Florida's 2019 legislative session is almost here! The American Heart Association will work hard to pass policies that prevent and treat heart disease and stroke, so more Floridians can live longer, healthier lives.
Our legislative agenda is bold. We will need your help to contact lawmakers throughout session, asking them to support these policy efforts.
- Tobacco 21: Our top issue this session is to raise the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 21. Raising the age to 21 can help break the chain of addiction that often begins with a teenager’s first cigarette. When teens leave high school for a job or college, they often become daily smokers and by the time they’re 21 they’re addicted to nicotine. Even if they try “vaping” to kick their habit, they’re still usually addicted to nicotine. Policy Update: We support House Bill 1041 by Rep. Nick Duran (D-Miami).
- STEMI Registry: A STEMI (ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction) heart attack, aka the “widow maker” is the most serious. STEMI Registries collect data from the time the 911 call is made, through EMS transport, treatment, rehabilitation and discharge. Data is analyzed by the Registry and “best practices” are returned to the emergency departments and providers staffing them so they can provide optimal care. Policy Update: We support House Bill 473 by Rep. Lawrence McClure (R - Dover) and Senate Bill 260 by Sen. Dennis Baxley.
- Removal of Self-Attestation of Stroke Centers: Florida led the nation in passing legislation designating certain hospitals as “stroke centers.” As part of the 2004 legislation, the hospital industry asserted they couldn’t meet the certification requirements and amended a “poison pill” onto the bill permitting hospital CEOs to sign a notarized document “self-attesting” they met all the same criteria for certification as the facilities that underwent verification by an independent third party. Self-attestation was designed to be a bridge for hospitals to comply, not an alternative to compliance. Policy Update: We support House Bill 993 by Rep. Scott Plakon (R – Longwood).
- Implementation of Amendment 9: After passage of Amendment 9 to Florida’s constitution, bills have been filed in the legislature to “implement” the amendment. We are monitoring the text of the language to ensure no weakening of the voters’ intent occurs.
- Preemption: Preemption refers to the doctrine that a higher authority of law will displace the law of a lower authority of law when the two authorities come into conflict, i.e. state law supersedes county or municipal ordinances. Many instances of the state preempting local ordinances can be found in Florida and many of those preemption bills prevent localities from passing ordinances that citizens want, such as an increase in the minimum legal sale age for tobacco from 18 to 21.
Which of these issues interest you the most? Would you like to learn more about any of these issues? If so, which ones? Comment below!
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Mark Landreth, Florida Government Relations Director, contributed to the article.