A ban on texting while driving moved closer to reality this week with SB 52 (Sen. Detert) passing its last committee stop. The Senate bill now heads to the floor; its House companion is on second reading in the House.

The Senate unanimously passed Senator Bradley’s bill (SB 294) to expand the controlled substances register by another 22 new formulas. Its House companion by Representative Ingram (HB 619) is ready for second reading in the House.

Bills in both the House and Senate relating to controlled substance prescription passed through committees. Preemption language was narrowed in SB 1192 (Sen. Grimsley) with both bills providing for continued funding of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database.

Read more on public safety bills…

Controlled Substances “Synthetic Drugs”
SB 294 (S. Bradley)/HB 619 (R. Ingram)

  • Summary:  Expands Schedule I of the controlled substances register to include 22 new formulas of synthetic drugs; all 22 formulas were included in the Attorney General’s December 2012 Emergency Order outlawing them.
  • Status:  SB 294 unanimously passed the Senate and is currently in messages.  HB 619 is still on the Special Order calendar and is ready for second reading in the House.

Concealed Weapons and Firearms
SB 374 (S. Braynon)/HB 97 (R. Powell)

  • Summary: Seek to permit local governments to regulate carry of concealed weapons in public buildings or government-sponsored outdoor public venues.
  • Status:  No bill has been heard in committee. Senate bill has been referred to four committees; House has been referred to three committees. 

Pain Management Clinics
SB 1192 (S. Grimsley)/ HB 831 (R. Fasano)

  • Summary:
    • Requires physicians to consult PDMP (Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database) prior to prescribing drugs to new patients
    • Removes restriction on state funding for PDMP
    • Places a moratorium on new county ordinances
    • The House bill directs a workgroup to create a model county ordinance to go into effect in 2014 limited to zoning matters; no county ordinance can be stricter or go beyond model ordinance
    • The Senate bill preempts the regulation of pain clinics and its practitioners, as well as, pharmacies, pharmacists, and health care facilities to the State.
  • Status: Both bills have been referred to three committees.
  • SB 1192 unanimously passed out of Health Policy on 3/20 despite strong opposition from counties over the preemption language. This week, SB 1192 was removed from HHS Appropriations and referred to Community Affairs and can be heard as early as 4/2. 
  • A strike-all on SB 1192 passed Community Affairs in week six. Significantly, the strike-all greatly narrows the preemption language to include only those clinics that are currently exempt from registration under state law where the practitioners hold certain specified certifications or fellowships and who perform interventional pain procedures of the type routinely billed using surgical codes. FAC believed this was a reasonable compromise that would help ensure passage of legislation that mandates physician use of the PDMP when prescribing schedule II and III controlled substances and provides for continued funding of the PDMP while preserving local government authority to regulate pill mills. SB 1192 is now heading to Appropriations, its last committee stop.
  • HB 831 passed out of Health Quality Committee 3/19 with an amendment that removed all preemption language, which FAC supported. HB 831 was temporarily passed by the bill sponsor in Health & Human Services committee in week five after an amendment was adopted that relaxed standards relating to physician consultation of the PDMP database; in asking that his own bill be temporarily passed, Rep. Fasano said he could not in good conscience pass a bill with that language on it.
  • In an effort to get the bill out of committee, a strike-all to HB 831 was offered in HHS committee in week six that shortens the period of time a pharmacist has to report dispensing controlled substances from 7 to 2 days and provides for additional funding sources for the PDMP. The bill is now headed to the House floor. It is expected that HB 831 will be amended to add back in language regarding physician usage of the PDMP prior to prescribing controlled substances, which is supported by FAC and law enforcement.

Texting While Driving
SB 52 (S. Detert)/HB 13 (R. Holder)

  • Summary:
    • Creates “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law”
    • Makes texting, emailing or instant messaging while driving a secondary offense
    • Does not ban such activities when a vehicle is stationary
    • A first violation is a nonmoving violation and subsequent offenses within a 5  year period is a moving violation with fines and points assessed
  • Status:  SB 52 unanimously passed Judiciary this week and is now headed to the floor. HB 13 is still on second reading in the House. It appears likely that legislation will pass this year. 

Public Works Projects
SB 602 (S. Hukill)/HB 687 (R. McBurney)

  • Summary:
    • Eliminates the exception in law that allows counties to carry out public works projects using their own employees when the cost of work exceeds $300,000.
    • Eliminates the compromise language worked out between the contracting industry and FAC/FLC.
  • Status:
    • Senate bill was temporarily postponed in the Community Affairs Committee in week two.  HB 687 passed out of Government Operations in week four.

Public-Private Partnerships (P3)
SB 84 (S. Diaz de la Portilla)/HB 85 (R. Steube)

  • Summary:
    • Creates a standardized process for counties and cities to follow in doing P3 arrangements.
    • Section 2 of the bill is specific to transportation and provides a more detailed process for doing P3 transportation initiatives.

Status: SB 84 passed three committees and has opposition only from the cities. HB 85 is currently in House Appropriations. Additional language is being drafted that would allow any local government that has or wants to develop its own P3 process to do so. Counties and cities have agreed to language relating to transportation