Several Measures Enhancing Public Safety Advance to Senate Floor
The Senate Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Senator Rob Bradley, passed several bills to improve the safety and security of Florida residents and visitors. The legislation builds on prior legislative action to improve school safety and to enhance emergency preparedness and response capabilities through investments in Florida’s infrastructure.
This includes Senate Bill 7040: Implementation of the Recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, presented by Education Committee Chair Manny Diaz, Jr.
The legislation builds on school safety and security by addressing the recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission.
The bill seeks to strengthen mental health coordination and accountability and compliance oversight authority. The legislation includes additional safeguards and clarifications related to the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program training; safe school officer authority and training; school safety reporting and planning; school safety oversight and accountability; and school-based juvenile diversion programs.
Senate Bill 7020: Emergency Staging Areas, by the Senate Committee on Infrastructure and Security and presented by Senator Tom Lee provides for the plan, design and construction of permanent Staging Areas for Emergencies (SAFE) as part of Florida’s Turnpike System.
This legislation aims to create a reliable and consistent approach to emergency staging and ensure that nothing stands in the way of critical supplies and assistance reaching communities struck by a natural disaster or an emergency situation.
The staging areas would be designed to accommodate a significant amount of emergency-related supplies and equipment; provide space to support emergency preparedness and evacuation activities; and utilized during non-emergency periods for commercial motor vehicle parking.Legislation to Prevent Illegal Pollution Dumping Advances
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice, chaired by Senator Jeff Brandes, approved Senate Bill 1450: Environmental Enforcement by Senator Joe Gruters.
In an effort to strengthen protection against harmful and illegal pollution of Florida’s environment, this legislation holds bad actors accountable. The would increase fines and penalties for violations of Florida’s environmental laws such as illegal spills and dumping.
The Florida Senate is committed to ensuring Florida’s unique environment is protected for generations to come.Bill to Prohibit Insurance Genetic Testing Passes Rules Committee
Senate Bill 1564 by Senator Stargel, if passed, will provide that a life insurer or long-term care insurer may not cancel, limit or deny insurance coverage or establish different insurance rates based on the “genetic information” of applicants.
Currently, under Florida law, this prohibition applies to health insurers only.
Current state statute defines “genetic information” as information derived from genetic testing to determine the presence or absence of variations or mutations–including carrier status– in an individual’s genetic material or genes that are:
- Scientifically or medically believed to cause a disease disorder, or syndrome, or are associated with a statistically increased risk of developing a disease.
- Associated with a statistically increased risk of developing a disease, disorder, or syndrome, which is producing or showing no symptoms at the time of testing.Senate Bill 1676 Clarifies Legislation on Advanced Practice Registered Nurse – Independent Practitioners
On Tuesday, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services passed Senate Bill 1676 by Senator Ben Albritton, relating to direct care workers.
I have received numerous phone calls and emails from constituents on this bill. Facilitating better health care outcomes for Floridians in our state’s medically underserved areas is critical. As our population continues to grow and age, so will demand for primary care.
Florida, just like the rest of the nation, is experiencing a shortage of primary health care providers in rural and low-income areas.
Research shows that individuals who obtain regular primary care services, receive preventative services and comply with their prescribed treatments will have lower rates of illness and premature death.
The amendment adopted onto Senate Bill 1676 (SB 1676) in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, offers an innovative approach to address the growing need for primary care providers in federally-designated health professional shortage areas in our state.
This addition seeks to incentivize qualified physicians to practice in medically underserved areas by creating a Physician Student Loan Repayment Program.
This legislation would also create a category of health care practitioner for Advanced Practice Registered Nurse – Independent Practitioners (APRN-IPs).
APRN-IPs would be permitted to practice only in underserved areas through a 10-year Patient Access to Primary Care Pilot Program. These ARPN-IPs would not be permitted to practice in a hospital or nursing home except under an established written protocol with a supervising physician.
If SB 1676 passes, the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine would be required to adopt rules for APRN-IPs on the scope of medical care, treatment and services that they provide to patients.
While in underserved areas, APRN-IPs have the potential to play valuable roles in delivery of health care but, I cannot stress enough that the role of a fully trained and qualified physician cannot be replaced.
It is my hope that with the added loan repayment incentives now provided in this bill that additional physicians will move to fill the existing service gaps in Florida’s underserved areas.Bill to Increase Rural Broadband Access Passes Final Committee
Senate Bill 1166 by Senator Albritton transfers the scope of broadband policy implementation from the Department of Management Services (DMS) to the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and creates the Florida Office of Broadband under DEO’s Division of Community Development.
The legislation includes provisions that the Department of Transportation may provide up to $5 million annually from the State Transportation Trust Fund allocation to the Multi-use Corridors (M-Cores) of Regional Economic Significance program for broadband infrastructure development projects. These projects must be located within or adjacent to a multi-use corridor.
