a facility conducted by or for the adherents of a
 5-2     qualified religious society classified as a tax-exempt organization
 5-3     under an Internal Revenue Service group exemption ruling for the
 5-4     purpose of providing personal care services without charge solely
 5-5     for the society's professed members or ministers in retirement, if
 5-6     the facility complies with local safety, sanitation, and quarantine
 5-7     ordinances and regulations.
 5-8           Sec. 247.005.  CONTROLLING PERSON.  (a)  A person is a
 5-9     controlling person if the person, acting alone or with others, has
5-10     the ability to directly or indirectly influence, direct, or cause
5-11     the direction of the management, expenditure of money, or policies
5-12     of an assisted living facility or other person.
5-13           (b)  For purposes of this chapter, "controlling person"
5-14     includes:
5-15                 (1)  a management company, landlord, or other business
5-16     entity that operates or contracts with others for the operation of
5-17     an assisted living facility;
5-18                 (2)  a person who is a controlling person of a
5-19     management company or other business entity that operates an
5-20     assisted living facility or that contracts with another person for
5-21     the operation of an assisted living facility; and
5-22                 (3)  any other individual who, because of a personal,
5-23     familial, or other relationship with the owner, manager, landlord,
5-24     tenant, or provider of an assisted living facility, is in a
5-25     position of actual control or authority with respect to the
5-26     facility, without regard to whether the individual is formally
5-27     named as an owner, manager, director, officer, provider,
 6-1     consultant, contractor, or employee of the facility.
 6-2           (c)  A controlling person described by Subsection (b)(3) does
 6-3     not include an employee, lender, secured creditor, landlord, or
 6-4     other person who does not exercise formal or actual influence or
 6-5     control over the operation of an assisted living facility.
 6-6           (d)  The department may adopt rules that specify the
 6-7     ownership interests and other relationships that qualify a person
 6-8     as a controlling person.
6-10           Sec. 247.021.  LICENSE REQUIRED.  (a)  A person may not
6-11     establish or operate an assisted living [a personal care] facility
6-12     without a license issued under this chapter.
6-13           (b)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person
6-14     shall obtain a license under this chapter and comply with all
6-15     requirements applicable to an assisted living facility if the
6-16     person provides personal care services through an agency licensed
6-17     under Chapter 142 to three or more individuals who:
6-18                 (1)  are unrelated to the person; and
6-19                 (2)  reside on the premises at which the agency is
6-20     located.
6-21           (c)  The department by rule shall establish procedures to
6-22     issue a six-month provisional license to existing facilities with
6-23     residents.  The department may issue a provisional license only if:
6-24                 (1)  the facility is in compliance with resident care
6-25     standards; and
6-26                 (2)  the facility seeks the license not later than the
6-27     30th day after the first date on which the facility is notified
 7-1     that the facility is required to be licensed under this chapter
 7-2     [voluntarily discloses that the facility needs additional time to
 7-3     comply with life safety code and physical plant standards;]
 7-4                 [(3)  the disclosure is made in writing by certified
 7-5     mail to the department;]
 7-6                 [(4)  an investigation of the violation was not
 7-7     initiated and the violation was not independently detected by the
 7-8     department; and]
 7-9                 [(5)  the disclosure is made promptly after knowledge
7-10     of the information disclosed is obtained by the facility].
7-11           (d) [(c)]  If, at the end of the six-month provisional
7-12     license period, the facility does not meet life safety code and
7-13     physical plant standards, the department may not issue a license to
7-14     the facility.
7-15           Sec. 247.022.  LICENSE APPLICATION.  (a)  An applicant for an
7-16     assisted living [a personal care] facility license must submit an
7-17     application to the department on a form prescribed by the
7-18     department.
7-19           (b)  Each application must be accompanied by a nonrefundable
7-20     license fee in an amount set by the board.
7-21           (c)  The department may provide technical assistance to an
7-22     applicant by making brief inspections of the assisted living
7-23     [personal care] facility proposed to be licensed and making
7-24     recommendations concerning actions necessary to meet standards for
7-25     assisted living [personal care] facilities.
7-26           Sec. 247.023.  ISSUANCE AND RENEWAL OF LICENSE.  (a)  The
7-27     department shall issue a license if, after inspection and
 8-1     investigation, it finds that the applicant, [and] the assisted
 8-2     living [personal care] facility, and any controlling person with
 8-3     respect to the applicant or facility meet the requirements of this
 8-4     chapter and the standards adopted under this chapter.
 8-5           (b)  To renew a license, the license holder must submit to
 8-6     the department the annual license renewal fee.
 8-7           (c)  The board may require participation in a continuing
 8-8     education program as a condition of renewal of a license.  The
 8-9     board shall adopt rules to implement this subsection.
8-10           Sec. 247.0231.  COMPLIANCE RECORD IN OTHER STATES.  The
8-11     department may require an applicant or license holder to provide
8-12     the department with information relating to compliance by the
8-13     applicant, the license holder, or a controlling person with respect
8-14     to the applicant or license holder with regulatory requirements in
8-15     another state in which the applicant, license holder, or
8-16     controlling person operates or operated an assisted living
8-17     facility.
8-18           Sec. 247.024.  FEES[; DISPOSITION OF REVENUE].  (a)  The
8-19     board shall set license fees imposed by this chapter:
8-20                 (1)  on the basis of the number of beds in assisted
8-21     living facilities required to pay the fee; and
8-22                 (2)  in amounts reasonable and necessary to defray the
8-23     cost of administering this chapter[, but not to exceed:]
8-24                 [(1)  $300 for a personal care facility that has not
8-25     more than 10 beds;]
8-26                 [(2)  $350 for a personal care facility that has not
8-27     less than 11 or more than 20 beds; and]
 9-1                 [(3)  $400 for a personal care facility that has 21 or
 9-2     more beds].
