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Florida Legislature

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.

Pot Proposals For Terminally Ill Push Forward

Nov 18, 2015

Measures that would legalize full-strength medical marijuana for terminally ill patients received preliminary approval from House and Senate committees Tuesday, but not before one version underwent a major change that could have a dramatic impact on the state's current cannabis law.

Break-In Rescue Bill Gets Senate Approval

Nov 18, 2015

A proposal (SB 308) that would allow people to break into locked vehicles to help senior citizens, disabled adults, children or pets was approved without opposition Tuesday by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

The Florida High School Athletics Association continues to draw scrutiny from some lawmakers. Now they’re gearing up to water down the association’s powers.

Editor's note: This story has been updated and contains a correction.

Florida lawmakers should enact more protections for health-insurance consumers and families of workers in small businesses, a state advisory board says.

Latvala Criticizes House Politics, Right Wing Of GOP

Nov 15, 2015
The Florida Channel

Since his return to the state Senate five years ago, Jack Latvala hasn't shied away from controversy.

At times, the old-school Republican politician has been a thorn in the side of leaders in both chambers, and he hasn't exactly let Gov. Rick Scott off the hook, either.

In 2012, for example, Latvala was instrumental in killing a priority of Scott and top GOP lawmakers that would have privatized more than two-thirds of the state's prisons. The following year, he played a major role in blocking a pension overhaul sought by then-House Speaker Will Weatherford.

Gaetz, Latvala Locked In War Of Words Over Redistricting

Oct 29, 2015
The Florida Channel

The fight over redistricting descended into a personal war of words between two prominent senators Wednesday, as the pair traded accusations of bullying and violating the state's constitutional ban on political gerrymandering.

The verbal brawl began when former Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, used an unusual procedural move to take the floor and blast Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, for publicly criticizing Gaetz's conduct during the 2012 redistricting process.

Senate Bill Would Overhaul Foster-Care Placements

Oct 28, 2015

A bill aimed at reducing instability for foster children has started to move forward in the Florida Senate and would require the child-welfare system to match kids with their best placement options --- rather than, as critics charge, the first beds that are handy.

It's open enrollment time for many people who have health insurance through their job, and Florida’s state employees are among those who are thinking about making changes to their plans.

Senate President Eyes Early Intervention In Childhood Disabilities

Oct 20, 2015

Led by Senate President Andy Gardiner, the 2016 Legislature will consider another increase in funding for Early Steps, which serves infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities and delays --- and which has been struggling to keep up with the demand for services.

State Water Policy Changes Begin To Flow

Oct 20, 2015

Lawmakers appear closer to patching up differences on new statewide water policies which failed to advance earlier this year.

Lawmakers Seek To Legalize Industrial Hemp

Oct 20, 2015

Two Democratic lawmakers have breathed new life into an effort to legalize hemp as an agricultural crop in Florida. Proponents of the program are pitching it as an economic boost to Florida.

Health care providers around Florida are continuing a push for laws that would expand the roles of nurse practitioners and physicians assistants.

Lawmakers Seek To Shield Seniors From Shady Guardians

Oct 12, 2015

A Southwest Florida lawmaker is renewing a push to better protect elderly Floridians from unscrupulous guardians who take control of seniors' assets.

DCF, Senators Eye Ways To Bolster Child Protection

Oct 12, 2015

The chief of the Florida Department of Children and Families told lawmakers Thursday his agency is making progress at carrying out reforms but still has a long way to go.

Florida lawmakers are bracing for budget holes despite figures showing the state could end up with another year of surplus.  The cost driver: healthcare.

Healthcare concerns, more specifically cost problems—are starting to take over conversations at the capital.

Cloudy Timeline For Medical Marijuana Frustrates

Oct 7, 2015

With the Department of Health unable to say when licenses will be issued in the state's new medical-marijuana industry, a House Republican on Tuesday blasted delays in carrying out a 2014 law billed as helping children with severe epilepsy.

