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Florida Legislative Update

Florida’s 60-day legislative session is in week three of nine. Issues are beginning to lose traction and head for the ditch.

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The American Heart Association's public policy agenda is in a high state of flux and we are pulling out all of the stops to try pass policies that build healthier, longer lives. 

Stroke Centers - SB1460/HB999

  • What the Bill Does: The legislation would have nationally recognized certifying organizations verify that hospitals meet specific criteria to be classified as stroke centers. Here's some background - In 2004, Florida passed groundbreaking legislation establishing a certification process for hospitals who wanted to be recognized as stroke centers. Hospitals complained they couldn’t comply with the requirements as quickly as the statute would require and, so, a bridge was inserted into the legislation that permitted the hospital CEO to sign a notarized affidavit stating, “we meet the same requirements as the certified facilities.” The bridge language was designed to help them get comfortable with the certification process and to work their way toward compliance. It should have been removed from statute within a year or two afterwards, but it wasn’t. 
  • Bill Status: Our Stroke Centers legislation (SB1460) is moving in the Senate, where it passed Senate Health Policy on March 18th, and should be heard in Senate Health Appropriations on March 26th. The House bill (HB993) is being held hostage in a struggle between two influential legislators. It is expected to be voted on March 26th by the Health Market Reform Subcommittee. 

Tobacco 21 - SB1618/HB1041

  • What the Bill Does: The legislation would raise the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21.
  • Bill Status: The Senate bill is finally moving. It passed the Senate Health Policy Committee with a vote of 9-1 and is waiting to be scheduled for a vote in the Innovation industry and Technology Committee. We have until the 45th day of session (April 18th) to have the bill pass that committee and one more, so it can be heard on the House Floor. The House bill (HB1041) is waiting its first committee vote. In the meantime, it has picked up several new co-sponsors, including Reps. Juan Ferandez-Barquin, Shevrin Jones, Stan McClain, and Rene Plascencia.

STEMI - SB260/HB473

  • What the Bill Does: A data registry to help drive down the mortality rates by formulating best medical practices and pushing that information out to hospitals has been filed by Rep. Lawrence McClure (HB 473) and Sen. Dennis Baxley (SB 260). The Chair of the first committee of reference in the House has told us her committee will not be meeting meaning the legislation is dead in the House.
  • Bill Status: Our STEMI legislation isn’t moving as quickly as we hoped, but we expect we could have a hearing on the House and Senate bills in coming weeks. The legislation must pass all its assigned committees by the 45th day of session (April 18th) to have a chance of becoming law.

Stay tuned for You're the Cure alerts, letting you know how you can help! 

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