Florida Legislature 2015

A Florida judge is blocking a new state law that requires women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion.

Tallahassee Chief Circuit Judge Charles Francis on Tuesday blocked the law today, a day before it was scheduled to take effect.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit after Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed it into law. They argued that the law violates the right to privacy guaranteed in the state constitution by interfering with the right of women to undergo the procedure.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday ended the state's biggest budget crisis in more than two decades by signing a more than $78 billion budget into law, but he may have created another divide with some of his fellow Republicans.

Scott signed the budget just days after the Florida Legislature approved it during an unusual June special session. State government would have been partially shut down if a new budget had not been in place by July 1.

Alachua County Environmental Conservation

Calling it a “slap in the face to Florida voters,” environmental groups filed a lawsuit Monday that contends state legislators “defied” a constitutional amendment approved last fall.

Legislators just last Friday approved a nearly $79 billion state budget, but they included only $55 million for major land acquisition efforts.

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.

After a sprawling and messy budget fight that spawned lawsuits and finger-pointing, the fractured Republican-controlled Florida Legislature approved a nearly $79 billion budget and ended its special session Friday.

Legislators were racing against the clock to pass the budget after they failed to pass one during their regular two-month session that ended in late April.

Nearly $80B State Budget Ready for Vote

Jun 19, 2015
The Florida Channel

Following a drawn out, contentious battle that saw the state flirt with a partial government shutdown, the Florida Legislature is poised today to approve a nearly $80 billion budget.

The final budget is full of winners and losers.

Scott Scraps 'LIP' Injunction Bid

Jun 17, 2015
Florida Governor's Office

Pointing to a budget agreement reached by lawmakers, Gov. Rick Scott's attorneys late Tuesday withdrew a request for a preliminary injunction in a legal battle with the Obama administration about health-care funding, according to a notice filed in federal court in Pensacola.

The notice, however, said Scott is not withdrawing the overall lawsuit, which contends that the federal government has tried to unconstitutionally link expanding Florida's Medicaid program with the continuation of the Low Income Pool, or LIP, program.

Florida Senate

Bills that involve state workers' health insurance, nurse-practitioners and hospital regulations died during this week's Legislative special session because the Senate has declined to consider them.

Senate Health Policy Chairman Aaron Bean said in a statement Monday evening that his colleagues felt there wasn't time to consider major policy changes by Friday, the last day of the special session called to finish work on a state budget.

The issues contained in the House bills require "a thorough and proper vetting," said Bean, R-Fernandina Beach.

Budget Deal Made, $301M to Hometown Projects

Jun 16, 2015
Florida House of Representatives

House and Senate budget negotiators struck a deal on a state spending plan Monday night moments before the stroke of midnight, pouring $301 million into projects at the last minute and closing out one of the more-raucous legislative debates in recent years.

A bill aimed at toughening Florida’s human trafficking laws will become law in a few months, following Governor Rick Scott’s signing. It increases the penalties for soliciting another for prostitution.

Lawmakers Agree on LIP Funding

Jun 13, 2015
MyFloridaHouse.gov

Florida legislators racing against the clock on a new state budget struck a deal Friday on a $2 billion plan to steer money to more than 200 hospitals that treat large numbers of low-income patients.

House and Senate budget negotiators will sink $400 million in state tax dollars to replace some of the lost federal funds from the Low Income Pool fund that is expected to end this summer.

Scott Signs Gay Adoption Ban Repeal

Jun 12, 2015
Florida House of Representatives

A nearly four-decade-old law banning gays from adopting children, which hasn't been enforced in five years, will come off Florida's books July 1, but Gov. Rick Scott still wants private, religious-based adoption agencies to be able to turn gay couples away.

Scott signed a bill Thursday that removes the adoption ban enacted in the days when entertainer Anita Bryant crusaded against gays. It is part of a larger bill that promotes adoption, and striking the language simply reflects reality after a judge found the ban unconstitutional five years ago.

Two groups sued the state of Florida today seeking to stop a 24-hour waiting period for abortions from taking effect, arguing that it imposes an unnecessary burden on women seeking to end their pregnancies.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed the suit one day after Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill into law. They argue that the law, which is to take effect July 1, violates the right to privacy guaranteed in the state constitution by interfering with their right to undergo the procedure.

Florida House of Representatives

A bill that would overturn 40 years of hospital regulation in Florida is one of four contentious issues scheduled for a key House committee this morning and a Senate workshop this afternoon.

HB 31A would abolish the requirement for a state-issued “Certificate of Need” (CON) before building or expanding a hospital. It’s likely to pass the House Health and Human Services Committee this morning, since its sponsor is the committee chairman, Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford.

