Florida Legislature

After a lobbying battle that has included insurers, doctors and hospitals, a Senate committee Tuesday approved a potential compromise on a controversial issue known as "balance billing."

The issue primarily stems from some patients receiving emergency treatment from doctors and other health providers who are not part of the networks in the patients' insurance plans. That has led to patients receiving unexpected bills for treatment.

Education Bills Lined Up In House

Feb 16, 2016
Robin Sussingham/WUSF

The Florida House this week could pass a series of education bills that range from trying to provide more school choice to families to ensuring children have time for recess.

Florida Senate

The Florida Senate approved a nearly $81 billion budget this afternoon, and now, the Florida Legislature has less than a month left in its regular session to reach a deal over a new state budget.

The Associated Press

The Florida House has passed a nearly $80 billion budget after a lengthy partisan debate.

The House on Thursday voted 85-29 for the spending bill that includes money for schools, health care and environmental programs. The Senate is expected to pass a rival budget later in the day. 

House Set To Approve Tax-Cut Package

Feb 11, 2016
MyFloridaHouse.gov

The Republican-dominated Florida House on Thursday is poised to approve a $991.7 million tax-cut package, after rejecting additions and changes sought Wednesday by Democrats.

Bill Could Carve Out Medicaid Dental Benefits

Feb 10, 2016

Despite opposition from the committee chairman, a House panel Tuesday approved a bill that could lead to revamping children's dental care in the Medicaid program.

The House Health & Human Services Committee voted 11-2 to approve the bill (HB 819), sponsored by state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami. Chairman Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, and state Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, cast the dissenting votes.

'Direct Primary Care' Draws Senate Questions

Feb 10, 2016

Senators raised questions Tuesday about a bill that could help doctors and patients enter into what are known as "direct primary care" agreements.

The proposal, which has been moving through the House and Senate, would make clear that direct-primary care agreements are not covered by state insurance laws. Under the agreements, patients or their employers would make monthly payments to doctors for primary-care services, cutting out the role of insurers.

Bill Seeks To Boost Hospitals In Rural Areas

Feb 9, 2016

A Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill that could help boost efforts to build new or replacement hospitals in rural counties.

Approved by the Senate Health Policy Committee, SB 236 would expand an exemption to the state's "certificate of need" regulatory process for hospital construction or expansion projects. The state currently has a narrow exemption that applies to hospitals in counties with populations of 15,000 to 18,000 people and densities of fewer than 30 people per square mile.

House Members Back Pot For Terminal Patients

Feb 9, 2016

Continuing to consider how many nurseries should take part in the industry, a House panel Monday approved a bill that would allow patients with terminal illnesses to legally use medical marijuana.

A Senate committee Thursday approved a bill that would require hospitals to give advance notice to doctors before closing obstetrical departments, readying the bill to go to the full Senate.

One Florida lawmaker's effort to provide clear guidance for end-of-life care turned into a conversation on death, and euthanasia. Republican Senator Jeff Brandes’ bill would lead to the creation of a portable form patients and their doctors fill out to make sure the patients' wishes are followed.

Associated Press

Florida’s governor would be able to use military force to keep out immigrants or refugees from certain parts of the world under a bill passed by a House committee today.

House Aims To Approve Open-Carry Bill

Feb 3, 2016

The Florida House is expected to vote Wednesday to allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry sidearms in most public places.

 

And in preparing the bill late Tuesday for a final vote, the House voted 72-43 to tack on an amendment that would let lawmakers with concealed-carry licenses pack heat during legislative meetings and on the House floor.

Abortion Restrictions Pass House Panel After Debate

Feb 3, 2016

After a passionate debate, a House panel on Tuesday approved a wide-ranging bill that would place more regulations on abortion clinics and address issues such as the sale or donation of fetal tissue.

Ride-Sharing Bill Backed For Hillsborough County

Feb 2, 2016
Screenshot from Apple App Store

Less than a week after the Florida House passed a bill dealing with the statewide regulation of app-based ride sharing services, a subcommittee Monday approved a proposal that would set up a regulatory framework in Hillsborough County.

Gov. Rick Scott and the Seminole Tribe of Florida sought Monday to increase pressure on state lawmakers to approve a gambling deal with a proposed $1.8 billion expansion they said would create thousands of jobs at casinos in Tampa and in South Florida.

Lawmakers are pushing a measure encouraging the use of abuse-resistant opioids. 

As lawmakers grapple with healthcare costs, they’re taking another look at rules governing where health care centers can be built. Those rules are called certificate of need. A scaled-down version of a bill addressing certificate of need is in play, but it’s not without controversy.

A Florida House panel has approved a measure that would let consumers purchase health insurance across state lines. But not everyone is on board with the idea.

Tourism Leaders Challenge Change to Bed Tax

Feb 1, 2016
Christopher Collier

Leaders in Tampa Bay's tourism industry said they're concerned about a legislative proposal to designate part of the local bed tax for police services. 

The bed tax, formally known as the Tourist Development Tax, is $.05 on the dollar in most area counties – $.06 per dollar in Pinellas County --  for hotel rooms, timeshares and short-term rentals.

The proposal from Rep. Brad Drakes, R-DeFuniak Springs, would set aside 10 percent of the bed tax for police services. 

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