 9-3           (b)  [All fees or penalties collected under this chapter
 9-4     shall be deposited in the state treasury to the credit of the
 9-5     general revenue fund and shall be appropriated to the department
 9-6     only to administer and enforce this chapter.]
 9-7           [(c)]  Investigation fees or attorney's fees may not be
 9-8     assessed against or collected from an assisted living [a personal
 9-9     care] facility by or on behalf of the department or another state
9-10     agency unless the department or other state agency assesses and
9-11     collects a penalty authorized by this chapter from the facility.
9-12           Sec. 247.025.  ADOPTION OF RULES.  The board shall adopt
9-13     rules necessary to implement this chapter, including requirements
9-14     for the issuance, renewal, denial, suspension, and revocation of a
9-15     license to operate an assisted living [a personal care] facility.
9-16           Sec. 247.026.  STANDARDS.  (a)  The board by rule shall
9-17     prescribe minimum standards to protect the health and safety of an
9-18     assisted living [a personal care] facility resident.
9-19           (b)  The standards must:
9-20                 (1)  clearly differentiate an assisted living [a
9-21     personal care] facility from an institution required to be licensed
9-22     under Chapter 242;
9-23                 (2)  ensure quality care and protection of the
9-24     residents' health and safety without excessive cost; and
9-25                 (3)  require an assisted living [a personal care]
9-26     facility to:
9-27                       (A)  indicate [use its license number] in all
 10-1    advertisements, solicitations, and promotional materials that the
 10-2    facility is licensed by the department or that an application for a
 10-3    license is pending before the department; and
 10-4                      (B)  provide each prospective resident or
 10-5    prospective resident's representative, as appropriate, with a
 10-6    consumer disclosure statement in a standard form adopted by the
 10-7    department.
 10-8          (c)  The board shall require an assisted living facility that
 10-9    provides brain injury rehabilitation services to include in the
10-10    facility's consumer disclosure statement a specific statement that
10-11    licensure as an assisted living facility does not indicate state
10-12    review, approval, or endorsement of the facility's rehabilitation
10-13    services.
10-14          (d)  The board may prescribe different levels of minimum
10-15    standards for assisted living [personal care] facilities according
10-16    to the number of residents, the type of residents, the level of
10-17    personal care provided, and other distinctions the board considers
10-18    relevant.
10-19          (e) [(d)]  Local health and safety standards adopted by the
10-20    municipality in which an assisted living [a personal care]
10-21    facility is located do not apply to the facility unless the
10-22    standards specifically state that they apply to assisted living
10-23    [personal care] facilities.
10-24          (f) [(e)]  The board by rule shall prescribe minimum
10-25    standards requiring appropriate training in geriatric care for each
10-26    individual who provides services to geriatric residents as an
10-27    employee of an assisted living [a personal care] facility and who
 11-1    holds a license or certificate issued by an agency of this state
 11-2    that authorizes the person to provide the services.  The minimum
 11-3    standards may require that each licensed or certified individual
 11-4    complete an appropriate program of continuing education or
 11-5    in-service training, as determined by board rule, on a schedule
 11-6    determined by board rule.
 11-7          (g) [(f)]  Any individual otherwise qualified, who has been
 11-8    employed by a licensed assisted living [personal care] facility for
 11-9    at least 90 days, shall be eligible to be certified as a medication
11-10    aide following completion of the required course of study and
11-11    successful completion of any required examination.
11-12          (h)  An individual may not serve as the administrator of an
11-13    assisted living facility that has 17 beds or more unless the
11-14    individual:
11-15                (1)  has a bachelor's degree from a public or private
11-16    institution of higher education;
11-17                (2)  has at least one year of experience working in the
11-18    health care industry; and
11-19                (3)  has completed at least one educational course on
11-20    the management of assisted living facilities.
11-21          Sec. 247.0261.  EARLY COMPLIANCE REVIEW.  (a)  The department
11-22    by rule shall adopt a procedure under which a person proposing to
11-23    construct or modify an assisted living facility may submit building
11-24    plans to the department for review for compliance with the
11-25    department's architectural requirements before beginning
11-26    construction or modification.  In adopting the procedure, the
11-27    department shall set reasonable deadlines by which the department
 12-1    must complete review of submitted plans.
 12-2          (b)  The department shall promptly review plans submitted
 12-3    under this section for compliance with the department's
 12-4    architectural requirements and inform the person of the results of
 12-5    the review.  If the plans comply with the department's
 12-6    architectural requirements, the department may not subsequently
 12-7    change the architectural requirements applicable to the project
 12-8    unless:
 12-9                (1)  the change is required by federal law; or
12-10                (2)  the person fails to complete the project within a
12-11    reasonable time.
12-12          (c)  The department may charge a reasonable fee for
12-13    conducting a review under this section.
12-14          (d)  A fee collected under this section shall be deposited in
12-15    the general revenue fund to the credit of the assisted living
12-16    account and shall be appropriated only to the department to conduct
12-17    reviews under this section.
12-18          Sec. 247.027.  INSPECTIONS.  In addition to the inspection
12-19    required under Section 247.023(a), the department may inspect an
12-20    assisted living [a personal care] facility at reasonable times as
12-21    necessary to assure compliance with this chapter.
12-22          Sec. 247.0271.  INSPECTOR TRAINING.  (a)  The department
12-23    shall develop and implement a training program to provide
12-24    specialized training to department employees who inspect assisted
12-25    living facilities under this chapter.  The training must emphasize
12-26    the distinction between an assisted living facility and an
12-27    institution licensed under Chapter 242.
