Recreational Pot Lawsuit Dismissed

Jan 17, 2020
Cannabis plant
Wikimedia Commons

A legal fight over a state petition-gathering law has been dismissed after supporters of allowing recreational marijuana use decided against continuing to try to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot. 

With the bill sponsor saying heat-stroke deaths are “100 percent preventable,” a House panel Thursday unanimously approved a measure aimed at helping high-school athletes avoid heat strokes.

The bill (HB 7011), sponsored by Rep. Ralph Massullo, R-Lecanto, is one step from going to the full House after getting approval from the PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee.

It would require the Florida High School Athletic Association to take a series of steps, such as establishing requirements for “cooling zones,” where overheated athletes could be immersed in ice water.

Genetic Information Bill Finds Quick Support

Jan 17, 2020

Incoming House Speaker Chris Sprowls had little trouble Thursday convincing members of a House health-care panel to approve legislation that would prohibit life-insurance, long-term care insurance and disability-insurance companies from using customers’ genetic information in changing, denying or canceling policies. 

Senate Panel Confirms Rivkees As Florida Surgeon General

Jan 17, 2020
Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees
UF Health

A Senate health-care panel on Wednesday voted 8-2 to support the confirmation of Scott Rivkees, the secretary of the Florida Department of Health and surgeon general. 

Parental Consent Measure One Step Away From Florida Senate Vote

Jan 16, 2020

A day after Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed the issue in his State of the State address, Republican lawmakers Wednesday continued moving forward with a proposal that would require parental consent before minors could have abortions. 

Changes To Disability iBudget Program Draws Concern

Jan 16, 2020

A Senate panel on Wednesday took the first steps toward overhauling a complicated and expensive program designed to help thousands of Florida residents with developmental and intellectual disabilities. 

House Looks To Remove Bill Banning Specialty Hospitals

Jan 16, 2020

Less than a year after lawmakers agreed to change how the state licenses hospitals, a House health-care panel on Wednesday approved a bill that would continue to alter the industry by scrapping a ban on specialty, or “boutique,” hospitals. 

Court Wades Into Marijuana Licensing Dispute

Jan 15, 2020
Cannabis plant
Wikimedia Commons

A Tampa-based orchid grower seeking to enter Florida’s highly restricted medical-marijuana market tried to convince a state appeals court Tuesday that health officials erred in granting a handful of medical-marijuana licenses to competing firms last year. 

Lawmakers Consider Continuing Controversial Medicaid Change

Jan 15, 2020

Florida legislators this year will weigh whether to continue a controversial policy that limits the length of time people have to apply for the Medicaid program. 

Oliva Lashes Out At Health Care Industry As ‘Robber Barons’

Jan 15, 2020
News Service of Florida

House Speaker Jose Oliva, who last year shepherded several contentious health-care measures through the Legislature, lashed out Tuesday at the health-care industry as modern-day "robber barons." 

Senators Back School Safety Measures

Jan 14, 2020

Nearly two years after the mass shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida senators on Monday started moving forward with additional school security proposals. 

Over the objections of the National Rifle Association, a Senate panel Monday unanimously signed off on a far-reaching measure that would close the gun-show “loophole,” create a record-keeping system for private gun sales and set aside $5 million to establish a “statewide strategy for violence prevention.” 

State Sued Over Transgender Health Benefits

Jan 14, 2020
Courtroom bench
Wikimedia Commons

Two transgender state employees who have been denied medical treatment for gender dysphoria filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the Florida Department of Management Services alleging unlawful sex discrimination. 

Team Trump Says Administration’s Action On Health Care ‘Is Working.’ Is It?

Jan 14, 2020


With the 2020 election months away, President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is touting his health care record as a key reason voters should grant him another term.

DeSantis Environmental Plans Get Legislative Support

Jan 13, 2020
Gov. Ron DeSantis
News Service of Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis is making progress on his environmental wish list, as House members have joined senators in efforts that include setting up a statewide office focused on sea-level rise and creating more electric-vehicle charging stations. 

