Relating to Substance Abuse Services
SB 582 (Sen. Clemens) and HB 479 (Rep. Hagar)

  • Summary: SB 582 and HB 479 would require DCF to regulate sober house transitional living homes in the following manner:
    • Sober house transitional living homes would be required to obtain a valid certificate of registration from DCF annually.
    • Sober home owners and operators would be subject to level 2 background screenings as a prerequisite for registering with DCF.
    • Advertisements for sober homes must include the DCF registration number.
    • The bills also create penalties for failure to register and violation of the sections.
  • Status: Both bills have been referred to three committees of reference.  SB 582 passed unanimously out of its first two committees and is not in Senate Appropriations.  HB 479 passed unanimously out of its first committee of reference, and is now in House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee; however, HB 479 was amended to create a voluntary certification process for recovery residences rather than a required state registration
  • Outlook: Moving in both chambers

Relating to Homelessness
SB 1090 (Sen. Latvala) and HB 979 (Rep. Peters)

  • Summary: Requires the Florida Housing Finance Corporation to distribute four percent of funds from the Local Government Housing Trust Fund to DCF and DEO annually; of this total, ninety-five percent is directed to DCF to be provided to grantees, and five percent to DEO to provide training and technical assistance to lead agencies. Directs the DCF Office on Homelessness to provide annual homeless challenge grants to lead homeless agencies; award levels are based on total population within the continuum of care area and the varying degrees of homelessness; to qualify for a challenge grant, a continuum of care plan must establish a coordinated assessment of central intake system for assessment and referral, as well as provide matching funds (from local or private funds).
  • Status: SB 1090 has referred to two committees, and Sen. Sobel signed on to co-sponsor the bill; HB 979 was referred to three committees.

Relating to Medical Examiners (unfunded mandate)
SB 584 (Sen. Lee) and HB 301 (Rep. Spano)

  • Summary: Section 406.11, F.S., requires medical examiners to determine and verify the cause of death in certain cases.  Additionally, medical examiners must determine cause of death whenever a body is to be cremated, dissected, or buried at sea. The purpose of s. 406.11 is to preserve evidence in the event that a body is necessary for forensic examination. Many county medical examiners charge a cremation approval fee when a cremation is requested in order to cover the costs of the additional steps that are necessary to comply with the statute. HB 301 by Rep. Spano and SB 584 Sen. Lee would prohibit a medical examiner or county from charging a user fee for an examination, investigation, or autopsy performed pursuant to s. 406.11. Thus, county medical examiners would no longer be able to assess even a nominal fee for performing these statutorily mandated tasks.  The bills would have a collective impact of just under $4 million, based on fees charged in 2013.
  • Status: HB 301 passed unanimously in House Health Quality, and is now in Local and Federal Affairs.  FAC has proposed language to carve out cremation approval fees from the prohibition, but neither sponsor has been amendable. SB 584 has not yet been heard in its first committee. Both bills were temporarily postponed in their first committees of reference.
  • Outlook: Poor.

Relating to Gasoline Stations (preemption)
SB 1184 (Sen. Brandes) and HB 185 (Rep. Danish)

  • Summary: Requires self-service gas stations to place a blue, 15-square inch decal displaying the international symbol of accessibility, a telephone number that a vehicle operator can call to request assistance, and the phrase “call for assistance” on each gas station pump.  Requires DACS to confirm that gas stations are properly displaying the decals on their pumps during normally scheduled inspections. Preempts all local government laws and regulations related to fueling assistance at self-service gas stations.
  • Status: HB 185 has passed its first two committees of reference; however, Rep. Danish committed working with local governments on the preemption language.
  • Outlook: HB 185 has passed all committees in the House; Rep. Beshears offered an amendment to grandfather in existing local ordinances, but it was narrowly defeated.  HB 1184 passed its first committee and is now in Senate Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development Appropriations.

Relating to Florida Clean Indoor Air Act (preemption removal)
SB 342 (Sen. Bradley) and HB 309 (Rep. Edwards)

  • Summary: Currently, s. 386.209, F.S., preempts regulation of smoking to the state, except that school districts may further restrict smoking on their own property.  SB 342 and HB 309 amend s. 386.209 to allow a county or municipality to further restrict smoking on county- or municipal-owned playground areas, provided that:
    • No smoking signs clearly delineate where smoking is restricted;
    • When enforcing an ordinance, a law enforcement officer must first advise the person of the penalties for violation, direct the person to stop smoking, and request that he or she leave the premises prior to issuing a civil citation.
  • Status: SB 342 passed unanimously out of its first committee of reference, Senate Regulated Industries. HB 309 has not yet been heard in its first committee of reference, House Health Quality Subcommittee.
  • Outlook: Although bills repealing the state smoking regulation preemption have failed for the past two years, SB 342 and HB 309 are far more limited their application and more likely to move through the House and Senate. FAC has been working with stakeholder to collect support letters and resolutions in support of the legislation.  As of March 6, HB 309 has 11 bipartisan cosponsors, but has not yet been heard in committee.     

Relating to Nicotine Products & Nicotine Dispensing Devices (preemption)
SB 224 (Sen. Benacquisto) and HB 169 (Reps. Artiles and Renuart)

  • Summary: SB 224 and HB 169 prohibit the gift, sale, possession, or use of nicotine dispensing devices (including electronic cigarettes), to minors.  HB 169 contains language that preempts all local regulation of tobacco and nicotine products to the state; this could impact the counties who have, or are currently considering, ordinances addressing the sale, marketing, and merchandising of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. 
  • Status: The efforts to restrict the gift or sale of e-cigarettes to minors are widely supported and both bills have broad support.  SB 224 has already passed the full Senate.  HB 169 did not originally include any preemption language; it will be heard next in Regulatory Affairs.  FAC is working to remove or significantly reduce the preemption.
  • Outlook: Strong.

Relating to Telemedicine
SB 1646 (Health Policy) and HB 751 (Rep. Cummings)

  • Summary: SB 1646 creates the Florida Telemedicine Act (the act) and defines the key components for the practice of telemedicine, including a registration process for out of state, non-Florida licensed health care practitioners, and a reimbursement process for providers of telemedicine services. The overall goal of the legislation is to address the existing physician shortage and increase access to care.
  • Status: SPB 7028 was approved by the Health Policy Committee and submitted as SB 1646; the bill is now in Senate Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities.  HB 751 was approved unanimously by the House Select Committee on Health Care Workforce Innovation and is now in the Health Care Appropriations Committee. 
Outlook: Unknown, although the proposals have a broad support base.