Sixty Days — A prime-time look at the 2019 Legislative Session
The Last 24
Good Monday evening. How much would it cost to deregulate Florida’s electricity market? Even the smartest folks in the room don’t know. That’s a little concerning when a proposed constitutional amendment planned for the 2020 ballot aims at giving Floridians the freedom to buy electricity on the open market. Whatever happens, don’t worry: Sixty Days keeps you illuminated. Here’s your nightly rundown.
Powered questions: A state financial forecasting conference debates how to explain unknowns of electricity amendment.
A nonexistent problem? In a state where there aren’t any, Sen. José Javier Rodríguez asks, “Why create this phantom of sanctuary cities?”
Amazon tax: A Senate committee approved a bill that could help the state collect sales taxes on purchases made over the internet.
Juvenile Justice pick given nod: A Senate panel unanimously OK’d Simone Marstiller’s appointment as DJJ secretary, hinting at approval by the full chamber.
Never again: Parkland, Pittsburgh shootings drive budget requests on security projects.
No more blind trusts? A Senate panel looks into blocking public officials from using them.
Genetic secrets: Should your 23andMe results make your insurance costs spike? Aaron Bean’s bill says no.
Jeff Schweers for the win: The Tallahassee Democrat’s local government watchdog reporter is taking his talents to The Capitol.
Quote of the Day
“To make some of the accusations that have been made in this committee is very offensive.” — Sen. Doug Broxson, during discussion of a proposed ‘fracking’ ban.
Your Metz Husband Daughton-sponsored question of the day is:
Who was the first female member of the Florida Cabinet?
As always, click here to tweet your answer to @MHDFirm. The first person with the correct answer will get a shout-out in tomorrow’s 60 Days!
Thursday, we asked: There are over 1.4 million interstate miles in Florida. What is the shortest interstate in the state?
Answer: “I-395 in Miami-Dade County extends just 1.29 miles.”
Congrats to Jared Ross (@FSUNOLE21), first to tweet the correct answer!
Bill Day’s Latest
Sen. Anitere Flores is sponsoring legislation (SB 732) this year that is aimed at closing what have been described as regulatory loopholes on plastic surgery centers. The bill picked up unanimous support from the Senate Health Policy Committee earlier on Monday. Flores, a Miami Republican, spoke with reporters afterward about the legislation. (As usual, questions and responses were edited for brevity and clarity.)
Q: What are some of the important provisions in the bill?
Flores: This bill cracks down on some cosmetic surgery clinics and their deadly practices. It requires the Department of Health to impose standards and to regulate these facilities just like they do any other ambulatory surgery center. The bill also requires that not just the doctors but the facilities have the necessary medical malpractice insurance so that if something goes wrong in one of those clinics, the patients will not be left with nothing.
The bill also allows the Department of Health to issue an emergency order if they find that there is a clinic that poses an immediate threat to the community. It also says that if there is a clinic or doctor found of wrongdoing, the Department of Health can deny future registration for up to five years. That’s a very important point because we know exactly who these bad actors are.
Q: What prompted this legislation?
Flores: Last summer I was approached by a local news station in Miami, a Spanish station that had been doing months of investigative reporting on these clinics. Through that reporting, we found that this was a widespread problem — not just one clinic that happened to be in my district. This is a widespread problem across South Florida.
Q: Is there any opposition to the bill?
Flores: The CRNAs (nurse anesthetists). Originally we had a bill that said CRNAs would not be in a position to perform this anesthesia at all, rather it would have to be an anesthesiologist. So, in an effort to compromise we’ve changed the bill so that today what would be required is an established protocol between a CRNA and an anesthesiologist. The CRNAs are still of the opinion that that is not quite enough.
I would make the argument — I think you’d have other medical professionals make the argument — that CRNAs currently have these protocols with doctors. We just want to make sure that in plastic surgery, where it has proved to be deadly, that the CRNA has a protocol with the anesthesiologist. I’m just hopeful that it’s not something that will stop this very good and much-needed bill from passing.
From the no-smoke ban to a crackdown on cannabidiol sales, cannabis is a burning issue in Tallahassee.
While it seems likely Gov. Ron DeSantis will get the smoking ban repeal and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has the authority to nix the over-the-counter sale of CBD, there’s a non-psychoactive part of the pot plant fighting for legalization: hemp.
Outside of bamboo, hemp is one of the fastest growing plants out there and its fibers have been used to produce everything from paper to paint and finery to fuel for millennia. Despite its many industrial uses and its removal from the federal list of controlled substances, hemp is still illegal to grow in 42 states, including Florida.
There are a couple of groups hoping the Sunshine State swaps out that statute and allows the ag industry to get to work. Among them is the Hemp Industries Association of Florida, which recently retained Leslie Dughi, Fred Karlinsky and Timothy Stanfield of Greenberg Traurig to lobby for them in the Capitol.