House, Senate Agree On LIP Total

Jun 8, 2015
Sammy Mack / Health News Florida

After months of federal negotiations and proposals floated by Gov. Rick Scott, the House and the Senate, lawmakers on Saturday reached tentative agreements on how much money should flow to hospitals and other medical providers that care for large numbers of low-income patients.

Differences Persist In Budget Negotiations

Jun 8, 2015

A second day of negotiations between House and Senate lawmakers over a spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1 seemed to highlight longstanding divisions between the two chambers even as legislators tried to come to agreement.
 

Florida House of Representatives

The Florida House has soundly rejected a Medicaid expansion compromise that even supporters admitted had its flaws and was seemingly doomed to fail almost from the start.

The bill, which tore apart the regular session as the House and Senate bitterly disagreed, was voted down 72-41 Friday after a rousing, nearly seven-hour debate during which nearly 60 lawmakers spoke.

Florida Senate

Key Republicans on Tuesday asserted that the administration of Florida Gov. Rick Scott was playing politics in a continuing fight over health care that has already derailed one legislative session this year.

Scott, who has changed his stance on whether to expand Medicaid coverage twice now, is opposed to a plan pushed by Senate Republicans that would use federal money to provide private insurance to low-income Floridians.

StateImpact.org

After a passionate debate, the Florida Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would let a half million people use billions in federal dollars to buy health insurance, and added new measures to address criticism from the House, chiefly that the program would end in three years.

The revised version of the Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange, or FHIX, today heads to the floor of the Florida House, which is unlikely to back the proposal.

The Florida House has started laying out its case to opposition for the Senate’s Medicaid expansion plan.

The debate that's been raging in Florida for five years: to expand Medicaid as envisioned under the Affordable Care Act or not?

Florida lawmakers have consistently decided "no." As other states with stiff opposition to Medicaid expansion, like Iowa and Indiana, have forged modified expansion plans that have been approved by the federal government, Florida has steadfastly rejected any change. 

Experimental Drug Bill Awaits Scott Action

Jun 1, 2015
University of Washington Health

The Florida House this week sent a bill (HB 269) to Gov. Rick Scott that would allow terminally ill patients to have access to experimental drugs.

The bill, filed by Rep. Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota, drew significant discussion during this year's regular legislative session, with Pilon and other supporters saying it could help people with diseases such as cancer.

The bill focuses on drugs that have been through what is known as "phase 1" of a clinical trial but have not been approved for general use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Feds Wary Of State's LIP Plan

Jun 1, 2015

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is wary of approving a state proposal for helping fund hospitals without knowing more about Florida's plan for the future, an official said Friday.

The statement came as the two sides try to work out an agreement on how to fund hospitals under a program known as the Low Income Pool, or LIP. Funding for the program will decline to $1 billion in the 2015-16 budget year, which begins July 1.

There’s a campaign underway urging Governor Rick Scott to veto a controversial abortion bill now delivered to his desk requiring a woman wait 24 hours before having an abortion.

Hot-Button Health Issues Added To Session

May 28, 2015
healthcare.gov

The House and Senate have long been divided about a proposal to expand health coverage for hundreds of thousands of low-income Floridians.
 

But when lawmakers return to the Capitol next week for a special session, they also will wade into a series of other controversial health care issues, including a proposal to revamp insurance coverage for state workers and a push to overhaul some longstanding health-industry regulations.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

Hospital administrators and Democratic lawmakers are still trying to persuade Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida House on an alternative to Medicaid expansion.

A coalition called "A Healthy Florida Works" is urging the lawmakers to accept a revamped proposal from the Florida Senate. They met today at the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce.

The UF Health Jacksonville hospital is too important to lose. That’s the message state lawmakers representing Duval County are planning to send to Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leadership in a letter next week.

The Duval delegation resolved to write the letter at their meeting in Jacksonville Wednesday after hearing from the public, including hospital executives and a hospital association president.

Health care spending was the defining issue of the 2015 Florida legislative session. 

The Florida House and Senate were miles apart on the issue, and the disagreement sent the regular session to a screeching halt earlier this month.

On Monday, lawmakers will return to Tallahassee for a special session to try to pass a budget, but lawmakers appear no closer to an agreement on health spending, especially when it comes to an alternative to Medicaid expansion.

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.

GOP legislative leaders have been odds over health care coverage and the dispute derailed the end of the regular session. 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.

Speaker: LIP Letter Will Help End Impasse

May 26, 2015
Mark Foley / Florida House of Representatives

A day after receiving word that Florida likely will receive about $1 billion next year for a key health-care program, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, said Friday that the information could help end a state budget impasse.

Vikki Wachino, director of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, sent a letter to the state Thursday indicating Florida could expect to receive about $1 billion during the upcoming fiscal year for the Low Income Pool, or LIP, program.

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