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Florida Legislature

Bill Would Require Stricter Standards For Abortion Clinics

Jan 20, 2016

Abortion clinics would have to meet strict new licensing requirements under a bill being considered by the Florida Legislature.

'Balance Billing' Proposal Clears House Panel

Jan 20, 2016

In an issue watched closely by doctors, hospitals and insurers, a House panel Tuesday approved a proposal aimed at protecting patients from surprise charges when they need emergency care.

A final report from Gov. Rick Scott’s Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding is recommending that Floridians should be able to find out ahead of time what it will actually cost before going into the hospital for non-emergency treatment.

Anti-Corruption Bill Faces Rocky Path

Jan 20, 2016

A major ethics and anti-corruption bill that advocates say is long overdue - but critics say may go too far - faces a rocky path in the Florida Legislature.

In a sign of increased harmony in the Florida Legislature, top priorities for the leaders of each house - a water bill pushed by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and a package on education aid for the disabled pushed by Senate President Andy Gardiner - received quick final passage in the House Thursday.

Lawmakers reiterated an old, familiar truism Wednesday: all politics is local.  A squabble over where to base Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal brought out hometown loyalties.

Teachers Call Foul On State Education Policy

Jan 15, 2016

With lawmakers in town for Session, many groups pick up the mic to air their grievances. The cries of teachers filled the Capitol Courtyard Thursday.

If you think about growing medical marijuana, you probably picture pot growing in a field or maybe a green house. Instead, think prison, with a hint of laboratory.

House Speaker Backs KidCare For Legal Immigrants

Jan 13, 2016

To the surprise and delight of lawmakers who have long backed the proposal, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli on Tuesday called for eliminating a five-year waiting period for children of legal immigrants to be eligible for the state's KidCare health-insurance program.

Health Industry Regulatory Changes Sail In House

Jan 13, 2016

A House panel Tuesday quickly approved two high-profile bills that would revamp health-care regulations --- and are drawing opposition from at least parts of the hospital industry.

Gov. Rick Scott kicked off the 2016 Florida legislative session Tuesday morning with his annual State of the State address. This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 17 7:30 a.m.), we will bring you highlights of Scott’s address, along with part of the Democratic response.

The Legislature will begin its annual session early this year with the hopes of avoiding the chaos and dysfunction that marked the 2015 session and three special sessions that followed.

Health Deregulation Bills On The Move In House

Jan 11, 2016

A budget panel Tuesday will take up three bills that are part of a broader push by Florida House leaders to overhaul health-care regulations.

When it comes to gambling this year, lawmakers will likely have to lay their cards on the table.

There are few issues that find more support among the Republican Party than guns, and Florida’s GOP dominated statehouse is no exception.  When lawmakers return to Tallahassee for the 2016 regular session, they’ll be coming back loaded for bear.

A consumer health measure aimed at protecting insured patients from surprise bills was filed Thursday by state Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah.  

Lawmakers Call For Greater Price Transparency

Jan 8, 2016

Two Republican lawmakers Thursday proposed wide-ranging bills that seek more transparency about the prices of services at hospitals and other types of health-care facilities.

The Florida legislature will convene on Tuesday, Jan. 12 for the start of its annual, 60 day session. The top priority is ironing out a state budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. But to get there, lawmakers will have to address dozens of other issues.

In previous legislative sessions, lawmakers have failed to make changes to the state employee group insurance. The issue is expected to come up again this session.

There was an unusual scene at Florida's Capitol building in Tallahassee this week. To comply with a court order, legislative staffers used a computer program to randomly assign new numbers to Florida's 40 state Senate districts.

It's the latest in a series of moves that have reshaped politics in the Sunshine State. The political ground shifted recently when the courts approved new maps for congressional districts and the state Senate. The maps are the result of laws that aim to eliminate gerrymandering: drawing districts to benefit one political party or another.

The 2016 Florida Legislative session starts Jan. 12, and this week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, Jan. 5 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 10 at 7:30 a.m.), we are previewing some of the bills lawmakers are proposing.

Linda Quick has been a force in Florida health care policy for decades.

Quick—who was born at Coral Gables Hospital—spent 40 years working in health care. The past two decades of that were with the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association, which represents hundreds of hospitals and health-care businesses on legislative and industry issues.

Quick has had an insider’s view of some of the biggest policy and economic events affecting the health of Floridians.

And as of January, she’s retired.

Florida House of Representatives

Right now, Florida’s top educator is two steps removed from voters. The state education commissioner is appointed by a board and that board is appointed by the governor.

But lawmakers are considering legislation that would change the Florida Commissioner of Education into a statewide, elected position and add the post to the Florida Cabinet.

The idea has been proposed before, but this time, it’s gaining traction according to State Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach. She said parents, local school boards and other lawmakers are interested.

Some Tampa-area lawmakers are giving Medicaid expansion little chance of being considered during the upcoming  state legislative session.

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Six years after a group of parents and education advocacy groups first filed a lawsuit that charged the Florida Legislature with shortchanging schools they had their first major moment in court on Monday.

Pot For Dying Floridians Proposal Progresses

Dec 6, 2015

A measure that would allow terminally ill patients to use full-strength marijuana has just one more committee stop before going to the Senate floor for a vote during the 2016 legislative session.

Panel Backs Confirmation Of 3 Agency Heads

Dec 6, 2015

A Senate committee Thursday approved the confirmations of three state agency heads who oversee services for vulnerable Floridians.

Higher Ed Funding, Teacher Bonuses Move Forward

Dec 4, 2015

Proposals adding performance funding for colleges and universities into law passed House and Senate committees on Thursday, but the legislation faced concerns over university standards and a House-backed plan to reward teachers for their test scores.

The House Health Quality Subcommittee approved a bill Tuesday that would allow registered nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to prescribe controlled substances.

House Eyes Health Care Deregulation Ideas

Nov 20, 2015

Touting the possibility of more choices for patients, a House committee Thursday began a renewed effort to revamp regulations in the health-care industry.

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