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Legislative Update:

Today marks the end of week three for the 2022 Session. As of today, 3,575 bills have been filed and 1 bill has passed both the Senate and House. 

The big controversy of the week happened on Wednesday when Senate Democrats walked out of the Senate Health Policy Committee during a confirmation hearing for the state Surgeon General. Democratic members on the committee were believed that Dr. Joseph Ladapo was dodging their questions. After the Democrats left the room, the Republican majority on the committee unanimously approved Ladapo’s confirmation. Ladapo will still need to go before the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee before his confirmation is sent to the full Senate. 

HEALTH CARE:

Telehealth: On Thursday the Senate unanimously passed a bill expanding telehealth services in Florida. SB 312 allows health care practitioners to prescribe certain controlled substances through telehealth services. During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Health temporarily allowed doctors to prescribe controlled substances to patients via telehealth, which proved to be successful. The measure now heads to the House where its similar companion, HB 17, has also passed all of its committees and is ready to be introduced on the House floor. 

Medicaid Managed Care: With the state’s Medicaid managed care contracts expiring soon, the Legislature is seeking to update the laws regulating the program. The Senate Health Policy Committee is prepared to take up bill SB 1950 and a similar House committee bill was filed earlier this week. Both proposals consolidate the state’s Medicaid managed care regions from 11 to 8 and, though they differ on the number of plans, the state would have to contract within each region. Both bills would keep Medicaid dental and medical services separate. The newly rewritten House measure also addresses health care worker shortages by allowing health plans to include nurse training expenses into their medical expenses and expands the use of funds to include students not in a physician residency.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: 

Businesses that would lose money because of new local laws could sue to recoup some of their losses under legislation (SB 620) that passed on Thursday in the Senate. The Senate also passed a bill (SB 280) requiring local governments to undertake a “business impact estimate” spelling out how a new regulation or ordinance would impact local businesses. The first bill would allow companies in business for at least three years to sue local governments over ordinances if they cause a 15% or more loss in profit. Both bills now go to the House.

Redistricting Update: 

The House Redistricting Committee advanced a new map proposal for the state’s 120 House districts on Wednesday. Committee staff drafted and released a fourth map earlier this week that made several districts more compact. HB 7501 now heads to the House floor where amendments are likely to be filed.

Webinar Replay: Part 1 Redistricting 101: An Overview of the Redistricting Process and the Impact on Florida Businesses – November 19, 2021

Webinar Replay Available 01/31/22: Part II Redistricting 101: A Legislative Update on Redistricting- January, 28, 2022 

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