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2018 Legislative Session –
2018 Legislative Session—Stay Informed!
This is our weekly Legislative Update/Recap report that will continue through the end of Session. Included with this report is the latest copy of the LeadingAge Florida Legislative Bill Tracking Report.
Activity on LeadingAge Florida Priority Bills
Continuing Care Communities
Hurricane Preparedness, Response and Recovery
Further, the House Speaker created a Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness, chaired by Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, to address hurricane-related issues. The Select Committee published 78 proposals to protect the state from future natural disasters, including recommendations relating to transportation and evacuation, education, healthcare, and utilities, among others. The Select Committee report also 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.
The emergency generator bill that was moving in the Senate, SB 1874 by Sen. Passidomo, relating to Emergency Power for Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facilities, was not heard in the Appropriations Committee this week and is not scheduled for the next Appropriations Committee meeting next week. That is the last scheduled committee meeting for this committee, so it appears that this bill may be dead for this session, unless it is amended onto another bill.
This bill does not ratify the generator rules but instead requires, by June 1, 2018, each facility to have an operational emergency power source and fuel to sustain an air temperature set in rule for at least 96 hours. The bill also requires that each facility have a plan to monitor residents to ensure that they do not suffer from complications from heat exposure and a plan to safely transport residents to an appropriate facility if the facility’s management knows it will be unable to sustain safe temperatures. It also requires all ALFs to install an operational carbon monoxide alarm approved by the Florida Building Commission.
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. The bill increases the maximum allowed value of gifts given by insurance companies for current or prospective customers from $25 to $100. The bill also puts a $100 limit on the total value of gifts given to a particular person annually.
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, & diagrams of certain health care facilities.
SB 280 by Sen. Bean relating to Telehealth passed its last committee of reference this week and has been placed on Senate Calendar. The bill provides specific authorization for the provision of health care services through telehealth. Telehealth is the provision of health care services using telecommunication technologies, which allows licensed practitioners in one location to diagnose and treat patients at a different location. The bill will remove regulatory ambiguity regarding the provision of health care services using this technology because it is not currently addressed in Florida Statutes. The bill includes some of the recommendations included in a report by the Telehealth Advisory Council, such as requiring health-care practitioners who provide care through telehealth to be licensed. The bill also includes the advisory council’s recommendation to ban the use of telehealth for prescribing controlled substances to treat chronic or nonmalignant pain or to certify patients for medical marijuana treatment.
Activity on Other Issues of Interest
Reaction to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, Shooting
Today Governor Rick Scott held a news conference to announce a plan to revise state laws in response to the Parkland shooting. He plans to work with legislators over the next two weeks to get his action plan done. To summarize his statement:
Gov. Scott stated that there are three sections to his plan: gun laws, school safety and mental health.
Gun control – the Governor wants to make it impossible for anyone who has mental health issues to use a gun and plans to create a new program in Florida that will allow a court to prohibit a violent or mentally ill person from purchasing or possessing a firearm or any other weapon when either a family member, community welfare expert or law enforcement officer files a sworn request, and presents evidence to the court of a threat of violence involving firearms or other weapons. There would be speedy due process for the accused and any fraudulent or false statements would face criminal penalties.
He also wants to strengthen gun purchase and possession restrictions for mentally ill individuals under the Baker Act. If a court involuntarily commits someone because they are a risk to themselves or others, they would be required to surrender all firearms and not regain their right to purchase or possess a firearm until a court hearing. He is also proposing a minimum 60-day period before individuals can ask a court to restore access to firearms.
The Governor’s plan will require an individual to be 21 years of age or older to purchase a firearm, and completely ban the purchase or sale of bump stocks.
School safety – the action plan provides $450 million to keep students safe.
The Governor’s plan calls for a mandatory law enforcement officer in every public school. The law enforcement officers must either be sworn sheriff’s deputies or police officers and be present during all hours students are on campus. Sheriff’s departments will be given the authority to train additional school personnel or reserve law enforcement officers to protect students if requested by the local school board.
The plan will require mandatory active shooter training as outlined by the Department of Homeland Security. All training and code red drills must be completed during the first week of each semester in all public schools. Both faculty and students must participate in active shooter drills and local sheriff’s offices must approve and be involved in training.
There will be increased funding in the Safe Schools Allocation to address specific school safety needs within each school district, including school hardening measures like metal detectors, bullet-proof glass, steel doors, and upgraded locks. The Florida Department of Education, with FDLE, will also provide minimum school safety and security standards by July 1st to all school districts.
A new, anonymous K-12 “See Something, Say Something” statewide, dedicated hotline, website and mobile app will be established. Funding will be provided to allow for access to dedicated mental health counselors to provide direct counseling services to students at every school.
Mental Health Initiatives – the action plan includes $50 million in additional funding for mental health initiatives, such as expanding mental health service teams statewide to serve youth and young adults with early or serious mental illness by providing counseling, crisis management and other critical mental health services.
It will require every sheriffs’ office to have a DCF case manager in their department to solely work as a crisis welfare worker for repeat cases in the community, which will require 67 additional employees to be hired at DCF by July 15.
Finally, the plan will provide law enforcement and mental health coordination matching grants to allow sheriffs to establish special law enforcement teams to coordinate with DCF case managers.
Legislative leadership is moving closer to producing a gun control reform package, with Senate President Joe Negron indicating a willingness to allow debate on a Democratic proposal to ban assault weapons. A ban is not included in the package being developed. Earlier this week, the House voted down a Democratic motion to bring back legislation that would implement a ban on the sale and transfer of assault weapons. Measures expected to be in the gun control package include: raising the state's minimum age to purchase an assault weapon from 18 to 21; requiring a waiting period for purchases of assault weapons; and implementing a so-called "gun violence restraining order" process.
A Week in Review – News from the Capitol
by Leslie Dughi
Director of Government Law and Policy, GreenbergTraurig
In the middle of the seventh week of session, hundreds of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL converged on the Capitol to push legislators to action in the wake of the recent horrific mass shooting. On Monday, Governor Rick Scott convened a roundtable discussion of state and local leaders including law enforcement, school administrators and teachers, mental health experts, and state agency leadership. This morning, Gov. Scott announced a three-pronged proposal addressing firearms, school safety and mental health programs. Immediately following the Governor’s conference, House and Senate leaders announced their proposal. Below are some components common to both proposals:
One difference in the two plans is the proposal by the Legislature to create a statewide commission to investigate the system failures in the Parkland shooting. The commission will also review other events to determine weak points in the system that can be remedied. The Governor’s proposal does not include this component. The Senate Rules Committee will meet Monday afternoon to hear the specific proposals outlined in today’s press conference, and there is little doubt that legislation will be approved before the end of session. It remains to be seen how the final approved language is received by the general public, victim advocates and gun enthusiasts. Clearly, the issue will play a major role in the results of the upcoming 2018 election cycle.
As legislators embark on the final two weeks of the regular session there are indications the session may extend past March 9th. Both Chambers have approved their respective budgets; however, conference committees (the appointed group of legislators who hash out the final budget) have not been appointed. With every passing day, the possibility of a timely end grows more remote.
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