Florida Legislature

HNF Stories
8:16 am
Thu July 16, 2015

Court Limits Fees on Birth-Injury Case

Credit commons.wikimedia.org

An appeals court Wednesday upheld the constitutionality of a 2012 move by state lawmakers to limit fees paid to attorneys who represented a child severely injured at birth in a Southwest Florida hospital.

In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal said it was "sympathetic" to the arguments of the West Palm Beach-based law firm Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A., which spent years representing the child, Aaron Edwards, and his parents in a legal fight against Lee Memorial Health System and won a nearly $31 million jury verdict.

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HNF Stories
8:03 am
Mon June 22, 2015

FL Health Law Battle Likely Back in 2016

Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando
Credit MyFloridaHouse.gov

A bruising budget battle that divided Republicans in the Florida Legislature is over for now, but the truce is likely only to last a few months.

Legislators passed a nearly $79 billion budget Friday with just days to spare. Legislators had until July 1 to pass a budget or state government would have been partially shut down. They didn't pass a budget during their regular session because they were divided over health care spending. That sparked a stalemate — and finger-pointing will remain when legislators return for their 2016 session.

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HNF Stories
9:26 am
Mon June 15, 2015

Low Health Plan Rates Stay For State Workers

The Republican-controlled Florida House voted along party lines on Friday to retain — for now — the rates that Gov. Rick Scott and thousands of state workers are currently paying for health insurance.

Nearly 30,000 people in state government, including the governor, staff at the Florida Legislature and Attorney General Pam Bondi, pay either $8.34 a month for individual coverage or $30 a month for family coverage. Rank-and-file state workers pay $50 a month for individual coverage or $180 a month for family coverage. House and Senate members also pay this rate.

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HNF Stories
2:20 pm
Fri June 12, 2015

House Backs Changes For State Workers, Hospitals

Pitching more competition and choices in the health-care system, the House on Friday passed six bills that include proposals to revamp health coverage for state employees and eliminate key regulations in the hospital industry.

But as lawmakers head into the final week of a special legislative session, it remains unclear whether the Senate will pass any of the bills. Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, remained non-committal Friday, though he suggested the House's proposed changes to employee health insurance likely will not pass.

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HNF Stories
8:57 am
Thu June 11, 2015

24-Hour Abortion Waiting Period Signed Into Law

Credit Politico

Women will have to wait 24 hours before having an abortion under a bill Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed into law today, a reflective period supporters said they hoped would change some women’s minds before ending their pregnancies.

Scott signed the abortion measure along with 54 other bills, including legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to take experimental medicines. Scott also signed into law a measure that revises the rules for the panel that regulates Florida electric rates. He vetoed a bill dealing with home medical equipment providers.

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HNF Stories
9:05 am
Wed June 10, 2015

‘Bumped’ Budget Issues Include LIP

Dozens of budget issues --- including the one that threw lawmakers into a special session to finish work on the state budget --- moved up the legislative ladder Tuesday, starting the next round of talks aimed at resolving differences between the House and Senate spending plans.

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HNF Stories
8:56 am
Wed June 10, 2015

Land, Water Funding Differences Move To Budget Chiefs

Algae clouds part of Rock Springs near Apopka, Fla.
Credit Robin Sussingham / WUSF

House and Senate negotiators have been unable to bridge key differences in their competing proposals to fund the environmental portions of the state budget.

Now, decisions about how to spread an increased pool of money, which is expected to be used for buying and protecting environmental lands and helping restore the state's natural springs and the Everglades, will be up to the House and Senate budget chairmen starting Wednesday.

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HNF Stories
7:22 am
Fri June 5, 2015

House Set To Defeat Senate Health Plan

Credit Florida Legislature

Despite several changes made in recent days to assuage the concerns of the Republican majority, the Florida House remains poised to defeat a health-care expansion plan backed by a bipartisan group of senators.

More than two hours of questioning on the House floor Thursday gave little reason to believe that the bill (SB 2-A) would survive a vote scheduled for Friday. For all of its new provisions, House Republicans said, the so-called Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange, or FHIX, remains Medicaid expansion in disguise.

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HNF Stories
8:37 am
Wed June 3, 2015

In Several States, Abortion Waiting Periods Grow Longer

Alyson Hurt NPR

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 6:35 pm

In recent years, states have passed well over 250 laws restricting abortion. One trend in those restrictions: longer waiting periods before women can have the procedure.

Twenty-six states already have waiting periods. Most make women wait 24 hours between the time they get counseling on abortion and have the procedure. But this year, several states are extending that to 48 — even 72 — hours.

