Oakland-based Asian Health Services received a $120,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to pilot a microloan program for nail salons in Alameda, San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties that want to achieve the status of “Healthy Nail Salon” — a designation established by the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative for salons that avoid certain toxic ingredients and commit to certain requirements. The microloan program will help nail salons get no-interest, no-fee loans to buy nail products without toxic ingredients (including what health experts call “the toxic trio”: dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde) and to purchase equipment to better ventilate their spaces. (Sciacca, 11/30) Health News Florida: Insurance Regulators Appeal Workers’ Comp Ruling Atlanta Journal Constitution: Dr. Oz Being Sued In Georgia By Olive Oil Trade Group Crisis Text Line, launched in 2013, is already available to “anyone, anytime, anywhere,” said Mary Gloner, executive director of Project Safety Net, another Crisis Text Line partner. Through Crisis Text Line, 2,400 volunteer counselors nationwide provide crisis help purely via text messaging. The service is free, confidential and available 24/7. (Lee, 11/30) TraceLink Inc., a North Reading startup that develops software to help drug companies fight counterfeiting by tracking their medicine shipments, said Wednesday that it has raised $51.5 million in venture capital to speed its growth. The company will use the cash infusion to beef up its sales and marketing operations in Europe and elsewhere while working on new health care and patient adherence software application, said chief executive Shabbir Dahod. (Weisman, 11/30) WBUR: After Soda Tax Proposals Pass Elsewhere, Issue To Be Raised Again In Mass. Kansas Health Institute: State Medical Malpractice Fund To Reduce Surcharge Following the lead of other states, a South Florida House member filed a proposal Tuesday to create a sales-tax exemption for feminine hygiene products. The bill, (HB 63), filed by Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, for consideration during the 2017 legislative session, calls for a tax exemption on the sales of products such as tampons, sanitary napkins and pantiliners. Similar proposals to eliminate what has become known as the “tampon tax” have moved forward in other states. (11/30) The policy, released in September and open for public comment until Dec. 9, would ban pesticide application by aircraft, sprinkler, powder and gas between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday to Friday within a quarter-mile of schools and child care facilities. Farmers have historically needed county permits for pesticide applications near schools, but the new rule would be the first state policy to put a blanket restriction on such aerial spraying. (Caiola, 11/30) Health News Florida: State Reports 7 New Zika Cases State health officials said Tuesday that seven more Zika cases have been reported in Florida, bringing the overall number of cases in the state to 1,213. Two of the cases involved Miami-Dade County residents who were infected with the mosquito-borne virus locally, according to information posted on the Florida Department of Health website. The department said it was investigating to determine where exposure occurred. (11/30) Retiree health care would get more expensive for employees of cities, villages, townships and counties under a package of 12 bills introduced Wednesday by Republicans in the House of Representatives. The bills would require municipalities who offer retiree health care and whose funds for those costs are less than 80% funded to make the public employees pick up at least 20% of the cost of their retiree health care. The package would cover current retirees and existing employees even if the benefits were negotiated under a union contract and would cut off nearly all retiree health care for new employees hired after April 2017. (Gray, 11/30) A bill filed to the General Assembly by a lawmaker representing Clayton County could outlaw the use of cell phones by drivers, except for hands-free calls.Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta), who represents a portion of Clayton County in the Georgia House of Representatives, filed House Bill 7 on Nov. 15. The bill would prohibit the use of a cell phone by drivers of motor vehicles in the state, if the phone is not being used for a hands-free call. (Adgie, 11/30) The North American Olive Oil Association filed a lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court this week against Oz claiming that he’d made “disparaging statements,” about the purity of olive oil sold in the United States. Michael Kohler, an Atlanta attorney representing the industry, declined comment on the lawsuit Wednesday. There was no immediate response from Oz’s production company. (Bentley, 11/30) Detroit Free Press: House GOP Bills Would Boost Some Retiree Health Care Costs State Highlights: Fees To Med-Mal Fund Reduced For Kan. Providers; Fla. Reports 7 New Zika Cases Outlets report on health news from Kansas, Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, California and Georgia. Sacramento Bee: New California Pesticide Rules Worry Farmers, Satisfy Some Parents San Jose Mercury News: Bay Area Nail Salons Get Help To Improve Worker Health Suddenly, soda taxes are fizzing up around the country: in Philadelphia this summer, then in votes this month in locales from the Chicago area, to San Francisco and Oakland, to Boulder. But if this is an idea whose time has come — combining a big new stream of revenue with the public health appeal of cutting sugar consumption — it has yet to catch on in Massachusetts. Proponents have pushed a soda tax here for several years to no avail, even when they had the hearty backing of then-Gov. Deval Patrick. (Goldberg, 11/30) Many Kansas health care providers will see a lower cost next year for participating in a state fund that backs them up if a malpractice claim exceeds their primary insurance. All Kansas health care providers are required to participate in the Health Care Stabilization Fund, which is paid for through a surcharge on their primary liability insurance. Russ Sutter, an actuary with the firm Willis Towers Watson, told an oversight committee Wednesday that the fund’s board of governors had approved a reduction after claims and related legal fees came in below expectations in the fiscal year that ended June 30. (Marso, 11/30) Boston Globe: TraceLink Raises $51.1 Million To Speed Growth Health News Florida: Bill Seeks Repeal Of Florida’s ‘Tampon Tax’ The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation said Tuesday it is appealing a circuit judge’s ruling that would block a 14.5 percent increase in workers’ compensation insurance rates. The office filed a notice of appeal, a move that is expected to allow the rate increase to start taking effect Thursday as originally planned. Though Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers issued an order to block the increase, appeals by state agencies typically lead to legal stays of such orders. (11/30) San Jose Mercury News: Caltrain Promotes Bay Area Suicide Crisis Line: ‘Help Is Just A Text Away’ Henry Herald: Local Lawmaker Proposes Cell Phone Ban Usage In Vehicles This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.