2019 Florida Legislature

During Florida’s 2019 Legislative session, lawmakers had two months to debate hundreds of bills. In the end, the House and Senate worked a half-day of overtime to approve a $91-billion budget -- with record spending on the environment and even more planned for public schools.

But the session closed with hundreds of measures left undebated and a number of high-profile issues that didn’t pass.

Sharing someone else’s nude images on social media or through other “electronic means” will be a misdemeanor if Gov. Ron DeSantis signs a bill passed by the house and senate this week. The measure is part of an effort to curb harm done to victims of sexual cyber harassment.

Prescription drugs on a shelf.
Daylina Miller/WUSF

The House on Monday unanimously approved a bill that would give the attorney general access to information in a state prescription-drug database that could help in litigation against the pharmaceutical industry.

Lawmakers Try To Bridge Health Budget Differences

Apr 25, 2019
Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach
News Service of Florida

In a first round of health-care budget negotiations, the Senate on Wednesday agreed to pare funding for local projects in an attempt to bridge spending differences with the House. 

Firefighter Cancer Benefits Backed In House

Apr 22, 2019
Flickr Creative Commons

With little more than two weeks left in the legislative session, the House on Thursday began moving forward with a proposal that would make firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancer eligible to receive disability or death benefits. 

Arming Teachers Brings Contentious Debate In Florida Senate

Apr 18, 2019
Woman addressing classroom full of children
Wikimedia Commons

Democrats failed to strip language out of a Florida Senate school safety bill that would expand a law allowing some teachers to carry guns in school. They argued Wednesday that more guns in school could make them more dangerous.

Workplace Vaping Ban Headed To DeSantis

Apr 16, 2019
A ban on workplace vaping is headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Mike Mozart / Flickr

More than five months after Florida voters approved a ban on workplace vaping, the issue is on the way to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The House on Thursday gave unanimous approval to a bill (SB 7012) that would carry out the voter-approved constitutional amendment. The Senate unanimously passed the bill last month.

The constitutional amendment, placed on the November ballot by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, combined a ban on vaping and the use of electronic cigarettes in indoor workplaces with a ban on offshore oil drilling.

Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach
News Service of Florida

A Senate committee on Monday approved a bill that would restrict life-insurance companies from using genetic testing information in making decisions about selling policies. 

Senate Won’t Act This Year On Surgeon General

Apr 4, 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis named Dr. Scott Rivkees as Florida's Surgeon General.
Governor's Press Office

Citing a past sexual harassment investigation at the University of Florida, Senate President Bill Galvano said Wednesday the Senate will not vote during this year’s legislative session on confirming the state’s new surgeon general. 

House Passes Bill To Make Opening Hospitals Easier

Mar 22, 2019
News Service of Florida

The Florida House on Thursday began trying to sweep away controversial health-care regulations, approving a bill that is a top priority of House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes. 

Senate Eyes Hospital Medicaid Payments

Mar 21, 2019
iStock

A Senate health-care panel unveiled an early budget proposal Wednesday that would revamp how Florida pays hospitals, direct $85.6 million to address the opioid crisis and change rules regarding medical marijuana. 

‘Certificate Of Need’ Repeal Stalls In Senate

Mar 19, 2019
Gayle Harris seated in front of a microphone.
News Service of Florida

A high-priority issue for House Speaker Jose Oliva is in trouble in the Florida Senate. 

DeSantis Signs Bill To Allow Smokable Pot

Mar 19, 2019
Person smoking near a window.
Wikimedia Commons

Pointing to the “will of the voters,” Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed into law a measure repealing Florida’s ban on smokable medical marijuana. 

Fla. Senate Looks To Protect Pets In Disasters

Mar 19, 2019

People who leave pets restrained outside and unattended during natural or manmade disasters would face up to a year in jail or a fine of up to $5,000, under a measure approved Monday by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Certificate Of Need Repeal Teed Up In The House

Mar 15, 2019
Older hand holding another hand
NPR

A House panel on Thursday approved a proposed repeal of the state’s certificate of need program for hospitals, nursing homes and hospices. 