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HNF Stories
11:03 am
Tue June 2, 2015

Florida Lawmakers Convene Special Session To Wrangle Budget Issues

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 8:05 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

HNF Stories
8:27 am
Tue June 2, 2015

Budget Stalemate Compromise Possible

The Florida Legislature kicked off a 20-day special session Monday, with legislative leaders sounding more open to compromise as they race against the clock to pass a new state budget.

The conciliatory tone espoused by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner was different than it was just a few weeks ago when the Republican-controlled Legislature ended its session amid finger-pointing and lawsuits.

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HNF Stories
8:42 am
Mon June 1, 2015

Legislature To Resume Budget, Health Fight

  

With a looming deadline, Florida legislators return to the state Capitol this week promising to do what they couldn't during the 60-day regular session that ended May 1.

And that's pass a new state budget that covers everything from money for schools and hospitals to paying for child abuse investigations.

Legislative leaders are already promising that they will pass a budget during the 20-day session that starts Monday. They have until the end of June or parts of state government could be shut down.

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HNF Stories
5:12 am
Fri May 29, 2015

Texas Loses Billions To Treat The Poor By Not Expanding Medicaid, Advocates Say

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 3:18 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Health News Florida
9:09 am
Wed May 27, 2015

House Rebuffs Senate FHIX Compromise

Senate President Andy Gardiner
Credit Florida Senate

  

Republican leaders in the Florida Senate offered up a revamped health care proposal Tuesday in an effort to end a budget stalemate that threatens to shut down state government, but the proposal was immediately rejected by Gov. Rick Scott and House GOP leaders.

Legislators are scheduled to return to the state Capitol next week for a 20-day special session where they are expected to pass a new state budget.

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HNF Stories
9:07 am
Wed May 27, 2015

Lawmakers Talk LIP In Districts

 

 MIAMI-DADE HEALTH FUNDING AT ISSUE

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HNF Stories
9:17 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Scott's Hospital Commission to Meet

Gov. Rick Scott's hospital commission will meet for the first time today.
Credit WMFE

Florida Governor Rick Scott’s commission investigating hospital finances will meet for the first time today. The meetings come as Florida’s legislature preps for a special session.

Health care spending has been the big division in Florida’s budget thanks to a billion-dollar hospital fund that’s ending. Federal officials want Florida to expand Medicaid to cover Florida’s uninsured, and hospitals have been pushing for expansions.

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HNF Stories
8:44 am
Mon May 4, 2015

FL Lawmakers Push Bills Tied To Their Private Jobs

Credit MyFloridaHouse.gov

During the recently-concluded legislative session, Senate President Andy Gardiner constantly warned about the threat to the state's hospitals if they were to lose more than $1 billion that now comes from the federal government.

There's a good reason Gardiner understands hospitals: he works for one.

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HNF Stories
8:43 am
Mon May 4, 2015

While Lawmakers Feud, Scott Visits Ferris Wheel, Wawa

Credit Associated Press

When it became clear that the House and Senate wouldn’t agree on a budget, Republican Gov. Rick Scott was in California trying to get shipping companies to move to Florida.

And when the Legislature was at the point of no return to either pass a budget or go home without completing the one task it’s legally required to do each year, Scott was at a Wawa gas station opening in Fort Myers.

When the Senate threatened Wednesday to bring legal action against the House for adjourning three days early with more work to be done, Scott was visiting a giant Ferris wheel in Orlando.

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HNF Stories
8:53 am
Sun May 3, 2015

Justices: House Adjournment Violated Constitution

  The decision by House leaders to end their legislative session more than three days early violated the state Constitution, a majority of the Florida Supreme Court said Friday, while ruling that it was too late to order lawmakers to return to Tallahassee.

The ruling effectively ended the 2015 regular session, which was notable for an unresolved budget controversy that caused widespread dysfunction and sharp exchanges between Republican leaders.

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HNF Stories
8:47 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Gardiner's Agenda On Disabilities Mostly Dies With House Exit

Senate President Andy Gardiner
Credit MyFloridaHouse.gov

The surprise early exit of the Florida House from the 2015 regular session likely means that most of a legislative package dear to Senate President Andy Gardiner is dead.

Gardiner, R-Orlando, made it a priority this year to pass bills to give greater educational and vocational opportunities to people with disabilities --- or, as Gardiner likes to call them, "unique abilities."

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HNF Stories
8:14 am
Wed April 29, 2015

House Adjourns 3 Days Early Over Healthcare Fight; Major Policy Bills Are Dead

Originally published on Tue April 28, 2015 9:51 pm

The Florida House has adjourned for the 2015 lawmaking session. The move comes as the legislature was gridlock over whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

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HNF Stories
8:13 am
Wed April 29, 2015

'Right To Try Act' Heads To Governor

Originally published on Tue April 28, 2015 6:21 pm

Among the measures that did not die over the budget impasse between the House and Senate is a bill making it easier for terminally ill patients to have access to experimental drugs.