 13-1          (b)  In developing and updating the training program required
 13-2    by this section, the department shall consult with operators of
 13-3    assisted living facilities and consumers of personal care services
 13-4    provided by assisted living facilities or legal representatives of
 13-5    those consumers.
 13-6          Sec. 247.028.  ASSISTANCE BY DEPARTMENT.  The department may
 13-7    provide assistance to an assisted living [a personal care]
 13-8    facility, including the provision of training materials, the
 13-9    coordination of training conferences and workshops with other state
13-10    agencies, and the development of a provider's handbook explaining
13-11    assisted living [personal care] facility rules.
13-13    DISEASE.  (a)  The board by rule shall establish a classification
13-14    and license for a facility that advertises, markets, or otherwise
13-15    promotes that the facility provides personal care services to
13-16    residents who have Alzheimer's disease or related disorders.  A
13-17    facility is not required to be classified under this section to
13-18    provide care or treatment to residents who have Alzheimer's disease
13-19    or related disorders.
13-20          (b)  The board shall adopt minimum standards for an assisted
13-21    living [a personal care] facility classified under this section.
13-22          (c)  An individual may not serve as the administrator of an
13-23    assisted living facility classified under this section or as the
13-24    supervisor of an assisted living facility unit classified under
13-25    this section unless the individual is at least 21 years of age and
13-26    has:
13-27                (1)  a bachelor's degree from a public or private
 14-1    institution of higher education in psychology, gerontology,
 14-2    nursing, or a related field; or
 14-3                (2)  at least one year of experience working with
 14-4    persons with dementia.
 14-6    GENERAL WELFARE.  (a)  The board by rule shall establish a
 14-7    classification and license for a facility that provides only
 14-8    medication supervision and general supervision of residents'
 14-9    welfare.
14-10          (b)  The board shall adopt minimum standards for an assisted
14-11    living facility classified under this section.  The board shall
14-12    modify standards generally applicable to a facility licensed under
14-13    this chapter as necessary for a facility classified under this
14-14    section to reflect the level of services provided by the facility.
14-15          Sec. 247.031 [247.029].  MUNICIPAL ENFORCEMENT.  The
14-16    governing body of a municipality by ordinance may:
14-17                (1)  prohibit a person who does not hold a license
14-18    issued under this chapter from establishing or operating an
14-19    assisted living [a personal care] facility within the municipality;
14-20    and
14-21                (2)  establish a procedure for emergency closure of a
14-22    facility in circumstances in which:
14-23                      (A)  the facility is established or operating in
14-24    violation of Section 247.021; and
14-25                      (B)  the continued operation of the facility
14-26    creates an immediate threat to the health and safety of a resident
14-27    of the facility.
 15-1                    SUBCHAPTER C.  GENERAL ENFORCEMENT
 15-3    (a)  The department may deny, suspend, or revoke a license for a
 15-4    violation of this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter.
 15-5          (b)  The denial, suspension, or revocation of a license by
 15-6    the department and the appeal from that action are governed by the
 15-7    procedures for a contested case hearing under Chapter 2001,
 15-8    Government Code.
 15-9          Sec. 247.042.  EMERGENCY SUSPENSION OR CLOSING ORDER.
15-10    (a)  If the department finds an assisted living [a personal care]
15-11    facility operating in violation of the standards prescribed under
15-12    this chapter and the violations create an immediate threat to the
15-13    health and safety of a resident in the facility, the department
15-14    shall suspend the license or order immediate closing of all or part
15-15    of the facility.
15-16          (b)  The order suspending a license under Subsection (a) is
15-17    effective immediately on written notice to the license holder or on
15-18    the date specified in the order.
15-19          (c)  The order suspending the license and ordering closure of
15-20    all or part of an assisted living [a personal care] facility is
15-21    valid for 10 days after its effective date.
15-22          (d)  The department shall provide for the relocation of
15-23    residents of an assisted living [a personal care] facility that is
15-24    closed.  The relocation may not be to a facility with a more
15-25    restrictive environment unless all other reasonable alternatives
15-26    are exhausted.  Relocation procedures shall be adopted as part of
15-27    the memorandum of understanding adopted under Section 247.062.
 16-1          Sec. 247.043.  INVESTIGATION OF ABUSE, EXPLOITATION, OR
 16-2    NEGLECT.  (a)  The department shall conduct a preliminary
 16-3    investigation of each allegation of abuse, exploitation, or neglect
 16-4    of a resident of an assisted living [a personal care] facility to
 16-5    determine if there is evidence to corroborate the allegation.  If
 16-6    the department determines that there is evidence to corroborate the
 16-7    allegation, the department shall conduct a thorough investigation
 16-8    of the allegation.
 16-9          (b)  If the thorough investigation reveals that abuse,
16-10    exploitation, or neglect has occurred, the department shall:
16-11                (1)  implement enforcement measures, including closing
16-12    the facility, revoking the facility's license, relocating
16-13    residents, and making referrals to law enforcement agencies;
16-14                (2)  notify the Department of Protective and Regulatory
16-15    Services of the results of the investigation;
16-16                (3)  notify a health and human services agency, as
16-17    defined by Section 531.001, Government Code, that contracts with
16-18    the facility for the delivery of personal care services of the
16-19    results of the investigation; and
16-20                (4)  provide to a contracting health and human services
16-21    agency access to the department's documents or records relating to
16-22    the investigation.
16-23          (c)  Providing access to a confidential document or record
16-24    under Subsection (b)(4) does not constitute a waiver of
16-25    confidentiality.
