Legislative Issues

BILLS THAT FAILED THE 2016 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

To date, Governor Rick Scott has signed over 100 bills.  We have outlined a few items of interest that failed this year.

GUN RIGHTS Although the House passed two measures which would have expanded gun rights, neither bill received traction in the Senate.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R-Miami) refused to hear the bills.  The first would have allowed open carry for Floridians who hold a concealed weapons permit and the second would have allowed concealed weapons on college and university campuses.  A measure to revise rules governing firearm carry in airports died in committee in both chambers.

FRACKING The Senate Appropriations Committee rejected a House proposal twice on a dramatic 9-10 vote to regulate hydraulic fracking and preempt local government action.   A study to examine the effects of fracking on Florida’s environment and geology was included in the measure.  The findings would have served as a guide for the Legislature to develop regulations.

GAMING No gaming legislation passed this session – not the bill to ratify the 20 year agreement between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida; nor the bill to authorize the expansion of slot machines at dog tracks in five counties and card games throughout the state; or the bill to legalize daily fantasy sports contests.

DIRECT PRIMARY CARE Agreements between doctors and patients for primary care such as routine preventative services would not have been subject to regulation under the Florida Insurance Code if this bill had passed.

STEP THERAPY Patients wanting to try another drug or treatment before going through the approved steps would have had a process to request an override of protocol.

SURGICAL FACILITIES Patients would have been allowed to stay overnight at ambulatory-surgical centers and would have created recovery care facilities allowing 72 hour patient care.

CERTIFICATE OF NEED Status quo for regulation of hospitals, hospices and other healthcare facilities will remain in place.  The House backed the elimination of CON, but the Senate did not.

IMMIGRATION Two measures were defeated in the Senate.  The first would have prevented so called “sanctuary cities” which provides some protection from federal immigration laws.  The second would have authorized the use of military force to keep out some immigrants.

ALCOHOL SALES IN GROCERY STORES Grocery stores, which can currently sell only beer and wine, could have been able to sell other alcoholic beverages within the store without having a separate building and entrance for such sales. This measure was opposed by Publix.

PENSION New state employees would have been automatically enrolled into a 401K investment plan as a default. Status quo will continue where employees enroll in a traditional defined benefit plan.

ANTI-DISCRIMINATION The “Florida Competitive Workforce Act” would have prohibited discrimination against LGBT individuals in employment, housing or public accommodations.

SUSPENDED DRIVERS LICENSE Drivers licenses would not have been allowed to be suspended for nonpayment of fees nor for non-driving related offenses. It is estimated that 77 percent of all license suspensions in Florida between 2012 and 2015 were due to a failure to pay fees.

FLORIDA’S ARTIFACTS If this bill had advanced, historic resources like arrowheads and pottery shards, could have been legally kept by their finders via a $100 permit. Currently, it is illegal to remove artifacts on state lands without a permit.

ELECTED SECRETARY OF STATE AND EDUCATION COMMISSIONER The Legislature proposed amending the State Constitution to provide for the election of the Secretary of State and Commissioner of Education, but failed to pass it.

LEGISLATIVE SALARIES A bid to raise legislator salaries died in its first committee. It would have raised the salaries of legislators and leaders to $50,000 and $57,000 annually. Currently the Senate President and House Speaker make $41,181 a year and members make $29,697.

PUBLIC RECORDS A public-records exemption to shield personal information — such as names, Social Security numbers, addresses and telephone numbers — of people getting hunting, fishing and boating licenses and certificates from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission failed to pass. Dubbed the “Ted Nugent Bill,” opponents claimed it was filed in response to the October, 2015 black bear hunt where it was reported that the rock star, along with several legislators and a FWC commissioner, purchased licenses to hunt bears. The sponsor claimed it was to protect gun owners from unscrupulous people looking for weapons.

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