(Flickr Photo by Holley St. Germain)
UPDATE:The Associated Press is reporting that one of the groups criticizing the bill has dropped its opposition.
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A promise from Kansas health officials to continue protecting people with AIDS and HIV from being quarantined has resolved a dispute over legislation designed to help medical personnel and emergency workers. Kansas Equality Coalition executive director Tom Witt said Thursday the group can accept the bill following the pledge from the Department of Health and Environment.
Kansas lawmakers could soon take a final vote on a controversial bill updating the state’s laws for testing people who may have been exposed to some contagious diseases. The bill also deletes a provision in state law saying people with HIV cannot be quarantined. That has led to claims that the bill allows quarantining people with HIV. The House briefly debated the legislation today (THUR) during a procedural vote. Representative Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, wants lawmakers to keep working on the bill and add the HIV exception.
But supporters of the measure, and officials with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, say people with HIV could not be quarantined under the bill. Brian Weber is a Republican from Dodge City.
State Epidemiologist Charlie Hunt says HIV infection does not meet the requirements to qualify for quarantine. The House and Senate could take a final vote on the bill by the end of the week.