The trio will undoubtedly be backing a proposal by Senate budget chief Rob Bradley, a Fleming Island Republican, that would create a state hemp program overseen by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Bradley’s bill, SB 1020, has already cleared its first committee stop, and a similar measure in the House (HB 333) has built up support in the lower chamber — Reps. Ralph Massullo and Sam Killebrew are shepherding the proposal (HB 333) and Reps. Chuck Clemons, John Cortes, Kim Daniels, Mike Grieco, Anthony Sabatini and David Smith have signed on as co-sponsors.
The Next 24
The Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida is scheduled to hold a daylong conference on medical marijuana issues. That’s at 8:30 a.m., Florida State University Turnbull Conference Center, 555 West Pensacola St., Tallahassee.
The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will take up a bill that would make a series of changes in state law to combat anti-Semitism. That’s at 8:30 a.m., 404 House Office Building.
The House Health Quality Subcommittee will consider a proposal that would create a program aimed at importing cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. The bill comes after Gov. DeSantis announced support for such a program. That’s at 8:30 a.m., 212 Knott Building.
The House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee will take up a bill that would seek to increase “transparency” about local taxes, including requiring additional public meetings and notices before local officials could vote on tax increases or issuing debt. That’s at 8:30 a.m., 12 House Office Building.
DeSantis, state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Agriculture Commissioner Fried and Attorney General Ashley Moody will take up a series of issues, including receiving a post-Hurricane Michael update from Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein and Florida Forest Service Director Jim Karels. That’s at 9 a.m., Lower Level, Cabinet meeting room.
The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee and the House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee are slated to take up numerous bills seeking money for local projects or programs. That’s at 9 a.m., House Office Building.
The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which led efforts to pass a constitutional amendment in November, will hold a news conference as part of an advocacy day at the Capitol. The constitutional amendment called for automatically restoring the rights of most felons who have fulfilled terms of their sentences. That’s at 11 a.m., 3rd-floor Rotunda.
Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell will take part in a rally held by the group One More Child to address issues related to sex trafficking. That’s at 11 a.m., Old Capitol.
Lawmakers will hold a news conference to discuss various pieces of legislation aimed at addressing water problems in the state. That’s at 11:30 a.m., Room 333.
The House Business & Professions Subcommittee will consider three bills that deal with the regulation of alcoholic beverages, including a proposal that would revamp regulations for craft distilleries. That’s at 12:30 p.m., 212 Knott Building.
The House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee will take up a proposal that would make a series of changes related to the Department of Transportation, including eliminating the role of the Florida Transportation Commission in recommending candidates to become secretary of transportation. Under current law, the commission recommends candidates to the governor, who makes the appointment. That’s at 12:30 p.m., Reed Hall of the House Office Building.
The Senate Education Committee will take up a bill that would direct the state university system’s Board of Governors to adopt regulations about the naming of buildings on university campuses. The bill also would carry out a decision by Florida State University to remove former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice B.K. Roberts’ name from a law-school building. Roberts has been a controversial figure, at least in part, because of opinions seeking to block a black student from entering the University of Florida law school. That’s at 1:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building.
The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee will consider a proposal that would prevent local governments from regulating employment issues such as wages, employee benefits and hours of work. The bill would “pre-empt” such regulatory authority, giving it to the state. That ‘s at 1:30 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building.
The Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Beshears, who was appointed by DeSantis as secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. That’s at 1:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building.
The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee and the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee will consider proposals that could lead to spending $50 million a year on projects to restore the Indian River Lagoon. House subcommittee at 1:30 p.m., 12 House Office Building. Senate committee at 4 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building.
The House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee and the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will take up numerous bills seeking money for local programs and projects. That’s at 1:30 p.m., House Office Building.
Equality Florida will host a news conference to “highlight the danger of HB 3 to local LGBTQ protections and to Florida’s tourism reputation and economy.” That’s at 1:45 p.m., 4th-floor Rotunda.
The Senate Community Affairs Committee will take up a bill to take steps to try to curb human trafficking. The bill includes requiring public-lodging managers and employees to be trained on how to recognize and report human trafficking to law enforcement. That’s at 4 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building.
The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee will take up a proposal that seeks to impose eight-year term limits on county school board members. The measure is a proposed constitutional amendment that would ask voters in 2020 to approve the term limits. That’s at 4 p.m., 412 Knott Building.
The Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee will consider a bill that would seek to block so-called sanctuary cities in Florida. The proposal seeks to ensure local governments comply with requests from federal immigration authorities. That’s at 4 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building.
The House Ways & Means Committee will take up a proposal that would take a series of steps aimed at increasing the use of “telehealth” to provide services to patients. That’s at 4 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building.