Sixty Days — A prime-time look at the 2019 Legislative Session:
The Last 24
The Senate’s draft of the 2020-21 state budget will be in the public’s hands by the end of the month, according to the timeline laid out by Senate Budget Chief Rob Bradley. The Fleming Island Republican also set some ground rules, most of them standard fare: amendments are capped at $250,000 unless they fund the entirety of a project, spending in amendments must be balanced out by cuts elsewhere, and no bundling allowed. If the chamber adheres to Bradley’s road map, budget meetings are on track to start in the third week of Session. Here’s your nightly rundown.
Parental consent marches on. After clearing its final committee stop, a controversial bill that would require minors to get parental consent before obtaining an abortion is expected to go before the full Senate in two weeks.
Adios, CRC? The House passed two bills poised to eliminate the Constitution Revision Commission. They won’t be the holdup this year.
Wrongful incarceration. A bill that would compensate Jacksonville’s Clifford Williams, who was locked up for 43 years for a crime he did not commit, cleared the House Civil Justice Subcommittee.
College-bound. A House panel approved two bills that would set up new college scholarship programs, one for students to attend state colleges and another for those who attend HBCUs.
Severing ties. A House panel voted unanimously to end the partnership between the Department of Children and Families and the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which has come under fire for alleged financial mismanagement.
Mission Act action. The state Senate voted unanimously in favor of a memorial bill that urges Congress to implement the 2018 VA Mission Act, which is aimed at improving veterans’ health care.
Sunscreen preemption primed. Senators moved a bill preempting local sunscreen bans to third reading, setting it up for a floor vote in the chamber.
Schools chief change. A measure that could make the Duval County school superintendent job an elected position was approved by the House Local Administration Subcommittee, but not without some objections.
Nicaraguan Prez denounced. The Senate passed a resolution condemning Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, claiming the foreign leader was oppressing the citizens of the Central American nation.
New Leader-D. Sen. Perry Thurston Jr. was named Leader-Designate of the Senate Democratic Caucus for the 2022-2024 term after a unanimous vote Wednesday.
Solo practice support. Top House Republicans and major business groups turned out in support of legislation to allow nurses and physician assistants to practice without physician oversight.
Quote of the Day
“How many dollars can replace the pain, the grief, and the torment that he endured, being an innocent man behind bars? How much can you give a man for taking away 43 years of his life?” — Rep. Kimberly Daniels, on her claims bill to compensate Clifford Williams for wrongful incarceration.
Your Metz Husband Daughton-sponsored question of the day is:
What Florida Tourism Hall of Fame inductee and famous circus showman aided in the development of Sarasota?
As always, click here to tweet your answer to @MHDFirm. The first person with the correct answer will get a shoutout in tomorrow’s 60 Days!
Last time, we asked: Who was the first Jewish Governor of Florida, and in what year was he elected?
Answer: David Sholtz, 1933.
Congrats to Johnny Hawkins (@JohnnyH12003424) who was the first to tweet the correct answer!
Bill Day’s Latest
In urgent care offices around Florida, patients are as likely to be seen by a physician assistant or nurse practitioner as a medical doctor. Physician Assistant Deborah Gerbert, legislative committee chair for the Florida Academy of Physician Assistants, spent the last couple days speaking with lawmakers in favor of legislation (HB 607) letting these professionals perform certain work without supervision. She also spoke to us about the yearslong fight for more autonomy.
Florida Politics: What has been the reception as physician assistants speak with lawmakers about this legislation?
Gerbert: It’s been very positive from the House side. Everybody seems familiar with the bill. They were very welcoming and had positive conversations. Knowing there is no companion bill in the Senate, we just knocked on doors and spoke with people. We said when some version presents itself to the Senate, and I believe it will, we hope they will support it. We just gave our contact information. I don’t know why feelings are so different from one part of the legislature to the other. I don’t know who is beholden to who in the Senate and why they have feelings so strong, about this, but we’re not going to let that stop us
FP: Medical doctors for years have raised concerns about patient care and safety. Are you getting pushback on whether this exposes patients to unqualified care?
