Relating to Florida Clean Indoor Air Act
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 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.  FAC and other stakeholders continue to meet with committee members to communicate support for the legislation.  SB 582 passed unanimously in Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs on Tuesday, February 11.
  • Outlook: Strong in Senate; stakeholders continue to work with the chair of House Healthy Families Subcommittee and House staff, who have raised concerns about the likelihood that the statute would be challenged in court.

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
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. 
  • Outlook: Unknown.

Relating to Gasoline Stations
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 only one more committee of reference (Regulatory Affairs), but will likely be amended.  HB 1184 has not yet been heard; however, the substance of the bill also appears in Sen. Brandes’ comprehensive transportation package.

Relating to Telemedicine
SB 7028 (Health Policy) and HB 751 (Rep. Cummings)

  • Summary: SPB 7028 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 is on the Health Policy agenda on Tuesday, February 11th. 
  • Outlook: Unknown, although the proposals have a broad support base.