2 Fentrice Driskell bills head to Gov. DeSantis, addressing sickle cell and abandoned cemeteries
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 11/21/22-Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, speaks Tuesday during Organizational Session at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

Both measures enjoyed bipartisan support.

Rep. Fentrice Driskell, the House Democratic Leader, successfully ushered two bills through the legislative process this year, paving the way for increased monitoring and transparency over sickle cell medications, treatments and services, as well as the implementation of recommendations regarding forgotten and abandoned cemeteries. 

The sickle cell bill (HB 1481) will establish a statewide registry for individuals diagnosed with sickle cell disease. 

It will also require the Agency for Health Care Administration to examine and publish reports on sickle cell medications, treatments, and services available for Medicaid recipients. The initiative aims to enhance sickle cell treatment monitoring throughout the state, increase transparency, and prepare Florida Medicaid for the potential coverage of new drugs that can help cure the disease. 

By enabling better data collection on those living with sickle cell disease under Florida Medicaid, the bill seeks to improve patient awareness regarding treatment options and available resources.

“Sickle cell disease is a painful and prevalent genetic disorder that disproportionately affects our communities,” Rep. Daryl Campbell said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, discrimination and lack of understanding within the health care system often leaves patients without the proper care and compassion they need. With the passage of HB 1481/SB 1352 Floridians with Sickle Cell can rest assured that the state is working to understand their needs and provide support. I would like to thank Leader Driskell and my colleagues for their support in fighting this crisis.”

Driskell’s abandoned cemeteries bill (HB 49) will enshrine recommendations from the 2021 Abandoned African American Cemetery Task Force into law. 

It establishes the Historic Cemeteries Program and the Historic Cemeteries Program Advisory Council within the Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources to promote and facilitate the education and upkeep of abandoned and historic cemeteries.

It also allocates $1 million for abandoned cemetery research and grants to aid in the repair, restoration, and maintenance of African American cemeteries. 

The passage of this bill represents a significant opportunity for many Floridians to finally pay tribute to their ancestors and loved ones with the dignity and honor they have always deserved, Driskell’s Office said, noting both bills passed with bipartisan support.

“I am grateful for the collaboration of Representative Campbell and Senator (Darryl) Rouson on our sickle cell bill, which will provide relief to some of Florida’s most vulnerable communities and help bolster the state’s preparedness for their treatment,” Driskell said in a statement.

“I am also thankful for Senator (Bobby) Powell’s and Senator (Tracie) Davis’ assistance on our abandoned cemeteries bill, which has been a heartfelt labor of love, honor, and respect for those who were forgotten and often mistreated. The unanimous support of my colleagues in both the House and the Senate for both bills is deeply appreciated, and I look forward to the opportunity to bring them to the Governor’s desk.”

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.

One comment

  • Earl Pitts American

    May 5, 2023 at 8:52 pm

    Good evening America,
    I have worked hard to get majority Republicans to send these 2 bills to the Govornor.
    I also am working with Fentrice to get her to “come out” as a Republican.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

Comments are closed.


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