16-26          Sec. 247.044.  INJUNCTION.  (a)  The department may petition
16-27    a district court for a temporary restraining order to restrain a
 17-1    continuing violation of the standards or licensing requirements
 17-2    provided under this chapter if the department finds that:
 17-3                (1)  the violation creates an immediate threat to the
 17-4    health and safety of the assisted living [personal care] facility
 17-5    residents; or
 17-6                (2)  the facility is operating without a license.
 17-7          (b)  A district court, on petition of the department and on a
 17-8    finding by the court that a person is violating the standards or
 17-9    licensing requirements provided under this chapter, may by
17-10    injunction:
17-11                (1)  prohibit a person from continuing a violation of
17-12    the standards or licensing requirements provided under this
17-13    chapter;
17-14                (2)  restrain the establishment or operation of an
17-15    assisted living [a personal care] facility without a license issued
17-16    under this chapter; or
17-17                (3)  grant any other injunctive relief warranted by the
17-18    facts.
17-19          (c)  The department may petition a district court for a
17-20    temporary restraining order to inspect a facility allegedly
17-21    required to be licensed and operating without a license when
17-22    admission to the facility cannot be obtained.  If it is shown that
17-23    admission to the facility cannot be obtained, the court shall order
17-24    the facility to allow the department admission to the facility.
17-25          (d)  The attorney general or local prosecuting attorney may
17-26    institute and conduct a suit authorized by this section at the
17-27    request of the department.
 18-1          (e)  Venue for a suit brought under this section is in the
 18-2    county in which the assisted living [personal care] facility is
 18-3    located or in Travis County.
 18-4          Sec. 247.045.  CIVIL PENALTIES.  (a)  Except as provided by
 18-5    Subsections [Subsection] (b) and (c), a person who violates this
 18-6    chapter or who fails to comply with a rule adopted under this
 18-7    chapter and whose violation is determined by the department to
 18-8    threaten the health and safety of a resident of an assisted living
 18-9    [a personal care] facility is subject to a civil penalty of not
18-10    less than  $100 nor more than $10,000 for each act of violation.
18-11    Each day of a continuing violation constitutes a separate ground of
18-12    recovery.
18-13          (b)  A person is subject to a civil penalty if the person:
18-14                (1)  is in violation of Section 247.021; or
18-15                (2)  has been determined to be in violation of Section
18-16    247.021 and violates any other provision of this chapter or fails
18-17    to comply with a rule adopted under this chapter.
18-18          [(b)  A person who does not possess a license for a personal
18-19    care facility as required by Section 247.021 is subject to a civil
18-20    penalty of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000 for each act
18-21    of violation.  Each day of a continuing violation constitutes a
18-22    separate ground for recovery.]
18-23          (c)  The amount of a civil penalty under Subsection (b) may
18-24    not be less than $1,000 or more than $10,000 for each act of
18-25    violation.  Each day of a continuing violation constitutes a
18-26    separate ground of recovery.
18-27          (d)  The attorney general may institute and conduct a suit to
 19-1    collect a penalty and fees under this section at the request of the
 19-2    department.  [(c)]  If the attorney general fails to take action
 19-3    within 30 days of referral from the department, the department
 19-4    shall refer the case to the local district attorney, county
 19-5    attorney, or city attorney.  The district attorney, county
 19-6    attorney, or city attorney shall file suit in a district court to
 19-7    collect and retain the penalty.
 19-8          (e) [(d)]  Investigation and attorney's fees may not be
 19-9    assessed or collected by or on behalf of the department or other
19-10    state agency unless the department or other state agency assesses
19-11    and collects a penalty described under this chapter.
19-12          (f) [(e)]  The department and attorney general, or other
19-13    legal representative as described in Subsection (d) [(c)], shall
19-14    work in close cooperation throughout any legal proceedings
19-15    requested by the department.
19-16          (g) [(f)]  The commissioner of human services must approve
19-17    any settlement agreement to a suit brought under this chapter.
19-18          Sec. 247.046.  COOPERATION AMONG AGENCIES.  The board, the
19-19    Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, and the attorney
19-20    general shall adopt by rule a memorandum of understanding that:
19-21                (1)  defines each agency's responsibilities concerning
19-22    assisted living [personal care] facilities and coordinates each
19-23    agency's activities;
19-24                (2)  details coordinated procedures to be used by each
19-25    agency in responding to complaints relating to neglect or abuse of
19-26    residents of facilities, to substandard facilities, and to
19-27    unlicensed facilities;
 20-1                (3)  identifies enforcement needs each agency may have
 20-2    in order to perform its duties under the memorandum of
 20-3    understanding, including any need for access to information or to
 20-4    facilities under investigation or operating under a plan of
 20-5    correction; and
 20-6                (4)  provides a plan for correcting violations in
 20-7    substandard or unlicensed assisted living [personal care]
 20-8    facilities that specifies the conditions under which it is
 20-9    appropriate to impose such a plan and that outlines a schedule of
20-10    implementation for the plan.
20-11          Sec. 247.047 [247.046].  TRANSITION.  The department shall
20-12    grant to a personal care facility licensed on or before  December
20-13    31, 1990, under Chapter 242 a temporary permit to continue
20-14    operation until the department performs any inspection or
20-15    investigation required by this chapter.
20-17    GOVERNMENTS.  The department periodically shall conduct regional
20-18    training programs for representatives of local governments and
20-19    appropriate state agencies relating to assisted living facility
20-20    concerns.  The training programs must provide to participants
20-21    information relating to the assisted living facility industry,
20-22    including information on:
20-23                (1)  the general characteristics of assisted living
20-24    facilities and residents of those facilities;
20-25                (2)  the different types of assisted living facilities;
20-26                (3)  the laws applicable to assisted living facilities;
20-27    and
 21-1                (4)  the authority of the department and other entities
 21-2    to enforce applicable laws.