USF Health

The University of South Florida has already received $17 million from state lawmakers for a new building that would house its medical school and heart health institute in downtown Tampa. 

Now comes word that university officials are going to seek an additional $22.5 million for the project in the next fiscal year - money they say they likely can't finance the project without.

Medicaid Projections Cloud Predicted Forecast

Sep 16, 2015

Despite a transition to managed care meant to tame huge increases in Medicaid spending, the health-care program for low-income Floridians still threatens to consume almost half of the state's revenue growth, an economist told lawmakers Tuesday.

As Florida continues to recover from the depths of the recession, the state should have a budget surplus in the coming year, but it may not be big enough to avoid yet another spending battle in the state Capitol.

Lawmaker Seeks Regulation Of Music Therapy

Sep 2, 2015

A South Florida senator Tuesday filed a proposal that calls for state regulation and licensure of music therapists.

Senator Tries Again On Expanded Prescribing Powers

Sep 2, 2015

A Senate Republican on Tuesday proposed a wide-ranging health bill that includes allowing advanced-registered nurse practitioners to prescribe controlled substances.

Surgical Center Bill Re-Emerges In House

Aug 24, 2015

A House Republican on Thursday began renewing a push to allow patients to stay at ambulatory surgical centers for up to 24 hours and to allow the operation of longer-term "recovery care" centers.

A Florida judge will draw up new maps for the state's 27 congressional districts. After meeting in a two-week special session, Florida's House and Senate adjourned without agreeing on what the maps, ordered by the State Supreme Court, should look like.

This was the Florida Legislature's third attempt to draw congressional maps that comply with the state Constitution. Under an amendment adopted by voters in 2010, Florida's Legislature must compile maps for congressional and legislative districts that don't protect incumbents or political parties.

Redistricting Session Falls Apart Amid House-Senate Battle

Aug 21, 2015

A special session called to redraw state congressional lines was derailed Friday, the latest sign of growing acrimony between Republican leaders of the House and Senate.

Documents Show Private Discussions In Senate Redistricting

Aug 21, 2015

Senate leaders crafting new districts for the chamber in 2012 held confidential meetings to discuss maps with lawmakers before the maps were made public, while at the same time boasting about "the most open and transparent redistricting process in Florida's history," according to court documents.

Tampa Lawmaker's Bill Could Boost Autism Screening

Aug 12, 2015

A House Democrat on Tuesday filed a bill that could place new requirements on health insurers related to the screening of children for autism spectrum disorder.

The bill (HB 49), filed by Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, will be considered during the 2016 legislative session.

Under the bill, physicians would screen children if parents suspect the possibility of autism spectrum disorder.

When they deem it "medically necessary," physicians would refer children to specialists for diagnosis.

Lawmakers Look Again At 'Direct Primary Care'

Aug 5, 2015

After the idea received near-unanimous support from the House during a June special session, a Republican lawmaker this week renewed efforts to help clear the way for doctors and patients to enter into a type of primary-care arrangement that cuts out insurers.

caribjournal.com

A new law that goes into effect Wednesday, July 1st, will loosen state regulations on alcohol.

Under the new law, breweries can sell 64-ounce "growlers," while distillers can sell two bottles of each branded product, per person, per year. Prior to this, craft distillers could only sell two bottles to each customer per year.

Troy Roberts is head distiller at Siesta Key Rum. He said this is good news, not just for his business, but for the state as a whole.

While the University of South Florida received funding in the state budget for its downtown Tampa medical school and a St. Petersburg business school, money that would have gone to a new research vessel was removed by Governor Rick Scott's veto pen earlier this week. The Florida Institute of Oceanography, the collaborative effort of dozens of research institutes and agencies, is based out of the USF College of Marine Science in St. Petersburg. The $6 million FIO was seeking would be used to buy a research boat to replace the aging Bellows. The Tampa Bay Times reports that FIO officials and state lawmakers are trying to figure out what to do next.

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