Gerbert: I haven’t heard any concerns about safety. When you explain how medicine is practiced with PAs, especially ones who own their own practice, it’s clear a lot of us work pretty autonomously. This is more of an administrative change, to not require a supervising physician who is only supervision on paper because we are required to submit supervision data forms. Many physician assistants rarely see a supervising physician, especially in the outpatient and urgent care world. This takes away an administrative burden and financial burden. Once you explain it that way, it makes a lot more sense. We have a strong system in Florida to protect patients and the public through the Board of Medicine and Probable Cause panels. We are under the same scrutiny as physicians as far as regulation. We are not operating on our own. Laws are strict [about] what we can and can’t do. That allays a lot of fear.
FP: You work professionally with physicians but groups representing doctors are the ones most opposed. Is that friction difficult to navigate professionally?
Gerbert: It’s very interesting. The people that lead organized medicine group in Florida are not necessarily the ones who work with us, or they have concerns they will vocalize at meetings but will work with us collegially and understand how we practice. We have wonderful relationships with the physicians we work with and the ones that supervise us. It’s a little disheartening to know pushback is coming from organized medicine, but that’s the way it has always been. They have their own turf to protect and we have turf to protect and promote. It doesn’t stop us from continuing to promote our own work. We try and bring the same dose of reality to organized medicine that we give to the legislators.
Technology has revolutionized the business and consumer spaces over the past decade, and now some of the same companies driving that innovation are looking to bring new efficiencies and capabilities to state governments.
There has been an increased effort to evaluate and pursue innovative technologies by state agencies in Florida, and the Legislature has also shown a willingness to support initiatives that demonstrate a good return on investment for cutting edge technologies.
Areas of prioritization have included machine learning, artificial intelligence, analytics, agile computing and workforce productivity, among others.
Most consumers know Google as the company behind the web’s preeminent search engine, but the company is also a leader in cloud computing, analytics, and collaboration platforms. Their infrastructure solution allows for more efficient delivery of services that citizens are growing to expect. Likewise, their analytics and productivity platforms are enabling data-driven decision making and more effective workforces.
Google is looking to partner with the state to tackle issues of significant public impact and they’ve recently hired Kaleo Partners — Glenn Kirkland, Heath Beach and Jon Menendez — to help identify, pursue and support such issues in partnership with the state.
“Technology, as well as issues facing our citizens, are dynamic and rapidly changing such that government will increasingly need the partnership and support of companies like Google to help transform services and deliver meaningful outcomes,” the firm said.
The Next 24
Gov. Ron DeSantis will participate in a roundtable discussion with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Four Points Sheraton in Miami starting at 8 a.m.
U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala and state Sen. José Javier Rodríguez will hold a news conference in Miami alongside Cuban and Venezuelan American leaders to criticize the “broken promises” of the Donald Trump administration. The event will be held at the Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Blvd, starting at 12:30 p.m.
Also, the following committees will meet.
— The House Commerce Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. in room 212 of the Knott Building.
— The House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. in room 404 of the House Office Building.
— The House State Affairs Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. in Morris Hall in the House Office Building.
— The Senate Appropriations Committee will meet at 10 a.m. in room 412 of the Knott Building.
— The House Education Committee will meet at noon in Reed Hall in the House Office Building.
— The House Health & Human Services Committee will meet at noon in Morris Hall in the House Office Building.
— The House Judiciary Committee will meet at noon in room 404 of the House Office Building.
— The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee will meet at 2:30 p.m. in Morris Hall in the House Office Building.
— The House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee will meet at 2:30 p.m. in room 306 of the House Office Building.
— The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will meet at 2:30 p.m. in Reed Hall in the House Office Building.
— The House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will meet at 2:30 p.m. in room 404 of the House Office Building.
— The House Rules Committee will meet at 5 p.m. in room 404 of the House Office Building.