 21-4                                FACILITIES]
 21-5          [Sec. 247.051.  ADVISORY COMMITTEE.  (a)  The Advisory
 21-6    Committee on Personal Care Facilities consists of nine members
 21-7    appointed by the board.  The commissioner of human services shall
 21-8    appoint one staff member from the department to serve as a
 21-9    nonvoting advisory member.]
21-10          [(b)  The board shall appoint the advisory committee to
21-11    provide for a balanced representation of personal care providers
21-12    and consumers and shall appoint one member who has expertise in
21-13    life safety code regulations.  At least one of the provider members
21-14    must be representative of a nonprofit facility, and at least one
21-15    member must be a family member of a resident of a facility.]
21-16          [(c)  The committee shall elect the presiding officer from
21-17    among its members.]
21-18          [(d)  The committee shall advise the department on standards
21-19    for licensing personal care facilities and on the implementation of
21-20    this chapter.]
21-22          Sec. 247.061.  PILOT PROGRAM:  OFFICE OF ASSISTED LIVING
21-23    [PERSONAL CARE] FACILITY OMBUDSMAN.  (a)  The Texas Department on
21-24    Aging, under its office of long-term care ombudsman, shall
21-25    establish and operate a pilot program providing an assisted living
21-26    [a personal care] facility ombudsman in one or more counties.
21-27          (b)  The department may operate the office directly or by
 22-1    contract or memorandum of agreement with a public agency or other
 22-2    appropriate private nonprofit organization, including an
 22-3    organization for family members of persons with mental illness or
 22-4    an advocacy group concerning mental health, disabilities, or senior
 22-5    citizens.
 22-6          (c)  The pilot program shall recruit volunteers and citizen
 22-7    organizations to participate in the ombudsman program.
 22-8          (d)  The office shall provide training to ombudsmen,
 22-9    including training in mental illness and special needs of the
22-10    elderly or disabled.
22-11          (e)  An ombudsman in the pilot program may not make
22-12    investigations.
22-13          (f)  The Texas Department on Aging and the department shall
22-14    cooperate in developing guidelines for the pilot program.
22-15          Sec. 247.062.  COORDINATION BETWEEN AGENCIES.  (a)  The
22-16    department and the attorney general shall adopt by rule a
22-17    memorandum of understanding that:
22-18                (1)  defines each agency's responsibilities concerning
22-19    assisted living [personal care] facilities;
22-20                (2)  outlines and coordinates procedures to be used by
22-21    those agencies in responding to complaints concerning assisted
22-22    living [personal care] facilities; and
22-23                (3)  provides a plan for correcting violations or
22-24    deficiencies in assisted living [personal care] facilities.
22-25          (b)  The department shall prepare the initial draft of the
22-26    memorandum of understanding and shall facilitate and ensure its
22-27    adoption.
 23-2    FACILITIES; CONSUMERS' GUIDE.  (a)  The department shall prepare a
 23-3    directory of assisted living [personal care] facilities that
 23-4    includes the name of the owner, the address and telephone number of
 23-5    the facility, the number of beds in the facility, and the
 23-6    facility's accessibility to disabled persons.
 23-7          (b)  The department shall revise the directory annually and
 23-8    shall make it available to the public.
 23-9          (c)  The department shall prepare a consumers' guide to
23-10    assisted living [personal care] facilities and make it available to
23-11    the public.  The consumers' guide shall provide information on
23-12    licensing requirements for assisted living [personal care]
23-13    facilities, a brief description of minimum standards for
23-14    facilities, a copy of the residents' bill of rights, a copy of the
23-15    providers' bill of rights, and any other information that the
23-16    department determines may be useful to the public.
23-17          Sec. 247.064.  REFERRALS.  (a)  If the Texas Department of
23-18    Mental Health and Mental Retardation or a local mental health or
23-19    mental retardation authority refers a patient or client to an
23-20    assisted living [a personal care] facility, the referral may not be
23-21    made to a [personal care] facility that is not licensed under this
23-22    chapter.
23-23          (b)  If the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental
23-24    Retardation or a local mental health or mental retardation
23-25    authority gains knowledge of an assisted living [a personal care]
23-26    facility that is not operated or licensed by the Texas Department
23-27    of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, the authority, or the
 24-1    Texas Department of Human Services and that has three [four] or
 24-2    more residents who are unrelated to the proprietor of the facility,
 24-3    the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation or the
 24-4    authority shall report the name, address, and telephone number of
 24-5    the facility to the Texas Department of Human Services.
 24-6          Sec. 247.0641.  ACCESS.  An employee of the Texas Department
 24-7    of Mental Health and Mental Retardation or an employee of a local
 24-8    mental health and mental retardation authority may enter an
 24-9    assisted living facility as necessary to provide services to a
24-10    resident of the facility.
24-11          Sec. 247.065.  RESIDENTS' BILL OF RIGHTS.  (a)  Each assisted
24-12    living [personal care] facility shall post a residents' bill of
24-13    rights in a prominent place in the facility.
