News Service of Florida

Senate President Bill Galvano said Tuesday he is reluctant to move ahead with changes to the state-employee health insurance program during the upcoming 2020 legislative session.

“I don’t foresee major modifications going into this session,’ Galvano, R-Bradenton said Tuesday. Florida was supposed to have started a major remodel of the program under a 2017 law.

That law required the Department of Management Services to begin offering employees a choice of four different health plans that varied in benefits and costs.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is backing a measure that would require her agency to retain fingerprints of applicants seeking concealed-weapon licenses.

Stethoscope and gavel against a white backdrop.
Wikimedia Commons

Pointing to tough legal standards approved by the Legislature, an appeals court Wednesday rejected workers’ compensation insurance claims involving allegations that two men developed meningitis after inhaling types of fungus while on the job.

Nick Youngson / Alpha Stock Images

Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier has signed off on reducing workers’ compensation insurance rates for Florida businesses beginning Jan. 1. 

Hepatitis A vaccine
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

Florida had 51 hepatitis A cases reported last week, bringing the total number of cases this year to 3,079, as of Saturday. 

The state has received 67 notifications about proposed projects for new or expanded nursing homes, hospice programs and facilities for people with developmental disabilities. 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aiguilles_d_acupuncture_en_eventail.dsc02258.cropped%2Bcontrast.jpg
Xhienne / Wikimedia Commons

A legal battle about a property-tax exemption for a Gainesville acupuncture school is headed to the Florida Supreme Court. 

Hepatitis A vaccine
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

Florida had 65 newly reported hepatitis A cases last week, bringing the total number of cases this year to 2,675 as of Saturday. 

vaping
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Florida has reported its first vaping-related death, but Gov. Ron DeSantis is taking a wait-and-see approach about the possibility of banning vaping. 

Florida Supreme Court
Flickr

The Florida Supreme Court has scheduled February arguments for proposed constitutional amendments that would ban assault weapons and legalize recreational marijuana. 

Doctor speaks to patient on an online live chat
Nemours Children's Hospital- YouTube

The Florida Board of Medicine has received about 200 email inquiries about the state’s new telehealth law, with about half coming from out-of-state providers, members of a House health-care panel were told this week. 

Gavel and a stethoscope
Flickr Creative Commons

Weighing restrictions on the “unlicensed practice of law,” a South Florida appeals court has said a mother can represent her disabled daughter in a dispute with the state Agency for Health Care Administration about Medicaid benefits. 

Empty classroom with chalkboard on wall
Pixabay

The Florida Department of Education was unable to confirm an independent survey that found seven of the state’s 67 school districts have approved or would consider arming classroom teachers under a controversial school “guardian” program. 

marijuana plants
Flickr Creative Commons

Attorney General Ashley Moody wants the Florida Supreme Court to block a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize recreational marijuana, saying the measure would be misleading to voters. 

Hepatitis A vaccine
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

With more than 2,400 cases this year, a Florida Senate committee will receive an update next week about the state’s hepatitis A outbreak.

Hepatitis A sign
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

Florida had 49 new cases of hepatitis A reported last week, bringing the total number of cases this year to 2,461, according to the latest data from the state Department of Health. 

Jackson Memorial Hospital from the street
Google Maps

The Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida has launched a new website as part of an effort to protect hundreds of millions of dollars in state funding targeted to 28 hospitals that provide care to the most Medicaid patients. 

Hepatitis A vaccine
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

Florida had 64 newly reported cases of hepatitis A last week, bringing the total number of cases this year to 2,413. 

healthcare.gov

Florida Covering Kids & Families, a group based at the University of South Florida, has received a $1.3 million grant from the federal government to help enroll uninsured residents in the health-insurance exchange created under the Affordable Care Act. 

NPR

The 1st District Court of Appeal agreed Wednesday to speed up consideration of a high-profile battle over a state law that has threatened tough penalties for local officials and governments that approve gun regulations.

A Leon County circuit judge last month struck down the law, leading the state to go to the Tallahassee-based appeals court. Both sides filed a joint motion last week asking the appeals court for “expedited” proceedings.

Florida Legislature
Florida House of Representatives

With a 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline for casting votes, the Republican-controlled Legislature overwhelmingly rejected a Democratic proposal to hold a special session to address gun violence. 

Hepatitis A vaccine
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

Florida’s hepatitis A outbreak continues, with 2,349 cases reported this year and 82 cases reported last week, state Department of Health numbers show. 

Dennis Rogers / U.S. Air Force

Gainesville Republican Sen. Keith Perry is continuing his crusade to require children to be in a car seat or booster seat until the age of 7, raising the age now required by state law by one year. 

woman holds child
U.S. Navy

Florida’s children’s health insurance program will require tens of millions of dollars in extra state funding over the next several years, according to new estimates prepared by state economists.

Hepatitis A vaccine
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

The number of hepatitis A cases in Florida continues to climb, with 72 new hepatitis A cases reported to the state last week.

A Democratic senator Wednesday filed a bill that seeks to repeal a decades-old prohibition on cities and counties passing gun restrictions that are stricter than state firearms laws. 

Woman addressing classroom full of children
Wikimedia Commons

The State Board of Education is poised to consider new rules next week, including a requirement that all public schools begin teaching students each year about youth substance abuse. Schools would also be mandated to report the professional qualifications of people teaching the classes, according to the rule. 

Hepatitis A sign
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

The number of hepatitis A cases in Florida continues to climb, with 68 new cases reported to state health officials last week. 

Hepatitis A vaccine
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

Florida had 81 new hepatitis A cases reported last week, as state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees declared a public health emergency because of the virus, newly released numbers show. 

Prescription drugs on a shelf.
Daylina Miller/WUSF

Florida’s initial effort to gauge interest in the operation of a Canadian drug importation program has drawn more letters of concern from critics than responses from those seeking to participate in the program.

The Agency for Health Care Administration issued a request for information from potential vendors in late May, after state lawmakers approved the drug-importation plan. During a month-long response period, two vendors --- Ernst & Young and Maximus --- responded to the agency’s request.

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