Capitol Reax: Money for affordable housing, nurse practitioners, funding for sick children, fracking
The week-long civics lesson includes a speech from Gov. DeSantis.

Florida State Capitol Building

Lawmakers in the Florida House and Senate are recommending that $214.1 million be set aside from Florida’s housing trust funds toward affordable housing.

Jaimie Ross, facilitator of the Sadowski Coalition, and president and CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition, said in a statement:

“The Sadowski Coalition applauds the Senate and House for coming to a compromise that appropriates $214.1 million from Florida’s housing trust funds toward affordable housing. We also thank both chambers for including more than $5.2 million for homeless and other housing projects.”

With reports showing that Florida has more than 920,000 very low-income households and the largest share of renters – 31 percent – who spend more than half of their income on housing, this funding compromise comes at an important time. It’s time to use Florida’s housing trust funds for the benefit of Floridians in need of a home, including hardworking families, the elderly, veterans and disabled Floridians living on fixed incomes.”

We look forward to working with members of the Legislature to ensure that this funding level remains intact and ultimately passes as part of the Fiscal Year 2016-17 budget.”

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The Senate Appropriations committee approved a bill (SB 1250) that expands the scope of practice for advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Dominic M. Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, said in a statement:

“If Florida wants to continue to be the greatest state to live in the country, it must provide world-class, affordable healthcare services that are readily available for all citizens. Removing the barriers of practice for ARNPs and PAs is one of the many cost-effective ways that Florida can move its healthcare system into the 21st century and ensure that our residents are receiving the care they need.”

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Lawmakers have set aside an additional $75 million in the 2016-17 budget to treat the state’s sickest children and babies. The money would help boost Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals providing specialized care to the state’s most vulnerable children.

Dr. Jerry Bridgham, president of the Florida Association of Children’s Hospitals and chief medical officer of Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, said in a statement:

“This funding will go a long way toward helping hospitals continue to provide the best care possible to every child in Florida, regardless of a family’s ability to pay. We are grateful to the Legislature for recognizing that having access to quality health care should be every child’s right.’’

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The Senate appropriations committee did not reconsider a bill aimed at regulating fracking. The decision means the measure (SB 318) is likely dead this legislative session.

Pamela Goodman, the president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, said in an email to the group’s supporters:

“The heroes in killing this bill are the bold and courageous city and county commissioners across our beautiful state who laid the groundwork for the battle against fracking. It was their efforts through voting on resolutions to ban fracking that help to unify the effort against this bad bill. And it was our united determination to work with our own local officials to get those resolutions passed!  Democracy in action is a beautiful thing!”

Staff Reports



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