Legislative Update: Session Begins with Health Policy Bills

One week ago, on Jan. 12, the Florida Legislature opened its 2016 regular session with more than 700 bills filed, old wounds festering between House and Senate and a smug Governor crowing about his corporate welfare plans and support for fellow billionaire Donald Trump.

Thousands of teachers and community activists descended on Tallahassee to rally for education policies that actually help students, teachers and schools in a message to lawmakers that Enough is Enough.

Local 1991 members will be traveling to Tallahassee Feb. 17-18 to advocate for better health policies, a minimum wage increase and other important legislation. Sign up today to join the Lobby Day trip! Time is running out to reserve your spot on the plane.

Last week, Local 1991 closely followed several health care policy bills, including:

HB 1061, allowing Florida to join a 25 state nurse licensing reciprocity compact, which passed unanimously out of the Select Committee on Affordable Healthcare Access and should have another smooth ride out of the Healthcare Appropriations Subcommittee this week on Jan. 20.

SB 676, the Scope of Practice bill, had a bumper road as two Senators, Joyner and Sobel, voted against the bill as new amendments were added. The bill now states that ARNPs and PAs may prescribe controlled substances starting on January 1, 2017, but they are limited to a 7 day supply; no psychotropic drugs to anyone under 18 unless prescribed by a psych nurse; no controlled prescription privileges in pain management clinics; required 3 hours of continuing education biennially on controlled substances.

Provisions were also added to regulate obstetrics and create special regulations on cesarean sections. There is also a provision requiring the creation of a statewide committee to develop a special formulary of drugs an ARNP may not prescribe, appointed by the Surgeon General, himself a gubernatorial appointee. The House version of the bill, which is similar, passed 11-2 out of the Healthcare Appropriations Subcommittee.