Despite planning to adjourn on May 5th, the Florida Legislature returned Monday, May 8th to vote on the state’s $82.4 billion General Appropriations Act, aka the budget, as well as the implementing and conforming bills before adjourning.
By way of explanation, the General Appropriations Act authorizes the spending of public money for specific uses, including salaries of public officers and other current expenses of the state. The implementing bill contains provisions necessary to effect the general appropriations bill, and are effective for only one fiscal year.
Regarding our top three legislative priorities, we were unable to get our Healthy Corner Store legislation (HB 1083 by Rep. Larry Lee, Jr., and SB 1592 by Sen. Aaron Bean) on the agenda for the last scheduled meeting of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. As a result, the legislation will not become law this year. If you recall, the Healthy Corner Store legislation sought to increase access to good nutrition by helping corner storeowners effectively market a healthy food focused inventory and invest in the necessary infrastructure to maintain a reliable selection of fresh produce, dairy and lean meats.
Our Shared Use/Open Playgrounds legislation (HB 1131 by Rep. Brad Drake and SB 984 by Sen. Aaron Bean) was rolled into HB 7069 by Rep. Manny Diaz on the second to last day of session and is awaiting signatures by the presiding officers (Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron) before being sent to Governor Scott for his action.
Our stroke legislation (HB 785 by Rep. MaryLynn Magar and SB 1406 by Sen. Bobby Powell) passed the Florida Legislature and is awaiting signatures of the presiding officers before being sent to Governor Scott! Once it reaches his desk, he will have 15 days to act upon it. Please be prepared to contact the governor and ask him to sign the bill when asked.
As a reminder, the stroke bill will increase hospital participation in the state’s stroke registry to improve clinical outcomes for stroke, as well as secure $200,000 to help fund the registry at the University of Miami. The bill also adds a third-tier designation level to Florida’s certified network of stroke care facilities called Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals. These hospitals would serve as a trusted triage point with the ability to assess whether a patient requires a designated higher level of care where he/she can begin a treatment plan based on clinical guidelines.