Legislative Issues

Of the 3,517 bills filed this Session (including 1,634 proposed House appropriations projects, which are considered bills), only 207 passed both the Senate and House. That is 10 more bills than last year’s total. Here is a recap of some interesting bills that passed and failed this Session.

Bills that Passed

CITIZEN BALLOT INITIATIVES The citizen initiative process to propose amendments to the Florida Constitution will see significant changes. Signatures for petitions will only be valid until February 1st of the next even-numbered year instead of for two years from the date signed. Supervisors of Elections must verify signatures within 60 days after receipt of petition forms, instead of 30 days, but reduce that time frame to 30 days after December 2nd of the previous year. They can also charge for the actual cost for verifying the signatures. The number of signatures required to be on the ballot has been increased. Advocates must gather signatures totaling 2 percent of the total number of voters in the previous presidential election from a minimum of half of the state’s congressional districts. Additionally, every proposed constitutional amendment must be reviewed by the Financial Impact Estimating Conference and requires that a financial impact statement be posted on the ballot. The bill is effective upon becoming law and will apply to the 2020 ballot initiatives.

PHARMACY KIOSKS Community pharmacies will be able to use an automated system to provide certain medicinal drugs from a kiosk. Controlled substances would not be stored or dispensed in the kiosks.

MANAGED CARE The Agency for Healthcare Administration requested an one-year extension to the current Medicaid managed care contracts. It was added to a healthcare bill and also ensures that future contracts with managed care plans and dental plans will be for six years.

GENETIC TESTING The Legislature passed a bill which prohibits insurers and long-term care insurers from using genetic testing results to set premiums, cancelling or denying coverages.

VISIT FLORIDA The State’s tourism marketing agency was rescued from an uncertain future. The Legislature approved $50 million in recurring funding for VISIT Florida and extended its authorization to operate until October 1, 2023. The agency will hopefully assist Florida’s hotels, restaurants, theme parks and other attractions as the tourism industry rebounds from their closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak.