Late Summer 2013 Legislative Updates

In preparation for the 2014 Legislative Session, Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford announced the interim committee schedule. Committee meetings will be held the weeks of September 23rd, October 7th, November 4th, and December 9th during 2013. The 2014 schedule includes two weeks in January and three in February.

Now through the end of January 2014, Legislative Delegations will be meeting in their respective counties to hear individuals and groups voice their priorities and opinions regarding budget and legislative issues for the upcoming year. Local delegation information can be found at the following site: My Florida House

Please let us know if we can provide the dates of your county’s legislative delegation meeting.

Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith (D-Fort Lauderdale) has filed, for a second year in a row, legislation to amend Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. The bill would prevent individuals from utilizing this defense in instances where the defendant initiated, or “unreasonably escalated” a deadly confrontation.

Senator David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs) has filed a bill related to neighborhood watch programs. The bill would require local law enforcement agencies to issue guidelines for the operation of such programs and provides immunity from prosecution and civil actions for individuals who are justified in utilizing deadly force.

President Gaetz created a Select Committee on Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin chaired by Senator Joe Negron (R-Stuart), which will review policies and spending relating to the Indian River Lagoon, and will discuss what to do regarding the pollution seeping into the lagoon from Lake Okeechobee. The committee met in Stuart this past week to hear from experts and discuss the discharge of Lake Okeechobee into surrounding estuaries and how Florida communities will address the pollution.

Speaker Weatherford announced the creation of a new committee for the 2014 Session, the Select Committee on Health Care Workforce Innovation. Chaired by Representative Jose Oliva (R-Miami), the committee is tasked with addressing a potential shortage of physicians once the national Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is fully implemented. One area of discussion will be scope of practice laws and regulations, which addresses which licensed health care professionals can perform which procedures.

Speaker Weatherford announced 2014 committee assignments in early August. Five committees will have new chairs and seven committees will have new vice chairs. Please let us know if you would like more detailed information.

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