Medicaid Eligibility Change Keeps Moving In Senate

Mar 14, 2019
Flickr Creative Commons

The Senate continues to move along a bill that would make permanent the elimination of a 90-day Medicaid retroactive eligibility period. 

Smokable Medical Pot Gets Legislative Green Light

Mar 14, 2019
Bud from a Cannabis plant.
News Service of Florida / NSF

In their first full action of the 2019 legislative session, Florida lawmakers — many of them grudgingly — ceded to a demand by Gov. Ron DeSantis and overwhelmingly approved a proposal doing away with the state’s ban on smokable medical marijuana. 

House Panel Gives Go-Ahead To Gun Bills

Mar 13, 2019
Flickr

A House panel Tuesday advanced two gun bills, backed by the National Rifle Association, that are reopening a debate about whether people with concealed-weapons licenses should be able to carry guns on school campuses used by churches and store firearms in vehicles on school property. 

Advanced Nurses, Physician Assistants Get Boost

Mar 13, 2019
Lying atop a mobile gurney, a patient was being prepped and coached just prior to the subsequent medical procedure that was about to take place in this hospital setting. The nurse was wearing her requisite blue colored hospital scrubs, and had draped a st
T. Grace Emori / CDC / Public Health Image Library

Saying the need for health care outpaces Florida’s physician workforce, Rep. Cary Pigman on Tuesday swayed members of a House panel to approve a bill that would give advanced practice registered nurses — and physician assistants — the ability to work independently of doctors. 

The Florida Senate is one step closer to approving a ban on fracking, but the bill looks dramatically different than environmental advocates had hoped.

WGCU

The Senate Health Policy Committee on Monday unanimously signed off on a pair of bills sponsored by the panel’s chairwoman, Gayle Harrell. 

Senate Signs Off On Smokable Marijuana

Mar 8, 2019
WGCU

Bowing to a demand by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a measure that would allow patients to smoke medical marijuana if doctors deem it the proper treatment. 

A bill that would regulate hemp growing and sales, bringing Florida in line with federal laws, unanimously passed in its first Senate committee hearing Wednesday.

Florida Could Outlaw All Forms Of Distracted Driving

Mar 7, 2019
Man in green van texts while he drives over a bridge.
Rcsprinter123 / Wikimedia Commons

Florida could outlaw drivers from putting on makeup, holding a cellphone, reading or performing other distracting activities under a bill unanimously approved by a Senate committee Wednesday. 

Samples of medical marijuana shown on display
Wikimedia Commons

With plenty of breathing room before a March 15 deadline set by Gov. Ron DeSantis, House and Senate leaders have neared completion of a measure that would do away with a state ban on smoking medical marijuana. 

House Looks To ‘Kick-Start’ Telehealth

Mar 7, 2019
Doctor speaks to patient on an online live chat
Nemours Children's Hospital- YouTube

Insurers could get tax breaks worth as much as $30 million and use out-of-state health providers in their networks under a House bill meant to champion the use of “telehealth” in Florida. 

House Seeks To Lower Health Costs

Mar 6, 2019
News Service of Florida

House Speaker Jose Oliva on Tuesday promised that his chamber would focus on lowering health-care costs, seeking to change how and where health providers can work. 

DeSantis Could Come Up Short On Environment Money

Mar 6, 2019
Rachel IaCavone - WGCU

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request for $625 million next year for environmental projects, including Everglades restoration, may be “pushing” the limits of a budget expected to be taxed because of the response to Hurricane Michael. 

Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva on Tuesday made his case during an address on the opening day of the legislative session, urging the House to pursue a fiscally conservative agenda by tackling rising health-care costs and “great excesses” in the state university system.

Oliva said a budget proposal the Florida House will craft for the upcoming fiscal year will be aligned to priorities, including reform in health care and higher education.

Senate To Quickly Take Up Smokable Medical Marijuana

Mar 5, 2019
Flickr Creative Commons

With Gov. Ron DeSantis wanting lawmakers to act by March 15, the Senate this week will take up a bill that would allow patients to smoke medical marijuana in Florida. 

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