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Florida Legislative Session: Week 3

While it was a short week due to the holiday celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it was as packed as any five-day week during session.

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Tobacco 21

Earlier in the week, we learned Rep. Halsey Beshears, Chair of the House Careers and Competition subcommittee, still doesn’t want to hear the Tobacco 21 legislation (HB 1029 by Rep. Berman and Rep. Hager). As such, we visited with every member of his Careers and Competition subcommittee asking they press him to put it on the agenda. Additionally, we reached out to people who know him personally to get them to call and encourage him to agenda the bill. We’ll soon launch a social media broadside to further encourage him.

Meanwhile, the Tobacco 21 legislation has added several House sponsors, Representatives Gayle Harrell, David Santiago, Jackie Toledo and Ralph Massullo, MD, and we expect several others to sign on next week. The senate companion to HB 1029 is SB 1288 by Sen. Simmons and it has picked up one co-sponsor with several others expressing interest.

We are working with communications contractor, Allison Aubuchon, to begin planning a Tobacco 21 media event for the week of January 29th which will be tied in to Heart Month. Stay tuned! 

As a reminder, the policy would raise the legal minimum sale age of tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21. 

Bill Status:

  • HB 1029 – Reps. Lori Berman, Bill Hager (and others). Referred to Careers & Competition Subcommittee; Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee; Commerce Committee.
  • SB 1288 – Sen. David Simmons (and others). Regulated Industries Committee; Commerce & Tourism Committee; Rules Committee.

STEMI Registry

We met with Rep. Lawrence McClure, the House sponsor for our STEMI Registry legislation (HB 1313) regarding questions he’d been asked by other members. 

Because of high mortality rates associated with STEMI, which is frequently referred to as the widow-maker, we are urging Florida legislators to direct the Florida Department of Health to create a statewide, centralized registry to collect data on people who have symptoms associated with a STEMI heart attack. If passed, the STEMI registry is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2018.

Bill Status: 

  • HB 1313 by Rep. Lawrence McClure. Referred to Health Innovations Subcommittee; Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee; and Health and Human Services Committee.
  • SB 1032 by Sen Dennis Baxley. Referred to Health Policy Committee; Appropriations Committee on Health & Human Services; and Appropriations Committee.

Other Issues

We turned in an appearance card and “waived in support,” in lieu of providing testimony, on behalf of HB 2429 by Rep. Jackie Toledo. The bill enhances transportation and the walkability of streets in Hillsborough County. Additionally, we testified in support of Sen. Mayfield’s SB 562 which would permit local jurisdictions to further restrict smoking in public parks and certain designated facilities.

Outside of session, we re-shot a video for our GSA teammates and Florida YTC volunteers that explains the Constitution Revision Commission, what it is and does, along with our concerns relating to Proposal 94 by Commissioner Nunez. Proposal 94 will redirect more than 20 percent of Tobacco Free Florida funding away from cessation and prevention over to cancer research. Learn more in this January 18th Sun Sentinel op-ed.

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