House Leader Focuses On Use Of Genetic Information

Jan 10, 2020

A powerful House Republican on Thursday filed legislation that would ban insurance companies from using people’s genetic information to cancel, limit or deny life-insurance policies or long-term care coverage. 

Senate Eyes Changes For Disabilities Program

Jan 10, 2020

A legislative proposal to overhaul a program that helps Floridians with developmental and intellectual disabilities was released Thursday --- and is quickly sparking fears among people who work with the thousands of residents who rely on assistance from the state. 

Bill Would Allow Local Officials To Be Armed

Jan 9, 2020

Local elected officials in Florida could bring guns to government meetings, but people appearing before them would remain unable to carry weapons, under a bill filed Wednesday. 

Legislature Eyes Further ‘CON’ Changes

Jan 9, 2020
Heather Snyder, 31st Medical Operation Squadron educational and developmental intervention services speech and language pathologist, hands a plastic coin to Nathan Gribble, a patient at the Educational and Developmental Intervention Services clinic.
Staff Sgt. Taylor L. Marr / U.S. Air Force photo

After eliminating certificates of need last year for hospitals, Florida lawmakers will consider making changes to the so-called CON law for new intermediate care facilities for people with developmental disabilities.

House Health Quality Chairwoman Colleen Burton, R-Lakeland, filed a proposal (HB 1163) on Wednesday that would allow facilities to be built outside of the CON process so long as they meet certain requirements.

Senate Health Policy Chairwoman Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, has filed the Senate version (SB 1344).

State Faces Loss Of Medicaid Funding For Hospitals

Jan 9, 2020
Stethoscope on a pile of money.

As Florida lawmakers prepare to start the 2020 legislative session, the state is being confronted with a $70.4 million loss in the coming months in the amount of Medicaid money it gets to fund hospitals, train future physicians and treat people who are mentally ill. 

Florida Starts Year With 32 Hepatitis A Cases

Jan 8, 2020
Hepatitis A sign
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

After facing a major outbreak last year, Florida had 32 reported cases of hepatitis A during the first four days of 2020, state Department of Health numbers show. 

Florida Attorney General, Lawmakers Levy Criticism Against Recreational Pot Plan

Jan 8, 2020
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody - flanked on both sides by Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister and Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco - led a discussion in Tampa Wednesday about mental health and the criminal justice system.
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Attorney General Ashley Moody and the state House and Senate want the Florida Supreme Court to reject a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow recreational marijuana use, arguing the measure wouldn’t fully inform voters that pot remains illegal under federal law. 

Lawmakers Continue Grappling With School Safety

Jan 8, 2020

Nearly two years after a six-minute shooting spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 people dead and 17 others injured, the issue of school security continues to gnaw at Florida lawmakers. 

House Speaker Says Health Care Remains ‘Focus’

Jan 8, 2020
Jose Oliva addressing a room.
Florida House of Representatives

House Speaker Jose Oliva said Tuesday that health care continues to be his top priority for the upcoming legislative session after he pushed through a series of changes last year. 

Lynne Shallcross/KHN Illustration; Getty Images

Health products powered by artificial intelligence, or AI, are streaming into our lives, from virtual doctor apps to wearable sensors and drugstore chatbots.

Florida Legislature
Florida House of Representatives

A House Republican on Friday filed a proposal that would create a Statewide Office of Resiliency in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office as part of efforts to address the impacts of climate change. 

As sales boom in retail establishments throughout Florida, state regulators are now keeping tabs on CBD products that marketers claim can ease arthritis, anxiety and sleeplessness. 

A Coral Springs woman facing drug charges has been denied release on bail because four people have died of overdoses at her apartment in recent years.

State, National Groups Take Aim At Gun Law

Jan 6, 2020
Stethoscope and gavel against a white backdrop.
Wikimedia Commons

State and national groups --- including two prominent gun-control organizations ---- filed briefs Thursday urging the 1st District Court of Appeal to reject the law, which threatens tough penalties if city and county officials approve gun regulations. 

Flickr Creative Commons

The Florida Chamber of Commerce has taken an initial step toward intervening in a lawsuit in which a political committee is seeking more time to collect petition signatures for a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize recreational marijuana.