Florida Legislature

Break-In Rescue Bill Gets Senate Approval

Nov 18, 2015

A proposal (SB 308) that would allow people to break into locked vehicles to help senior citizens, disabled adults, children or pets was approved without opposition Tuesday by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

Pot Proposals For Terminally Ill Push Forward

Nov 18, 2015

Measures that would legalize full-strength medical marijuana for terminally ill patients received preliminary approval from House and Senate committees Tuesday, but not before one version underwent a major change that could have a dramatic impact on the state's current cannabis law.

Editor's note: This story has been updated and contains a correction.

Florida lawmakers should enact more protections for health-insurance consumers and families of workers in small businesses, a state advisory board says.

A recent story on 'surprise bills' by Health News Florida's Carol Gentry hit the nail on the head.

A growing number of insurance plans known as “preferred provider organizations” (PPOs) are leaving far too many patients without the coverage they need for emergency medical services.

Medical marijuana legalization may be heading back to the ballot in Florida next year. An initiative would allow patients to smoke or ingest cannabis in several forms.

At the same time, Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island) is pushing a more narrowly tailored proposal aimed at giving relief only to the sickest people.

A long-running legal battle over the fate of Florida's political landscape is going back before the state Supreme Court.

Hospital Officials Push Back On ‘Gouging’ Claims

Nov 4, 2015
Daylina Miller/Health News Florida / WUSF

Gov. Rick Scott talked Tuesday with Jacksonville residents who said they’ve been the victims of hospital price gouging, while Florida hospital officials are calling Scott’s framing of the issue irresponsible and inaccurate.

Gov. Rick Scott is recommending a health care price transparency bill that would limit how much hospitals charge patients, Politico reports.

Bill Targets Hospital District Taxes

Oct 26, 2015

A Senate Republican last week proposed a measure that would require hospital taxing districts to get voter approval every 10 years to continue levying property taxes.

The bill (SB 614), filed by Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton, will be considered during the 2016 legislative session and comes amid an effort by Gov. Rick Scott to scrutinize hospital funding.

Lawmakers:Help Firefighters With Cancer

Oct 26, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

House and Senate members have outlined legislation aimed at creating a presumption that firefighters diagnosed with cancer got the disease while in the line of duty.

Proposal: More Rules For Abortion Clinic Docs

Oct 26, 2015

Calling it the "Women's Health Protection Act," a Senate Republican last week filed a bill that would increase hospital-related requirements for doctors who perform abortions.

The bill (SB 602), filed by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, would require that abortion-clinic medical directors and doctors have admitting privileges at Florida hospitals or that they have patient-transfer agreements with hospitals within a 30-minute drive.

Florida Lawmaker Pushes For Needle Exchange

Oct 25, 2015

The Obama Administration has a new plan to combat the abuse of heroin and prescription drugs. The president is calling for a shift away from incarceration, and towards prevention, and a Florida Democratic Representative is working on just that: a needle exchange program.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

It's open enrollment time for many people who have health insurance through their job, and Florida’s state employees are among those who are thinking about making changes to their plans.

A Broward County lawmaker’s plans for a needle exchange program are gaining traction. The House Health Quality Subcommittee approved Representative Katie Edwards’ plan Tuesday for a pilot program at the University of Miami.

State Water Policy Changes Begin To Flow

Oct 20, 2015
Florida Legislature

Lawmakers appear closer to patching up differences on new statewide water policies which failed to advance earlier this year.

Senate President Eyes Early Intervention In Childhood Disabilities

Oct 20, 2015

Led by Senate President Andy Gardiner, the 2016 Legislature will consider another increase in funding for Early Steps, which serves infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities and delays --- and which has been struggling to keep up with the demand for services.

Florida lawmakers want to curb rising costs in healthcare. But they’re at odds over how to do that. Several plans have been put forth to improve patient access, but it’s not certain whether they’ll do much to help the bigger issue of cost.

Pafford To Lead Health-Advocacy Group

Oct 16, 2015
Florida House of Representatives

House Minority Leader Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, was named Thursday as chief executive officer of Florida CHAIN, a health-care advocacy group that has sought to sway the Florida Legislature on issues such as Medicaid expansion.

Daylina Miller / WUSF

Health care providers around Florida are continuing a push for laws that would expand the roles of nurse practitioners and physicians assistants.

Florida lawmakers are bracing for budget holes despite figures showing the state could end up with another year of surplus.  The cost driver: healthcare.

Healthcare concerns, more specifically cost problems—are starting to take over conversations at the capital.

Cloudy Timeline For Medical Marijuana Frustrates

Oct 7, 2015

With the Department of Health unable to say when licenses will be issued in the state's new medical-marijuana industry, a House Republican on Tuesday blasted delays in carrying out a 2014 law billed as helping children with severe epilepsy.

A bill to help people with disabilities get government jobs passed its first committee of the coming legislative session Tuesday.  Sen. Jeremy Ring (D-Margate) introduced the committee bill.


Two state lawmakers -- one an orthopedic surgeon and the other a dentist  -- have submitted an eight-year health plan for Florida that includes having the state run its own Medicaid program, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Guns, Medical Marijuana At Issue In House

Sep 30, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

As lawmakers continue preparing for the 2016 legislative session, House panels next week will take up a bill that would allow people to openly carry firearms and will get an update about a medical-marijuana law passed last year.

A three-day trial that could decide the fate of Florida's political landscape ended Monday as lawyers for both sides accused each other of recommending changes to the state's 27 congressional districts that could benefit either Republicans or Democrats.

Putnam: Florida Faces Water Shortfall By 2030

Sep 28, 2015

  Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says Florida faces a water shortfall of more than a billion gallons daily by 2030.

Florida’s Medicaid costs will soon take up about half of the state’s new revenue. And enrollment in the program continues to grow. The increasing costs of the program has the state’s chief economist putting part of the blame on prescription drugs.


As Florida continues to recover from the depths of the recession, the state should have a budget surplus in the coming year, but it may not be big enough to avoid yet another spending battle in the state Capitol.

Senator Tries Again On Expanded Prescribing Powers

Sep 2, 2015
Florida Senate

A Senate Republican on Tuesday proposed a wide-ranging health bill that includes allowing advanced-registered nurse practitioners to prescribe controlled substances.

Surgical Center Bill Re-Emerges In House

Aug 24, 2015
Florida House

A House Republican on Thursday began renewing a push to allow patients to stay at ambulatory surgical centers for up to 24 hours and to allow the operation of longer-term "recovery care" centers.