Florida Legislature

Florida has joined a multi-state nursing compact making it easier for nurses from other states to practice here. And some highly trained nurses and physician assistants can now prescribe controlled medications.

Gun rights advocates say they could gain more from a pending Florida Supreme Court case than controversial open-carry legislation that failed this year.

Children of Legal Immigrants Will Soon Be Eligible For Coverage

Mar 23, 2016

Thousands of children of legal immigrants will be closer to obtaining subsidized health insurance this summer, after the Legislature passed a long-debated expansion of the state's KidCare program.

Scott Ready To Take On Action On Stack Of Bills

Mar 23, 2016

It's time for Gov. Rick Scott to have his say.

Scott during the next four days will take action on more than 100 bills passed during this year's legislative session, including a proposal to expand regulations on abortion clinics and a measure that would allow terminally ill patients to have access to medical marijuana.

Judge: Mental Health Court Bills Promising

Mar 22, 2016

Miami Judge Steve Leifman, a widely recognized authority on substance-abuse and mental-health issues in the criminal-justice system, closely watched two reform bills that passed the Legislature last week.

Florida Department of Health

 Florida lawmakers wrapped up their 2016 annual session last week, and as is always the case, a number of issues didn’t survive the process.

Most notably, the Senate failed to confirm Surgeon General John Armstrong, one of Gov. Rick Scott’s top appointees. Armstrong, who also served as the Secretary of the Florida Department of Health, is the first agency director not confirmed by the Senate since the mid-1990s.

Abortion rights advocates are trying to convince Florida Governor Rick Scott to veto sweeping new abortion legislation.  They delivered 12,000 petitions to Scott’s office Thursday.

DCF To Move Ahead With Foster-Care Changes After Bill Fails

Mar 16, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

A bill aimed at reforming the way Florida foster children are placed in group homes died on the last day of the 2016 legislative session.

Health Care Transparency Bill Passes Florida Senate

Mar 14, 2016
Agency For Health Care Administration

The Florida Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would give residents more transparency on the costs of health care.

Mental Health, Substance Abuse Reforms Get Approval

Mar 14, 2016

In the waning hours of the 2016 legislative session, Florida lawmakers Friday approved wide-ranging reforms to the state's mental-health and substance-abuse treatment systems.

Prescribing, Insurance Changes Get Last-Minute Approval

Mar 14, 2016

Florida lawmakers Friday approved measures that would expand the drug-prescribing powers of advanced registered nurse practitioners and address a controversial health-insurance issue known as "balance billing."

Lawmakers OK Deeper Look At Telehealth

Mar 13, 2016
Mayo Clinic

The House on Friday gave final approval to a bill that calls for research and recommendations about the use of "telehealth" in Florida.

Florida Department of Health

Gov. Rick Scott has appointed Dr. Celeste Philip as Florida’s acting Surgeon General.

Philip replaces Dr. John Armstrong, who was the Surgeon General since 2012.

A decade ago, a group of providers sued the state, charging Florida’s Medicaid program shortchanged medical and dental care for kids. Proponents said Medicaid Managed Care was supposed to make it better, but five years into the new system, the legislature is poised to remove dental coverage for kids and roll it into a separate program.

Lawmakers Sign Off On Controversial Abortion Bill

Mar 10, 2016

In the latest round in Florida's abortion battles, lawmakers Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that would increase clinic regulations and bar public funding for organizations associated with abortion clinics.

Surgeon General Won’t Get Senate Hearing

Mar 10, 2016
Florida Department of Health

Senate President Andy Gardiner on Wednesday cast what could be the deciding vote in the clash over the confirmation of Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong.

Meeting with reporters, Gardiner acknowledged that --- despite his support for the embattled surgeon general --- he would not use a procedural move to pull Armstrong's stalled nomination out of a committee and hold a confirmation hearing on the Senate floor.

Budget Set At $82.3 Billion Amid Intrigue, Criticism

Mar 9, 2016
Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

Lawmakers formally unveiled an $82.3 billion budget plan on Tuesday, paving the way for a Friday end to the legislative session and setting up a potential fight with Gov. Rick Scott after curtailing or scuttling his top priorities.

Multi-State Nurse Licensing Ready For Approval

Mar 9, 2016

The Senate is poised to give final approval to a bill that could lead to Florida nurses receiving multi-state licenses --- and allowing nurses from other parts of the country to work in Florida.

The House voted 111-1 last week to approve the bill (HB 1061), sponsored by state Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park. Only Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, voted against the measure.

Lawmakers Hope Dozier Bill Will Help Healing

Mar 9, 2016

A measure intended to help heal a community and people who suffered at a former reform school where the remains of 51 boys have been unearthed is headed to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott.

Since the 1970s, the hard on crime ethos has fueled the era of mass incarceration. Simultaneously, the country defunded public mental health services. A ballooning criminal justice system came in to fill that vacuum. Now the Florida Legislature is poised to reform the way mental illness is handled in that system.

The Florida Senate is sending a medical marijuana proposal to the governor.  The reform package grants access to terminal patients and carries a number of changes for the existing regulatory system.

Thousands of state workers -- including Gov. Rick Scott -- are expected once again to keep paying low rates for health insurance.

Lawmakers Turn Down Prison Staffing Request

Mar 7, 2016
Associated Press

A deal on the state's public-safety budget that lawmakers reached late Friday would not give the Department of Corrections the 734 additional positions that the agency says are necessary to make Florida's prisons more secure.

'Telehealth' Bill Bounces Back To House

Mar 7, 2016
Nemours Children's Hospital- YouTube

A day after the House approved a bill aimed at expanding the use of "telehealth" in Florida, the Senate on Thursday scaled back the proposal.

Florida lawmakers seem ready to give some terminally ill Floridians access to medical marijuana. But some medical marijuana expansion supporters are already setting their sights on November.

House, Senate Agree On Health Budget

Mar 4, 2016

House and Senate budget chiefs reached agreement Thursday night on two areas of the state spending plan for the year beginning July 1, striking deals on funding for environmental programs and health care.

House Passes Bill To Expand KidCare To Legal Immigrants

Mar 4, 2016

The Florida House on Thursday passed a long-debated proposal to help children of legal immigrants get health-insurance coverage through the state's KidCare program.

Gardiner Considers Taking Up Armstrong Confirmation

Mar 3, 2016
Florida Department of Health

Senate President Andy Gardiner said late Wednesday he was considering bringing Surgeon General John Armstrong's nomination to the Senate floor, a potentially dramatic move aimed at breaking a log jam over the agency head's fate.

There’s just one hurdle left for a Miami-Dade needle exchange program.  The long-awaited pilot passed the House Wednesday.

A bill aimed at helping to address the state’s rape kits backlog is now heading to the Governor, after passing the Florida Legislature unanimously.

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