24-14          (b)  The residents' bill of rights must provide that each
24-15    resident in the assisted living [personal care] facility has the
24-16    right to:
24-17                (1)  manage the resident's financial affairs;
24-18                (2)  determine the resident's dress, hair style, or
24-19    other personal effects according to individual preference, except
24-20    that the resident has the responsibility to maintain personal
24-21    hygiene;
24-22                (3)  retain and use personal property in the resident's
24-23    immediate living quarters and to have an individual locked cabinet
24-24    in which to keep personal property;
24-25                (4)  receive and send unopened mail;
24-26                (5)  unaccompanied access to a telephone at a
24-27    reasonable hour or in case of an emergency or personal crisis;
 25-1                (6)  privacy;
 25-2                (7)  unrestricted communication, including personal
 25-3    visitation with any person of the resident's choice, at any
 25-4    reasonable hour, including family members and representatives of
 25-5    advocacy groups and community service organizations;
 25-6                (8)  make contacts with the community and to achieve
 25-7    the highest level of independence, autonomy, and interaction with
 25-8    the community of which the resident is capable;
 25-9                (9)  present grievances on behalf of the resident or
25-10    others to the operator, state agencies, or other persons without
25-11    threat of reprisal in any manner;
25-12                (10)  a safe and decent living environment and
25-13    considerate and respectful care that recognizes the dignity and
25-14    individuality of the resident;
25-15                (11)  refuse to perform services for the facility,
25-16    except as contracted for by the resident and operator;
25-17                (12)  practice the religion of the resident's choice;
25-18                (13)  leave the facility temporarily or permanently,
25-19    subject to contractual or financial obligations; and
25-20                (14)  not be deprived of any constitutional, civil, or
25-21    legal right solely by reason of residence in an assisted living [a
25-22    personal care] facility.
25-23          (c)  The residents' bill of rights must be written in the
25-24    primary language of each resident of the facility and must also
25-25    provide the toll-free telephone number of the department for
25-26    reporting abuse or neglect.
25-27          (d)  The rights provided under this section do not take
 26-1    precedence over health and safety rights of other residents of the
 26-2    facility.
 26-3          (e)  The department shall develop a residents' bill of rights
 26-4    in accordance with this section and provide a copy to each
 26-5    facility.  The copy shall be written in the primary language of
 26-6    each resident of the facility.
 26-7          Sec. 247.066.  PROVIDERS' BILL OF RIGHTS.  (a)  Each assisted
 26-8    living [personal care] facility shall post a providers' bill of
 26-9    rights in a prominent place in the facility.
26-10          (b)  The providers' bill of rights must provide that a
26-11    provider of personal care services has the right to:
26-12                (1)  be shown consideration and respect that recognizes
26-13    the dignity and individuality of the provider and assisted living
26-14    [personal care] facility;
26-15                (2)  terminate a resident's contract for just cause
26-16    after a written 30-day notice;
26-17                (3)  terminate a contract immediately, after notice to
26-18    the department, if the provider finds that a resident creates a
26-19    serious or immediate threat to the health, safety, or welfare of
26-20    other residents of the assisted living [personal care] facility;
26-21                (4)  present grievances, file complaints, or provide
26-22    information to state agencies or other persons without threat of
26-23    reprisal or retaliation;
26-24                (5)  refuse to perform services for the resident or the
26-25    resident's family other than those contracted for by the resident
26-26    and the provider;
26-27                (6)  contract with the community to achieve the highest
 27-1    level of independence, autonomy, interaction, and services to
 27-2    residents;
 27-3                (7)  access to patient information concerning a client
 27-4    referred to the facility, which must remain confidential as
 27-5    provided by law;
 27-6                (8)  refuse a person referred to the facility if the
 27-7    referral is inappropriate;
 27-8                (9)  maintain an environment free of weapons and drugs;
 27-9    and
27-10                (10)  be made aware of a resident's problems, including
27-11    self-abuse, violent behavior, alcoholism, or drug abuse.
27-12          Sec. 247.067.  APPROPRIATE PLACEMENT DETERMINATION.  (a)  The
27-13    department may not require the removal and relocation of a resident
27-14    of an assisted living facility if the resident's presence in the
27-15    facility does not endanger other residents and the resident can
27-16    receive adequate care at the facility through services:
27-17                (1)  provided by the facility; or
27-18                (2)  obtained by the resident from other providers.
27-19          (b)  In assessing whether a resident can receive adequate
27-20    care at a facility, the department shall consider all relevant
27-21    factors, including the placement preference of the resident and the
27-22    resident's family members or other representatives.
27-24          Sec. 247.068.  HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS.  (a)  In this
27-25    section, "health care professional" means an individual licensed,
27-26    certified, or otherwise authorized to administer health care, for
27-27    profit or otherwise, in the ordinary course of business or
 28-1    professional practice.  The term includes a physician, registered
 28-2    nurse, and physical therapist.
 28-3          (b)  A health care professional may provide services within
 28-4    the professional's scope of practice to a resident of an assisted
 28-5    living facility at the facility.
 28-6          Sec. 247.069.  RETALIATION PROHIBITED.  (a)  A person
 28-7    licensed under this chapter may not retaliate against a person for
 28-8    filing a complaint, presenting a grievance, or providing in good
 28-9    faith information relating to personal care services provided by
28-10    the license holder.
28-11          (b)  This section does not prohibit a license holder from
28-12    terminating an employee for a reason other than retaliation.
28-13          SECTION 2.  AMENDMENT.  Section 250.001(3), Health and Safety
28-14    Code, is amended to read as follows:
28-15                (3)  "Facility" means:
28-16                      (A)  a nursing home, custodial care home, or
28-17    other institution licensed by the Texas Department of Human
28-18    Services under Chapter 242;
28-19                      (B)  an assisted living [a personal care]
28-20    facility licensed by the Texas Department of Human Services under
28-21    Chapter 247;
28-22                      (C)  a home health agency licensed [by the Texas
28-23    Department of Health] under Chapter 142;
28-24                      (D)  an adult day care facility [or adult day
28-25    health care facility] licensed by the Texas Department of Human
28-26    Services under Chapter 103, Human Resources Code;
28-27                      (E)  a facility for persons with mental
 29-1    retardation licensed under Chapter 252 [or certified by the Texas
 29-2    Department of Human Services];
 29-3                      (F)  an unlicensed attendant care agency that
 29-4    contracts with the Texas Department of Human Services;
 29-5                      (G)  [an intermediate care facility for persons
 29-6    with mental retardation that is certified by the Texas Department
 29-7    of Human Services to participate in the Medicaid program under
 29-8    Title XIX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 1396 et
 29-9    seq.);]
29-10                      [(H)]  an adult foster care provider that
29-11    contracts with the Texas Department of Human Services; or
29-12                      (H) [(I)]  a facility that provides mental health
29-13    services and that is operated by or contracts with the Texas
29-14    Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation.