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HNF Stories
3:55 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Florida's House Quits Early, At Impasse Over Medicaid Expansion

Florida state Senate president Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, was applauded by his fellow senators Tuesday, after expressing his disappointment with the Florida House for ending its session three days early, instead of working through the budget clash.
Steve Cannon AP

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 2:22 pm

The Republican-controlled Florida legislature — at odds over the question of whether to expand Medicaid — abruptly ended its session three days early on Tuesday, leaving hundreds of bills that are unrelated to health care unfinished.

Andy Gardiner, president of Florida's state Senate, says he's disappointed with the House's decision to stop negotiating and leave town.

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HNF Stories
2:08 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

FL House Adjourns 3 Days Early Over Budget Impasse

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli
Credit Florida Legislature

  

The Florida House adjourned its annual session three days early because of  a budget impasse with the Senate over Medicaid expansion.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli said Tuesday afternoon that his members had done all they could and felt it was best to return later with a clean slate.

The House has been adamantly opposed to expanding Medicaid to more than 800,000 Floridians, even though the Senate has proposed a plan that would allow the state to eventually privatize Medicaid and require recipients to work or attend school.

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HNF Stories
9:14 am
Tue April 28, 2015

Florida House Passes Fracking Regulation Bill

Fracking at Marcellus Shale
Credit U.S. Geological Survey

The Florida House passed a bill Monday to study and regulate fracking, as well as prevent local governments from banning the oil and gas drilling practice.

Democrats strongly opposed the bill, saying hydraulic fracturing would put the water supply at risk and the practice should instead be banned. But Republicans said fracking isn't regulated right now and the bill would ensure that it's done safely.

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HNF Stories
8:53 am
Mon April 27, 2015

Business Leaders Call On Lawmakers To Act On Medicaid

Credit WMFE

More than 150 local business, hospital and civic leaders met in downtown Orlando Friday to discuss the impacts of the Florida Legislature’s impasse on Medicaid expansion.

Central Florida Partnership and the Central Florida Chambers of Commerce Alliance hosted the health care briefing. Mark Brewer is president and CEO of Central Florida Foundation, which is home for more than 400 charitable funds. He says the bottom line is business leaders want lawmakers to act.

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HNF Stories
1:51 pm
Sun April 26, 2015

Lawmakers Mulling Medicaid, Budget

Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando
Credit MyFloridaHouse.gov

  

House and Senate leaders weren’t backing off their opposing positions on Medicaid expansion  Friday during tense budget negotiations leading into the final week of the Legislative session.

But they did manage to find enough common ground to jump-start negotiations early in the day, only to watch them grind to a halt by evening.

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HNF Stories
7:23 am
Fri April 24, 2015

House Republicans Make Budget Offer

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli
Credit Florida Legislature

 Top Republicans in the Florida House made an offer Thursday to try to bridge a budget gap with Senate Republicans, but it could still result in the state's hospitals getting significantly less than they are receiving now.

House leaders offered to trim back spending on tax cuts and education - in order to boost spending in the state's safety net health care program. The offer, however, would be unconnected to a push by the Senate to expand Medicaid or revamp an existing program that takes federal money for hospitals.

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HNF Stories
2:50 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

Selling Hard Boiled Eggs For Medicine: Tradeoffs People In The Gap Make For Health Care

Cynthia Louis in one of Florida International University's Neighborhood HELP Program parked in parking lot of the Pentecostal Tabernacle Church in Miami Gardens.
Credit Wilson Sayre / WLRN

 This is the third part in our series, Falling Into The Gap, in collaboration with the Miami Herald. Read more about the coverage gap and find affordable care on WLRN.org/healthgap.

Every Tuesday, a giant blue bus parks in front of the Pentecostal Tabernacle Church in Miami Gardens. Inside looks like a doctor’s office with a reclining exam chair and anatomical charts. You only know that it’s not a traditional office when it shakes as people get on and off.

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HNF Stories
9:01 am
Wed April 22, 2015

Democrats Voice Opposition To Abortion Waiting Period Bill

  As a bill requiring a one-day waiting period for abortions moved toward passage on the Florida House floor Tuesday, Democrats showed their opposition with more than an hour of hostile questions and debate.

The bill was amended to add an exception for victims of rape, incest and human trafficking. But opponents objected to a requirement that the woman produce documentation such as a police report or restraining order to use the exception.

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