2019 Florida Legislature

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. 

Senators Move Toward Keeping Medicaid Change

Mar 5, 2019
Patient in discussion with doctor at a desk.
Daylina Miller/WUSF

Despite opposition from disparate special interests, a Senate panel on Monday approved a bill that would make permanent a policy requiring poor, elderly and disabled people to apply for Medicaid the same month they become ill or suffer catastrophic injuries. 

Controversy Swirls Around Straws And Sunscreen

Mar 5, 2019

What started out as an effort to prevent local governments from regulating the distribution of plastic straws morphed Monday into a push for a study on the issue, lumped in with an attempt to prohibit cities and counties from banning certain sunscreens.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Florida Retail Association and Disability Rights Florida are among the groups supporting the study on straws.

A number of environmental groups opposing the proposal (SB 588) argue that studies already show plastic and certain sunscreens are detrimental to the environment.

Compensation Funds Proposed For Parkland Victims

Mar 4, 2019
LESLIE OVALLE / WLRN

A Senate Democrat on Friday proposed creating two compensation funds for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victims and family members and providing $160 million in state money for the programs.

A Senate Bill that would permanently cut back the time Floridians have to apply for Medicaid if they want healthcare costs retroactively covered is up for debate when lawmakers reconvene in Tallahassee next week.

The 2019 legislative session begins Tuesday. Over 60 days, lawmakers will tackle the states’ biggest issues, including school safety, education and health care.

As health care continues to take up a growing slice of the state’s budget, House Speaker Jose Oliva has set his eyes on market reform. 

U.S. Army photo by Maj. Simon Flake

Transparency is a health-care catchphrase in the Florida Legislature this year, with lawmakers taking a closer look at how to beef up the state’s data collection and dissemination. 

Cannabis plant
Wikimedia Commons

Baby steps.

Florida policymakers readily admit that’s the approach they’ve taken when it comes to dealing with pot, both before and after voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana. 

Lawmakers Load Wish List For Health Care Money

Feb 27, 2019
Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach
News Service of Florida

Health care costs in Florida are under a microscope as House Speaker Jose Oliva pushes an ambitious goal of scaling back state health spending. 

Key Senator Backs Medicaid Change

Feb 26, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

The Senate’s top health-care budget writer wants to make permanent the elimination of Medicaid retroactive eligibility. 

Granting a request by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida Supreme Court on Monday impaneled a statewide grand jury to investigate whether school districts are complying with mandatory safety requirements following last February’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Prescription drugs on a shelf.
Daylina Miller/WUSF

With bipartisan support, state lawmakers are moving forward with bills that would authorize a drug-repository program to redistribute prescription drugs to poor and uninsured residents.

House and Senate proposals (HB 59 and SB 104) received approval this week from the House Health Quality Subcommittee and the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee.

The similar proposals would create a drug-repository program at the Florida Department of Health to facilitate donations of prescription drugs and supplies to people who need them.

Flickr Creative Commons

A longtime proponent of medical marijuana filed a measure Friday that would eliminate Florida’s “vertical integration” system requiring state-licensed operators to grow, process and dispense cannabis and related products. 

Bud from a Cannabis plant.
News Service of Florida / NSF

Florida legislators are ready to vote on measures that would allow patients to smoke medical marijuana, boosting chances of approval before a mid-March deadline set by Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

Lawmakers Renew Push To Curb Human Trafficking

Feb 21, 2019
News Service of Florida

A year ago, state Sen. Lauren Book wanted to allow human-trafficking survivors to sue hotels that turned a blind eye to abuse. But after that idea did not pass, the Plantation Democrat is back with a different proposal: training hotel employees to spot trafficking. 

A Senate Democrat filed a proposal Thursday that would lead to a requirement in the Florida Building Code that baby-changing tables be included in many buildings that are newly constructed or undergo “substantial” renovations.

House Looks For Transparency In Health Care

Feb 14, 2019
News Service of Florida

Patients admitted to Florida hospitals could get more paperwork in the future in the name of health care “transparency.” 

Nurse Practitioner Debate Re-Emerges In Fla. House

Feb 14, 2019

Twenty-two states, Washington D.C. and two U.S. territories allow advanced registered nurse practitioners to work independently of physicians.

Under a pair of bills going before the Florida legislature this session, women could be charged with a third degree felony if they get an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Samples of medical marijuana shown on display
Wikimedia Commons

Florida House leaders have rolled out a proposal that would allow patients to smoke medical marijuana, but only after going through what one critic called a “bureaucratic mess of red tape.” 

Surgical Centers Could Face Changes After Deaths

Feb 7, 2019
News Service of Florida

Florida’s plastic surgery centers could undergo a regulatory makeover to improve patient safety if state Sen. Anitere Flores is successful during the upcoming legislative session. 

News Service of Florida

A high-profile effort to repeal the state’s ban on smokable medical marijuana morphed Monday into legislation that, according to the proposal’s author, would be worse for patients than doing nothing at all. 

Second Bill Filed To End Marijuana Smoking Ban

Jan 29, 2019
iStock

With Gov. Ron DeSantis backing the issue, Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, filed a bill Monday that would eliminate a ban on smoking medical marijuana.

There are more than 4,000 public schools in Florida. Democratic State Sen. Janet Cruz of Tampa is co-sponsoring a bill to filter lead out of the water used for drinking and cooking at all of them.

Cruz thinks there's money in the budget to pay for filters to remove lead from water used for drinking or cooking at public schools.

Cannabis plant
Wikimedia Commons

An appeals court has refused to indefinitely put on hold a challenge to the state’s prohibition on smoking medical marijuana.

The Daily Chronic

Lawyers representing both sides in a lawsuit over the state’s ban on smoking medical marijuana have asked an appeals court to put the case on hold while they work out an agreement. 

Michael Rivera

Florida organ donors could get free decals for their cars, minivans or trucks under a bill filed Wednesday for consideration during the 2019 legislative session.

Row of lockers
Pixabay

With the annual legislative session nearing, lawmakers and education leaders likely will have to grapple with the fallout of Hurricane Michael on Northwest Florida school districts and continued questions about how to bolster school safety throughout the state.

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