2018 Florida Legislature

It is standard protocol for police, firefighters, and paramedics to run toward the danger. Over time, that can take a toll on the mental health of first responders. Now, a measure in Florida’s Legislature is focusing on protecting first responders who experience PTSD as a result of such a stressful job. 

Much has been made this session about efforts by Florida lawmakers to take power away from local governments. But a measure is scheduled for a discussion on the Senate floor Thursday that would expand local control—in this case when it comes to tobacco use.

Right now, decisions about where smoking is allowed are left up to the state. But Senator Debbie Mayfield wants local governments to decide whether people should be allowed to smoke in public parks.

A clear majority of Florida voters support a nationwide ban on assault weapons and oppose arming teachers or school officials, according to a poll released Wednesday.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found that 62 percent of voters favor a ban on assault weapons, and about two-thirds support “stricter gun laws,” like universal background checks or a ban on the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines, while 56 percent oppose arming faculty members.

Addiction specialists and law enforcement officials are pleading with Florida House members to keep funding for an injectable opioid-addiction treatment.

The House’s proposed budget zeroes out funding for Vivitrol, a drug that blocks opioid receptors in the brain for 30 days.

The Florida Legislature is on track to make raising taxes more difficult. A measure proposing a boost in requirements for increasing taxes is on its way to the Senate floor.

Needle Exchange Program Could Expand In South Florida

Feb 28, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

An effort to expand a needle-exchange program statewide was scrapped Tuesday by a House health care committee, which agreed to extend the Miami-Dade County program to two additional Southeast Florida counties.

“In the spirit of baby steps, I encourage you to support this,” Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, told members of the House Health & Human Services Committee.

Some gun safety proposals passed their first Florida Senate committee without an assault weapons ban. While top GOP lawmakers are calling the effort bipartisan, some Democrats pushing for more gun reforms disagree.

 

On Friday, Governor Rick Scott announced his plan for responding to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It includes $50 million in additional funding to expand mental health services for children and youth. The move comes as lawmakers consider the recommendations of a panel they created last year to study the statewide rise in minors being involuntarily examined under the Baker Act.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School aren't the only ones mobilizing for change after the mass shooting that left 17 students and faculty dead on the school grounds. 

 

Fate Of Generator Rules Remains Unclear

Feb 25, 2018
WMFE

With only two weeks left in the 2018 legislative session, proposed rules requiring generators for long-term care providers continue to await action, in part because of the financial impact on assisted living facilities. 

Money Could Go To Trauma Centers After Mass Shootings

Feb 23, 2018
JusticeSolutions.org

Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon wants to create a $10 million program that would reimburse trauma centers for care provided to victims of mass shootings, and Senate President Joe Negron said he will support the effort. 

Lawmakers Seek More Money For Opioid Epidemic

Feb 23, 2018
Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

Two Democratic senators are pushing to increase by $25 million the amount of funding the Senate has committed to addressing the state’s opioid problems in the upcoming year. 

Capitol Rally Sends Message: 'Never Again'

Feb 22, 2018
LESLIE OVALLE / WLRN

A week after a mass shooting at a Broward County high school, survivors and gun-control advocates demanded Wednesday that state lawmakers enact tighter gun and school-safety laws as a rally drew one of the largest crowds at the Capitol since the 2000 election recount.

House Eyes Work Requirement In Medicaid

Feb 22, 2018

Florida might consider imposing work requirements on adults enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program, a move some critics contend would be “cruel” for poor people who rely on the safety-net program for health care.

LESLIE OVALLE / WLRN

Students who survived the Parkland school shooting prepared to flood the Capitol on Wednesday, pushing to ban the assault-style rifle used to kill 17 people and vowing to make changes in the November election if they can't persuade lawmakers to change laws before their legislative session ends.

School Shooting Puts Pressure On Florida Lawmakers To Act

Feb 20, 2018

The deadly shooting at a Florida high school has put pressure on the state's Republican-controlled Legislature to consider a sweeping package of gun-control laws in a state that has resisted restrictions on firearms for decades, lawmakers said Monday.

Would raising the age to buy tobacco products lower the cost of healthcare in Florida? One lawmaker thinks so.

In the wake of the deaths of 17 people from a shooting at a Broward High School, people are once again focusing on school safety. Administrators and elected officials alike are pushing for more funding to shore up infrastructure, but some are beginning to wonder if that’s enough.

State lawmakers are facing renewed pressure to pass gun control legislation following last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland — and the Legislature is only scheduled to be in session for another two and a half weeks after it returns from the Presidents' Day recess.

State Sen. Gary Farmer, who represents nearby Fort Lauderdale, is pushing the Legislature’s Republican leadership to hear bills he and his Democratic colleagues have introduced in past years.

Designated people would be allowed to carry concealed firearms on school grounds under a bill added to the agenda of a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting next week.

House Eyes Plan For Health Care During Hurricanes

Feb 16, 2018

During the next major storm, Florida may turn to university faculty and even students enrolled in health-care programs to help work with some of the state’s most vulnerable residents. 

House Panel Targets Abortion Procedure

Feb 16, 2018

A bill that would restrict the most common type of second-trimester abortion is ready for a floor vote in the Florida House. 

In a 13-6 vote, the House Health & Human Services Committee on Thursday approved a bill (HB 1429) that would impose new restrictions on doctors performing dilation-and-evacuation abortions, in which a woman’s cervix is dilated and the fetus is removed in pieces. 

  

As South Florida reels from Wednesday’s mass shooting at a Broward County high school, State Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, is working to secure funding for Florida school districts to better identify and address mental health concerns in students early on. 

Lawmakers Look To Ban Abortion Procedure

Feb 16, 2018

The Florida Legislature is looking to impose new restrictions on abortion. A measure that would ban a common procedure passed a divided House committee Thursday.

After being delayed twice a proposal restricting physician prescribing powers for opioids is once again moving in the senate. It’s part of a wide-ranging proposal to address overdose deaths, which have jumped in Florida and across the nation in recent years.

Foster Homes Overwhelmed By Opioid Epidemic

Feb 16, 2018

Florida foster care providers are struggling to keep up with the number of children entering the system as a result of opioid-related deaths. 

Tuesday in Tallahassee was a day for love and awareness. Governor Rick Scott marked the day as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day. Advocates took it as their cue to ask for their legislative priorities this Valentines Day.

Proposed Deal Could End Trauma Battles

Feb 15, 2018
Google Maps

Legal wrangling over new trauma centers and which hospitals should be allowed to operate them could come to an end under a proposal moving through the Legislature.

Senate Health Policy Chairwoman Dana Young, R-Tampa, said Wednesday the Senate, House and major players in the hospital industry have reached agreement on how to revamp the state’s 26-year old trauma rules.

“We have a deal,” Young told members of the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee.

Senate Panel Backs School Mental Health Initiative

Feb 15, 2018
Heidi de Marco / Kaiser Health News

Shortly before a mass shooting at a Broward County high school, a Senate committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that could dedicate more funding to Florida schools for mental health services.

House Panel Sides With Doctors On Insurance Claims

Feb 15, 2018

A bill that would restrict the ability of health insurers and HMOs to retroactively deny claims passed the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, scoring a victory for physicians.

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