2018 Legislative Session –
Legislative Bulletin
Week Five: 
February 9, 2018

2018 Legislative Session—Stay Informed!

Friday, February 9, 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
SB 438 by Sen. Lee/HB 783 by Rep. J. Grant

CS/SB 438 was voted favorably in its second committee of reference this week, the General Government Appropriations Subcommittee.  It has two more committee stops.

HB 783 by Rep. J. Grant (R-Tampa) was amended in and voted favorably out of the Insurance & Banking Subcommittee last week.  The amendment passed was not the LeadingAge Florida/FLiCRA consensus amendment that conformed HB 783 to CS/SB 438, with some additional agreed upon changes requested by LeadingAge Florida members.   Instead, the amendment was half the length of CS/SB 438 and stripped out the majority, if not all, of our new provisions and many of the provisions important to FLiCRA and the residents.  LeadingAge Florida’s advocacy team continues to work with the House sponsor and staff to address our concerns.  

CS/HB 738 was not heard in the Health & Human Services Committee this week.  This committee does not meet again until Thursday, February 15.

Hurricane Preparedness, Response and Recovery
After Hurricanes Irma and Nate battered nearly the entire state, several bills were filed that, in part:

  • Place requirements on nursing homes and assisted living facilities regarding emergency generators.
  • Require the Agency for Health Care Administration to determine compliance with emergency power requirements through unannounced inspections.
  • Treat nursing homes and ALFs as priorities for power restoration.
  • Create the Florida Strategic Fuel Reserve Task Force within the Division of Emergency Management to develop a recommended strategic fuel reserve for natural emergencies and major disasters.
  • Prohibit workers from being fired for following mandatory evacuation orders.
  • Create the Emergency Power Systems Matching Grant Program to provide matching funds to certain public and private health care facilities for purchasing generators.
  • Mandate that tolls be suspended in counties with a declared state of emergency.

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. 

To date, few hurricane-related bills have been heard. SB 1874 by Sen. Passidomo, relating to Emergency Power for Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facilities, is scheduled to be heard in its second committee of reference on February 14.   The bill 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.  An amendment was adopted requiring all ALFs to install an operational carbon monoxide alarm approved by the Florida Building Commission.

No House companion bill has been scheduled for a hearing. 

SB 1006 by Sen. Montford relating to Disaster Response and Preparedness passed its first committee of reference this week.  The bill requires emergency shelters to identify types of shelters available, like special needs shelters and shelters that accept pets. It further requires Florida College System institutions and state universities to provide facilities, necessary personnel to staff such facilities, and transportation assistance during a declared state or local disaster, if requested by a local emergency manager.  The bill has two more committees of reference.

Activity on LeadingAge Florida Monitored Bills
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.

Current law provides an exemption from public records for building plans, blueprints, schematic drawings and diagrams that depict the internal layout or structural elements of an attractions and recreation facility, entertainment or resort complex, industrial complex, retail and service development, office development, or hotel or motel development held by an agency. These bills expand the exemption to hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, nursing homes, hospices, or intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled.

HB 551 has passed all of its committees of reference and is on the House Special Order Calendar for February 14. SB 906 passed its last committee of reference this week and is on Senate Calendar.

Budget Update – Affordable Housing Trust Funds
The Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget proposals approved this week in the Florida House and Senate are significantly different in the appropriation of the affordable housing trust fund revenues. The Senate dedicates the full amount of $322,100,000 of trust fund monies for affordable housing. The House proposal puts only $123,630,000 for affordable housing and sweeps the rest for other programs. Further, the House budget zeros out all funding for the SHIP program, other than funding for hurricane recovery in communities impacted by the 2017 hurricanes. 

LeadingAge Florida will continue to support the Senate budget proposal and encourage the House to appropriate all trust fund dollars for affordable housing.


A Week in Review – News from the Capitol

by Leslie Dughi
Director of Government Law and Policy, GreenbergTraurig
 
On Thursday of the fifth week of session, the House and Senate approved their respective budgets, making way for the two Chambers to negotiate the final plan to be ultimately sent to the Governor. The Senate approved their $87.3 billion budget on a 33 to 1 vote. The House measure – $87.2 billion – was approved 85 to 27, mostly along party lines, with Democrats opposing the plan. The funding issues that separate the House and Senate budgets include education (K‐12, Colleges and Universities), affordable housing, and healthcare spending.

Legislation pre‐empting the regulation of vacation rentals to the state moved forward this week when two bills on the issue were combined into one. Currently, vacation rental owners must obtain a state license; however, the approved measure will enforce the requirement by levying
fines and revoking licenses. The measure also gives regulatory authority to the hotel and restaurant division within the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and establishes random inspections.

Finally, Rep. Lori Berman (D‐Boynton Beach) easily won the primary election on Tuesday for Senate District 31. This seat was formerly held by Sen. Jeff Clemens (D‐Lake Worth) who resigned in late 2017. The General Election will be held on April 10, and Berman is expected to decidedly take this strong Democratic seat.

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