29-15          SECTION 3.  AMENDMENT.  Section 36.002, Human Resources Code,
29-16    is amended to read as follows:
29-17          Sec. 36.002.  UNLAWFUL ACTS.  A person commits an unlawful
29-18    act if the person:
29-19                (1)  knowingly or intentionally makes or causes to be
29-20    made a false statement or misrepresentation of a material fact:
29-21                      (A)  on an application for a contract, benefit,
29-22    or payment under the Medicaid program; or
29-23                      (B)  that is intended to be used to determine a
29-24    person's eligibility for a benefit or payment under the Medicaid
29-25    program;
29-26                (2)  knowingly or intentionally conceals or fails to
29-27    disclose an event:
 30-1                      (A)  that the person knows affects the initial or
 30-2    continued right to a benefit or payment under the Medicaid program
 30-3    of:
 30-4                            (i)  the person; or
 30-5                            (ii)  another person on whose behalf the
 30-6    person has applied for a benefit or payment or is receiving a
 30-7    benefit or payment; and
 30-8                      (B)  to permit a person to receive a benefit or
 30-9    payment that is not authorized or that is greater than the payment
30-10    or benefit that is authorized;
30-11                (3)  knowingly or intentionally applies for and
30-12    receives a benefit or payment on behalf of another person under the
30-13    Medicaid program and converts any part of the benefit or payment to
30-14    a use other than for the benefit of the person on whose behalf it
30-15    was received;
30-16                (4)  knowingly or intentionally makes, causes to be
30-17    made, induces, or seeks to induce the making of a false statement
30-18    or misrepresentation of material fact concerning:
30-19                      (A)  the conditions or operation of a facility in
30-20    order that the facility may qualify for certification or
30-21    recertification required by the Medicaid program, including
30-22    certification or recertification as:
30-23                            (i)  a hospital;
30-24                            (ii)  a nursing facility or skilled nursing
30-25    facility;
30-26                            (iii)  a hospice;
30-27                            (iv)  an intermediate care facility for the
 31-1    mentally retarded;
 31-2                            (v)  an assisted living [a personal care]
 31-3    facility; or
 31-4                            (vi)  a home health agency; or
 31-5                      (B)  information required to be provided by a
 31-6    federal or state law, rule, regulation, or provider agreement
 31-7    pertaining to the Medicaid program;
 31-8                (5)  except as authorized under the Medicaid program,
 31-9    knowingly or intentionally charges, solicits, accepts, or receives,
31-10    in addition to an amount paid under the Medicaid program, a gift,
31-11    money, a donation, or other consideration as a condition to the
31-12    provision of a service or continued service to a Medicaid recipient
31-13    if the cost of the service provided to the Medicaid recipient is
31-14    paid for, in whole or in part, under the Medicaid program;
31-15                (6)  knowingly or intentionally presents or causes to
31-16    be presented a claim for payment under the Medicaid program for a
31-17    product provided or a service rendered by a person who:
31-18                      (A)  is not licensed to provide the product or
31-19    render the service, if a license is required; or
31-20                      (B)  is not licensed in the manner claimed;
31-21                (7)  knowingly or intentionally makes a claim under the
31-22    Medicaid program for:
31-23                      (A)  a service or product that has not been
31-24    approved or acquiesced in by a treating physician or health care
31-25    practitioner;
31-26                      (B)  a service or product that is substantially
31-27    inadequate or inappropriate when compared to generally recognized
 32-1    standards within the particular discipline or within the health
 32-2    care industry; or
 32-3                      (C)  a product that has been adulterated,
 32-4    debased, mislabeled, or that is otherwise inappropriate;
 32-5                (8)  makes a claim under the Medicaid program and
 32-6    knowingly or intentionally fails to indicate the type of license
 32-7    and the identification number of the licensed health care provider
 32-8    who actually provided the service;
 32-9                (9)  knowingly or intentionally enters into an
32-10    agreement, combination, or conspiracy to defraud the state by
32-11    obtaining or aiding another person in obtaining an unauthorized
32-12    payment or benefit from the Medicaid program or a fiscal agent; or
32-13                (10)  is a managed care organization that contracts
32-14    with the Health and Human Services Commission or other state agency
32-15    to provide or arrange to provide health care benefits or services
32-16    to individuals eligible under the Medicaid program and knowingly or
32-17    intentionally:
32-18                      (A)  fails to provide to an individual a health
32-19    care benefit or service that the organization is required to
32-20    provide under the contract;
32-21                      (B)  fails to provide to the commission or
32-22    appropriate state agency information required to be provided by
32-23    law, commission or agency rule, or contractual provision;
32-24                      (C)  engages in a fraudulent activity in
32-25    connection with the enrollment of an individual eligible under the
32-26    Medicaid program in the organization's managed care plan or in
32-27    connection with marketing the organization's services to an
 33-1    individual eligible under the Medicaid program; or
 33-2                      (D)  obstructs an investigation by the attorney
 33-3    general of an alleged unlawful act under this section.
