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Christopher L. Nuland 
FPHA Lobbyist and General Counsel

Legislative Update

March 10, 2017


As usual, the first week of the legislative session was dominated by the pageantry of the Opening Day, complete with flowers, the Governor’s annual State of the State address, and the last-second introduction of scores of new legislative proposals.  Nevertheless, a few bills did make some advances in committees, with SB 144 (Texting and Driving) passing its first Senate Committee of Reference, HB 145 (Recovery Care Centers) and HB 59 (Adult Cardiovascular Training Standards) both passing the House Health Appropriations Committee.


All of that, however, is a mere appetizer for what promises to be a momentous week.  Not only will the Senate Health Policy Committee take on insurance issues, nursing regulations and Recovery Care Centers, while the Senate Judiciary Committee will discuss HMO Liability for Medical Malpractice, but the House Health Appropriations, Health Innovation, and Health Quality Committees have each scheduled marathon five hour meetings in order to move legislation (the agendas for the House meetings have not been set at press time).


Stay tuned for progress reports, as it looks like next week will be a bumpy ride!!

February 17, 2017

Advocacy Matters


This past week was a momentous one for the Florida public health, both in the courts and in the legislature.


Florida House Moves Major Legislation


The Florida Senate this week addressed budgetary items, including the DOH budget.  The Governor’s proposed budget adds about $52 million to DOH coffers and holds the number of employees constant.


In the House Quality Committee, the Committee voted to move forward with a bill that would allow certain ARNPs to practice without physician supervision and would allow out-of-state Telemedicine providers to practice without being held accountable to the Florida Boards.  Discussions continue on those two points of disagreement.


The same Committee also advanced legislation that would allow the responsible use of a single opiate during Level I office procedures if (and only if) emergency medications were available.  The Senate Health Policy Committee will address the same issue next Tuesday.



11th Circuit Rules Ban on Physician Free Speech re Guns Unconstitutional


In a major decision for all professional free speech, the full 11th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday ruled that Florida’s ban on physician’s speaking to their patients regarding guns was a violation of the physician’s First Amendment Right to Free Speech.  While the Court did uphold a portion of the law that prohibits discrimination based upon a patient’s gun ownership (a point that was not disputed by the plaintiffs), all but one judge agreed that restrictions on what a physician and patients discuss are a violation of the First Amendment.


As of press time, the Scott administration is considering whether to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.



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