The continued funding source in Senate Bill 1166 aligns with the M-Cores mission to revitalize rural communities, encourage job creation, and provide regional connectivity, creating benefits that include addressing broadband connectivity in rural areas.
Delivering high-speed internet to Florida’s Heartland will help to enhance public safety and emergency response, revitalize rural communities, improve regional connectivity, boost business and educational opportunities, and enhance the quality of life for Floridians throughout the state.Bills to Prevent Youth Smoking and Vaping Clear Appropriations Committee
Senate Bill 810 by Senate President Pro Tempore David Simmons would increase the minimum age to lawfully purchase and possess tobacco products from 18 years of age to 21 years of age.
The bill would also prohibit smoking and vaping by any person under 21 years of age on or near school property and limit the sale of tobacco products via vending machines to locations that prohibits individuals under 21 years of age on the premises. This complies with recently enacted ‘tobacco 21’ federal law.
Last year, the U.S. Surgeon General declared the surge in youth vaping an epidemic.
Senate Bill 1394, also by President Pro Tempore Simmons, would amend the definition in state law for the term “tobacco products” to include ‘vapor generating electronic devices’ in effort to combat the youth vaping epidemic. According to recent data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one in four high school students is an e-cigarette user.Coronavirus: Potential Impact on Florida Presentation in Health Policy
The Senate Health Policy Committee met on Tuesday for a presentation on the spread of the coronavirus by Dr. John Sinnott. Dr. Sinnott is an infectious disease specialist at Tampa General Hospital and Chair of the College of Internal Medicine at the University of South Florida.
Around 71,000 individuals across the globe are infected, with the overwhelming majority of those in China.
As of now, there are no confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida. Dr. Sinnott warned that the flu is of much more concern than coronavirus at this time.
Dr. Sinnott urged the committee to be aware of misinformation spreading online and urged to check the Department of Health (DOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for updated information and statistics.
View Dr. Sinnott’s Health Policy Committee presentation here: http://flsenate.gov/Committees/Show/HP/MeetingPacket/4907/8752_MeetingPacket_4907.pdf“Parents’ Bill of Rights” Passes Committee
The Senate Committee on Education, chaired by Senator Manny Diaz, Jr., approved Senate Bill 1634: Parental Rights by Senator Kelli Stargel.
This legislation establishes the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” in Florida statute and enumerates a list of rights that a parent possesses in order to direct the education of his or her child and stay informed about their participation in educational programs.
SB 1634 helps to ensure a parent’s fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of a minor child.Bill to Protect Florida’s Firefighters Passes Committee
Senate Bill 1092: Fire Prevention and Control, by Senator Aaron Bean, unanimously passed the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government, chaired by Senator Debbie Mayfield.
According to information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, firefighters are at higher risk of developing and dying from cancer than the general population of the United States due to carcinogenic exposure on the job.
This legislation creates the Firefighter Cancer Decontamination Equipment Grant Program within the Division of State Fire Marshal to provide Florida’s firefighters with the resources and equipment needed to decontaminate from the estimated 90,000 chemicals in the firefighting environment.
The Florida Senate continues to stand with our brave firefighters who risk their lives to help protect our community.Welcome to the Florida Senate
The Florida Senate welcomed the following groups to the Capitol:
- Alliance for Safety and Justice
- Boys & Girls Clubs
- Clay County
- Florida Professional Firefighters
- Florida Technology Council
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving
- University of Florida
I enjoyed meeting with a few team members from the Lee County Port Authority at RSW, who shared some exciting news with me on their upcoming terminal expansion.
You can view a video of the RSW Expansion Project Animation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-js03chHsU&feature=youtu.be
I was thankful to have had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Larry Antonucci, who is the president and CEO of Lee Health, and Michael Nachef, who serves as their Director of Government Affairs.
Thank you to Larry Hart, our Lee County Tax Collector, and his deputy from Southwest Florida for stopping by the office this week.
I was also thankful to receive an office visit by Larry Ray, our Collier County Tax Collector, and his deputy while in town this week.
Grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with Hendry County Commissioner Karson Turner while he was in town with the Lake Okeechobee 16 County Coalition.
Thank you to Lee County Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle and his wife, Donna, for visiting my office while in town.
This week, Megan McCarthy Beauvais and Mary Pat Hussey stopped by my office to advocate for the Boys and Girls Clubs in Collier County. Thank you for all your hard work for our community’s future.
I enjoyed meeting with Aaron Paquette who is the Assistant Director at I-Tech College in Immokalee.In the News
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office any time that I can be of assistance.
Kathleen C. Passidomo
Senate Majority Leader
State Senator, District 28Naples Office:Not paid for at taxpayer expense.
Paid political advertisement paid for by Working Together for Florida P.C., 133 South Harbor Drive, Venice, FL 34285.