Several New Health Laws Take Effect

Jul 1, 2019

Florida’s record $90.98 billion spending plan for next fiscal year and more than 100 new laws will hit the books Monday.

The new laws, passed by the Legislature this spring and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, deal with issues ranging from bans on vaping to a repeal of the state’s “certificate of need” process.

Among the health laws taking effect Monday:

  • House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, made revamping health care a top priority this year, and several new laws are ready to take effect, including a measure (HB 19) aimed at allowing lower-cost prescription drug imports from Canada and other countries.
  • Also, a new law (HB 21) repeals the state’s “certificate of need” approval process for building hospitals and adding certain services such as transplant programs. Another Oliva priority (HB 23) sets up a regulatory framework for telehealth, which involves using the internet and other technology to provide health services remotely.
  • The House also spearheaded a new law (HB 1113) that makes changes to the state-employee health insurance program and creates “shared savings” programs. Those programs will allow health insurers to create incentive programs to encourage policyholders to shop for health services, with the policyholders able to share in savings.
  • Also taking effect Monday is a measure (SB 366) that will allow counties to approve needle-exchange programs to try to combat the spread of infectious diseases by intravenous drug users. The plan expands a needle-exchange pilot program in Miami-Dade County.
  • With a change in federal law clearing the way for a hemp industry, Florida lawmakers moved quickly on the issue. A measure taking effect Monday (SB 1020) creates a hemp program in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The program will provide a regulatory framework that includes requiring licenses for people or businesses that want to grow hemp and requiring them to provide detailed information about where hemp would be cultivated.
  • Firefighters diagnosed with cancer will be eligible for additional benefits under a law (SB 426) taking effect, while another measure (SB 7098) carries out a constitutional amendment setting death benefits for law-enforcement officers, correctional officers, correctional probation officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics and Florida National Guard members killed while on duty.
  • Meanwhile, a measure (HB 595) gives legal immunity to people under age 21 who call seeking medical help for someone in danger of a drug overdose.
  • Nearly eight months after voters approved a constitutional amendment to ban vaping and use of electronic cigarettes in most indoor workplaces, a law (SB 7012) will take effect to carry out the amendment. The ban is similar to a long-standing law that prohibits smoking tobacco in indoor workplaces.