2018 Legislative Session –
2018 Legislative Session—Stay Informed!
This is our weekly Legislative Update/Recap report that also will continue through the end of Session to keep you informed regarding proposed legislation and other items that may affect our industry. Additionally, included with this report is the latest copy of the LeadingAge Florida Legislative Bill Tracking Report.
Several bills relating to seniors, senior care and senior care providers have been filed along with proposals for consideration by the Constitution Revision Commission. A listing of bills of interest filed to date and CRC proposals is provided below.
Continuing Care Communities
SB 438 was heard in its first committee of reference earlier this week. A strike everything amendment that represented policy changes proposed by the Office of Insurance Regulation during the 2017 Session, FLiCRA, on behalf of residents, and LeadingAge Florida, representing providers, passed the committee.
HB 783 has not yet been heard in committee.
Affordable Housing Trust Funds
HB 191 by Rep. Shaw (D-Tampa) and SB 874 by Sen. Passidomo (R-Naples) prohibit the transfer or use of the state and local housing trust money for any other purpose. As a member of the Florida Housing Coalition, LeadingAge Florida opposes sweeping any of the $322 million anticipated for low-income housing to other state priorities and supports legislative efforts to prohibit the transfer of trust funds for other purposes.
SB 874 passed its first committee of reference this week with over 32 entities, including Volunteers of America and LeadingAge Florida, expressing support for the bill. It has two more committees of reference.
The companion, HB 191, has two committees of reference and has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.
Hurricane Preparedness, Response and Recovery
After Hurricanes Irma and Nate battered nearly the entire state, several bills were filed that, in part:
Further, the House Speaker created a Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness, chaired by Rep. Jeanette Nuñez (R - Miami), to address hurricane-related issues. After several Select Committee meetings with hours of testimony from residents, local officials and industry groups, the Select Committee published 78 proposals to protect the state from future natural disasters.
Recommendations are included in the report relating to transportation and evacuation, education, healthcare, and utilities, among others. The Select Committee report included recommendations requiring nursing homes to have adequate backup power, providing special funding for affordable housing, providing potential cut taxes for the state’s agriculture industry, requiring local governments to work with utilities to speed up power restoration, and providing for the recruitment and training of more shelter volunteers.
Among the recommendations is a proposal exempting the purchase of gas generators costing up to $30,000 from sales tax. Other proposals included requiring health care facilities to address staffing as part of emergency plans and requiring staff training that includes an annual facility-wide evacuation drill. Another recommendation would direct the Public Service Commission to study the costs and feasibility of storm-hardening measures for the electric power grid, which could include underground power lines.
The recommendations will be distributed to various committees and subcommittees to determine the potential impacts on the next state budget as the recommendations are considered for inclusion in legislation in proposed committee bills. They also could be amended onto bills that have already been filed.
Activity on LeadingAge Florida Monitored Bills
HB 483 by Rep. Yarborough and SB 762 by Sen. Mayfield amend the Unfair Insurance Trade Practices Act that provides an extensive list of unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts prohibited in the business of insurance.
Included in this provision of law are prohibitions on certain inducements to the purchase of insurance; however, there are also exceptions provided by law. Among the exceptions is authorization for insurers and their agents to offer and make gifts of merchandise up to $25 per gift to an insured, prospective insured, or any person, for the purpose of advertising. This exception restricts the value of the advertising gift to $25, but it does not limit the frequency of giving or the aggregate value of gifts given over any period of time.
The bill expands the exception for advertising gifts to:
HB 483 was amended in its last committee of reference this week and goes to the House Floor next. SB 762 has three committees of reference and has not yet been heard in committee.
HB 551 by Rep. Burton and SB 906 by Sen. Young provide a public records exemption for health care facilities for building plans, blueprints, schematic drawings, and diagrams of certain health care facilities.
A Week in Review – News from the Capitol
by Leslie Dughi
Director of Government Law and Policy, GreenbergTraurig
House Appropriations Subcommittees deliberated on more than a hundred funding requests that members hope will make it into the budget this week. The House plans to craft their budget over the next two weeks and send it to the Senate. The Senate approved a priority of the Governor and both chambers – fighting opioid abuse. A measure was approved in committee that limits the supply of opioids a physician may prescribe to three days, and allows prescribing up to a seven-day supply for specific circumstances.
As a majority of the Florida Cabinet is completing their eighth and last year in office, the 2018 election cycle is expected to be a busy one. On Tuesday, first-term Democratic Representative Sean Shaw (Tampa) entered the race for Attorney General. Shaw, a plaintiff’s attorney, served as the Insurance Consumer Advocate under Democratic Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Alex Sink prior to being elected to the House in 2016. Shaw joins three other House members in the race – Republicans Jay Fant (Jacksonville), Ross Spano (Riverview) and Frank White (Pensacola). Also running is Republican Ashley Moody, a former Hillsborough County Circuit Judge.
Late in the week, Gov. Rick Scott announced that he will not call special elections to fill the seats left vacant by the resignation of Sen. Jack Latvala (R-St. Petersburg) and the death of Rep. Don Hahnfeldt (R-The Villages). Scott’s decision is based on the cost estimates provided by local Supervisors of Election. This means that the seats will be filled during the November general election and, therefore, will not have representation during the current legislative session.
A roster of LeadingAge Florida's Priority Bills provides detail on all proposed legislation that GreenbergTraurig is tracking.
For more information, please email Susan Langston, Vice President for Advocacy at LeadingAge Florida, or call her at the number below.
| 1812 Riggins Road, Tallahassee, FL 32308
Phone (850) 671-3700 | Fax (850) 671-3790 | www.LeadingAgeFlorida.org