FNPN Weekly Legislative Report- May 2019
2019 LEGISLATIVE SESSION FINAL REPORT
The 2019 Legislative Session ended on Saturday, May 4th. Normally Sine Die, the formal ceremony signaling the end of session, happens on the 60th day, which was Friday May 3rd, however because they did not finish the budget on time it was extended one day. The 2019 Session was a year of firsts. It was the first session for three of the four Cabinet members (CFO Patronis was serving last year) as well as the first Session as Speaker of the House for Jose Oliva and for Senate President Bill Galvano.
Here is Session by the numbers:
• 3,571 bills and PCBs filed
• 2,997 amendments filed
• 3,765 votes taken
• 40 floor sessions
• 196 bills passing both chambers
• $91.1 Billion budget passed by the Legislature
By all accounts it was a very successful first Session for Governor DeSantis. Of his top priorities, he received a bill to sign on smokable medical marijuana, he received more than the $625 million he requested to spend to clean up the water in Florida, and he received money he requested for Hurricane Michael recovery. In addition, Gov. DeSantis also flexed some muscle behind the scenes and got the Legislature to agree to fund $40 million for the Job Growth Grant Fund and $50 million for VisitFlorida. All in all, the Governor was pleased with how 2019 turned out and now it’s up to him to determine which bills and budget items he keeps and which he vetoes.
The rest of the Cabinet faired decently as well. Attorney General Ashley Moody received funding to increase the fight on the opioid epidemic and also got a bill passed that would allow lawyers in her office to access information in the prescription drug database to prevent “doctor shopping.” CFO Jimmy Patronis got one of the bills near and dear to him passed that has the local government cover firefighters that contract cancer in the line of duty. Finally, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried got a key piece of legislation that she wanted allowing farmers in Florida to grow hemp.
President Bill Galvano presided over a fairly quiet Session in the Senate. His main priority was creating three new toll roads heading North-South on the western side of Florida, which passed both chambers. The project is expected to cost $267 million over the next three years. He had no other real priorities for this session.
Speaker Jose Oliva came into his first speakership with a laundry list of priorities. The first was a full repeal of the Certificate of Need process for healthcare facilities. He got a compromise repeal of CON that included hospitals and tertiary services. Another priority passed was moving the threshold for passing constitutional amendments to two-thirds. The House also pushed forward the School Safety Act, including more access to mental health as well as the “guardian” program allowing teachers to be armed. Also, the school choice program was expanded to give more options to parents.
It was a very busy session, though not a lot of Legislation made it to the finish line. With 2019 not being an election year, committee meetings will start in September. The 2020 Legislative Session will start on Tuesday, January 14.
MAJOR LEGISLATIVE ISSUES:
One of the major pieces of legislation that passed was HB 375 regarding the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program by Rep. Cary Pigman. This bill exempts prescribers and dispensers from the requirement to consult the PDMP prior to prescribing or dispensing a controlled substance to a patient who has been admitted to hospice. The bill also authorizes the Department of Health to enter into reciprocal agreements to share PDMP data with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the federal Indian Health Service. Currently, practitioners employed by these entities may view Florida PDMP data; without a reciprocal agreement, Florida practitioners are not authorized to view PDMP data maintained by the entities. Under current law, DOH may authorize the PDMP database to interface with electronic health recordkeeping systems that are maintained by health care providers. The bill defines “electronic health recordkeeping system,” to clarify the types of software applications that may access the system.
The Scope of Practice bills, SB 972 by Sen. Brandes and HB 821 by Rep. Pigman both died. HB 821 did pass the House by a 75-37 vote; however, it was never taken up for a vote by the Senate. SB 972 was never heard in committee.