Florida Legislature

Lawmakers Poised To Pass Child Welfare Bills

Mar 3, 2016

After a spate of child deaths in Florida, the Department of Children and Families is doubling down on child welfare reforms. Now state lawmakers are poised to pass a suite of bills to bolster that effort.

Florida House

With the support of doctors and small businesses, the Florida House has unanimously passed a bill that would clear the way for "direct primary care” agreements.

Series Of Health Care Bills Poised To Pass House

Mar 2, 2016

After the issues sailed through committees, the House is poised to pass a series of bills dealing with health-care regulations.

House Grapples With Medical Marijuana

Mar 2, 2016

The House will hold a floor session and take up numerous issues, including proposals that would place additional restrictions on abortion clinics and allow terminally ill patients to have access to medical marijuana.

House Could Approve 'Rape Kit,' Needle Exchange Bills

Mar 2, 2016
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Florida House on Wednesday could give final approval to bills that would require faster testing of DNA evidence in sexual-assault cases and create a pilot needle-exchange program in Miami-Dade County.

The House on Tuesday agreed to take up versions of the bills that have already passed the Senate. If the House gives approval, the bills would be ready to go to Gov. Rick Scott.

Medical cannabis legislation is heading to the Senate floor for the second time after a clash in committee.  But time is running out for the proposal to gain passage in both chambers before session closes.

Lawmakers Agree On 'LIP' Hospital Funding

Mar 1, 2016

Facing a nearly $400 million cut in the coming fiscal year, House and Senate budget negotiators late Monday agreed on a plan for divvying up money in the Low Income Pool program, which helps pay for hospital care for poor and uninsured patients.


The Florida Senate will again take up a medical marijuana bill today.  It expands the scope of Florida's Right to Try Act, which allows terminally-ill patients to try drugs not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The measure emerged from the rules committee Monday.

House Ready To Take Up Health Care Agenda

Feb 29, 2016

With Republican leaders pushing for major changes in the health-care system, the House will take up a series of high-profile health issues during a floor session Tuesday.

Committee Slated To Take Up Armstrong Confirmation

Feb 29, 2016
Florida Department of Health

A Senate committee is scheduled Tuesday to consider the confirmation of state Surgeon General John Armstrong, as some medical groups offer a show of support for the embattled secretary of the Florida Department of Health.

Florida's 24-Hour Abortion Waiting Period To Take Effect

Feb 29, 2016

Abortion opponents hailed an appeals court decision Friday that allows the state to begin enforcing a law requiring women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion, while a group suing to overturn the law vowed to keep fighting.

Battle Rages Over Florida Law Limiting Doctors' Gun Speech

Feb 29, 2016
Alan Diaz/Associated Press

As a pediatrician, Dr. Judith Schaechter can ask parents of her patients all sorts of questions regarding their safety and well-being: what the child eats, whether there's a backyard pool and whether the child gets enough sleep.

State lawmakers continue to butt heads on healthcare reform, specifically where new hospitals can be built. Both chambers want to improve access to healthcare, but they disagree on rules for hospital construction.

Governor Rick Scott has raised the profile of balanced billing in the healthcare system and now the Florida legislature is trying to tamp down on it. A Senate bill limiting how and when hospitals can charge patients for out-of-network services is on its way to the chamber floor.

The Florida Senate has passed a bill allowing the state to provide financial help to the families who want to rebury the remains of their loved ones, found on the Panhandle property of the former Dozier School for Boys. Its House counterpart is also heading to the floor.

Balance Billing Measure Heads To Senate Floor

Feb 26, 2016

With supporters saying they are seeking to protect patients from surprise expenses, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a bill that deals with a closely watched health-care issue known as "balance billing."

 Florida would pay to rebury students whose remains were once interred on the grounds of a now shuttered reform school, under a bill passed by the Senate.

Medical Marijuana Bill Sent Back To Committee

Feb 25, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

With more than two-dozen amendments stacked up on the bill Wednesday, Senate President Andy Gardiner yanked a medical marijuana measure off the floor and sent it back to a committee for another vetting.

Senate Approves Needle Exchange Program

Feb 25, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

The Florida Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a proposal that would create a needle-exchange pilot program in Miami-Dade County.

Seniors Could Get Protections From Guardian Wrongdoing

Feb 24, 2016
Florida Senate

A bill aimed at better protecting elderly Floridians from unscrupulous guardians is speeding toward passage in the state Legislature.

The House on Tuesday took up the measure (SB 232), filed by state Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, and could give final approval as early as Wednesday. Senators this month voted unanimously to approve the measure, after a similar bill died during the chaotic end of the 2015 legislative session.

Senators: Give Notice In Obstetrical Unit Closures

Feb 24, 2016
Florida Senate

With supporters saying such closures can affect pregnant women who are close to giving birth, the Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would require hospitals to give 120-day notices to doctors before shutting down obstetrical departments or halting obstetrical services.

The bill (SB 586), sponsored by state Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, now will go to the House.

Surgeon General Confirmation Held Up In Senate

Feb 24, 2016
Florida Department of Health

After narrowly escaping an earlier panel, state Surgeon General John Armstrong on Tuesday did not get a scheduled confirmation hearing before the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee.

Committee chairman Garrett Richter, R-Naples, said he tabled a vote at the last minute to accommodate senators who still had questions for Armstrong. The committee is scheduled to meet again next Tuesday.

Tampa General Hospital

The Florida Senate is proposing $75 million for children's programs at hospitals that serve the poor.

The Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida supports the proposal, which would bring in just over $21 million for facilities in the Tampa Bay area.

'Monopoly' Status Of For-Profit Group Home Reconsidered

Feb 23, 2016

Florida legislators are looking to end what one lawmaker calls a “monopoly” written into state law that benefits a for-profit company with a history of abuse at group homes for the disabled.

Barry Gutierrez/NPR

The Florida Legislature has killed a measure that would let doctors increase what they charge patients for copies of medical records to $1 a page.

Armstrong Set To Go Before Another Senate Panel

Feb 22, 2016
Florida Department of Health

After narrowly winning the support of the Senate Health Policy Committee, state Surgeon General John Armstrong will face another confirmation test Tuesday.

Senate To Take Up Medical Marijuana, 'Pastor Protection'

Feb 22, 2016

The full Senate is slated Tuesday to take up a bill that would allow patients with terminal illnesses to have access to medical marijuana.

The Internet allows savvy consumers to comparison shop for big ticket items. Those items may soon include medical procedures.

Currently there are no standard qualifications for American Sign Language interpreters in public schools. But Thursday the Florida House passed a bill unanimously that could that.

Senate Panel Passes Sweeping Bill Tightening Abortion-Clinic Regulations

Feb 18, 2016

A sweeping bill that would tighten regulations on abortion clinics passed a Senate panel Wednesday on a 5-3 vote along party lines.