 33-4          SECTION 4.  AMENDMENT.  Section 123.004, Human Resources
 33-5    Code, is amended to read as follows:
 33-6          Sec. 123.004.  QUALIFICATION AS COMMUNITY HOME.  To qualify
 33-7    as a community home, an entity must comply with Sections 123.005
 33-8    through 123.008 and be:
 33-9                (1)  a community-based residential home operated by:
33-10                      (A)  the Texas Department of Mental Health and
33-11    Mental Retardation;
33-12                      (B)  a community center organized under
33-13    Subchapter A, Chapter 534, Health and Safety Code, that provides
33-14    services to persons with disabilities;
33-15                      (C)  an entity subject to the Texas Non-Profit
33-16    Corporation Act (Article 1396-1.01 et seq., Vernon's Texas Civil
33-17    Statutes); or
33-18                      (D)  an entity certified by the Texas Department
33-19    of Human Services as a provider under the medical assistance
33-20    program serving persons in intermediate care facilities for persons
33-21    with mental retardation; or
33-22                (2)  an assisted living [a personal care] facility
33-23    licensed under Chapter 247, Health and Safety Code, provided that
33-24    the exterior structure retains compatibility with the surrounding
33-25    residential dwellings.
33-27    in law to a personal care facility means an assisted living
 34-1    facility, as defined by Section 247.002, Health and Safety Code, as
 34-2    amended by this Act.
 34-4    later than January 1, 2000, the Texas Department of Human Services
 34-5    shall:
 34-6                (1)  identify unlicensed facilities in this state that
 34-7    are required to be licensed under Chapter 247, Health and Safety
 34-8    Code, as amended by this Act; and
 34-9                (2)  take action to enforce the licensure requirements.
34-10          (b)  Not later than December 1, 2000, the department shall
34-11    submit to the governor and the legislature a report describing the
34-12    results of the  department's efforts under this section.  The
34-13    report must include:
34-14                (1)  the number of facilities identified;
34-15                (2)  the geographical distribution of those facilities;
34-16    and
34-17                (3)  the results of the department's efforts to enforce
34-18    licensure of those facilities.
34-19          (c)  This section takes effect on the first date that it may
34-20    take effect under Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.
34-22    As soon as possible after the effective date of this section, the
34-23    Texas Department of Human Services and the Texas Department of
34-24    Licensing and Regulation shall form a joint work group to study and
34-25    make recommendations not later than September 1, 2000, to those
34-26    agencies concerning the application of the Texas Accessibility
34-27    Standards and other architectural requirements to facilities
 35-1    required to be licensed under Chapter 247, Health and Safety Code.
 35-2          (b)  The work group shall:
 35-3                (1)  review bathroom accessibility standards applicable
 35-4    to a facility and make suggestions regarding any necessary changes
 35-5    to those standards;
 35-6                (2)  determine whether the architectural reviews of a
 35-7    facility currently conducted separately by each agency could be
 35-8    consolidated into a single review;
 35-9                (3)  develop standard information materials that
35-10    address architectural requirements applicable to construction or
35-11    modification of a facility; and
35-12                (4)  address any other issue relating to architectural
35-13    standards applicable to a facility.
35-14          (c)  The agencies shall include in the work group
35-15    representatives of developers and providers of facilities and
35-16    consumers of personal care services provided by facilities.
35-17          (d)  The members of the work group shall elect a presiding
35-18    officer and any other necessary officers for the work group.
35-19          (e)  The work group shall meet at the call of the presiding
35-20    officer.
35-21          (f)  A member of the work group receives no compensation for
35-22    serving on the work group.
35-23          (g)  The work group is not subject to Chapter 2110,
35-24    Government Code.
35-25          (h)  The work group dissolves and this section expires
35-26    September 1, 2001.
35-27          (i)  This section takes effect on the first date that it may
 36-1    take effect under Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.
 36-3    (a)  As soon as possible after the effective date of this section,
 36-4    the Texas Department of Human Services by rule shall develop and
 36-5    implement a new reimbursement method for personal care services
 36-6    funded through the community-based alternatives program that is
 36-7    based on the type of service provided instead of the number of
 36-8    clients occupying a room.
 36-9          (b)  This section takes effect on the first date that it may
36-10    take effect under Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.
36-12    later than January 1, 2000, the Texas Department of Human Services
36-13    shall adopt the consumer disclosure statement required by Section
36-14    247.026(b)(3)(B), Health and Safety Code, as added by this Act.
36-15          SECTION 10.  LEGISLATIVE INTENT.  Section 247.045(d), Health
36-16    and Safety Code, as amended by this Act, is intended to emphasize
36-17    the authority of the attorney general to institute and conduct a
36-18    suit to collect a penalty and fees.  The amendment may not be
36-19    construed to mean that the attorney general lacked that authority
36-20    before the effective date of this Act.
36-21          SECTION 11.  WAIVERS.  If, before implementing any provision
36-22    of this Act, a state agency determines that a waiver or
36-23    authorization from a federal agency is necessary for implementation
36-24    of that provision, the agency affected by the provision shall
36-25    request the waiver or authorization and may delay implementing that
36-26    provision until the waiver or authorization is granted.
36-27          SECTION 12.  CONFLICTS.  To the extent of any conflict, this
 37-1    Act prevails over another Act of the 76th Legislature, Regular
 37-2    Session, 1999, relating to nonsubstantive additions to and
 37-3    corrections in enacted codes.
 37-4          SECTION 13.  EFFECTIVE DATE.  Except as otherwise provided by
 37-5    this Act, this Act takes effect September 1, 1999.
 37-6          SECTION 14.  EMERGENCY.  The importance of this legislation
 37-7    and the crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
 37-8    emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
 37-9    constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
37-10    days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended,
37-11    and that this Act take effect and be in force according to its
37-12    terms, and it is so enacted.