Kathleeen Passidomo Legislative Update Week 7

This past week I could have used a pair of sneakers at the Capitol running up and down the stairs from Committee to Committee to have my bills heard prior to the end of this Legislative Session.  We also spent time in Floor Session considering a number of important bills.

Floor Session

On Tuesday a number of bills passed on the Floor on Third Reading including a consumer friendly bill by Senator Steube that would require health insurers and pharmacy benefits managers to provide certain information relating to prior authorization and publish information on their websites; a bill by Senator Latvala that would require the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the Department of Health and the Department of Financial Services to review final decisions of all regulatory boards under their jurisdiction to determine if final regulatory board decisions constitute anticompetitive conduct that would be contrary to standards established by the legislature;  a bill that would require law enforcement agencies to establish policies and procedures authorizing officer’s review of body camera footage of an incident before writing a report or providing a statement; and a bill by Senator Brandes (the so-called Uber Bill) that regulates transportation network companies and pre-empts such regulation to the state.

On Thursday we heard a number of bills on Special Order including a bill by Senator Torres that would require the Dept. of Juvenile Justice to develop and maintain updated information and materials regarding services and resources for parental victims of child domestic violence; a bill by Senator Lee proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to remove a future repeal of the limitation on the amount of annual increases in property tax assessments;  and a bill by Senator Hukill that revises requirements for the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards to include a financial literacy requirement.

Sponsored Bills On The Floor

SB 724: Estates

I presented SB 724 on the Floor last  Tuesday morning. This bill modifies several sections of the Florida Probate Code relating to the “elective share”—that is, the 30 percent portion of a decedent’s estate that a surviving spouse may elect to take regardless of what is provided to him or her in the decedent’s will.  The bill passed unanimously and now heads to the House of Representatives to be voted on.

SB 716: Real Estate Appraisers

I presented SB 716 on Special Order on Thursday.  The bill will be voted on Third Reading next week.  The bill revises provisions of Florida law pertaining to real estate appraisal management  companies to conform to federal law.

Sponsored Bills In Committee:

SB 206: Electronic Wills 

I presented SB 206 to the Banking and Insurance committee on Monday afternoon. This bill creates the Florida Electronic Wills Act (Act), which authorizes the use of electronic wills in Florida. The Act regulates how electronic wills may be executed, stored, and admitted to probate. The committee passed this bill favorably.

SB 1224: Public Records and Public Meetings/Campus Emergency Response for Public Postsecondary Institutions

I presented SB 1224 to the Government Oversight committee on Monday evening. This bill provides a public record exemption for portions of a plan addressing a public postsecondary institution’s response to an act of terrorism or other public safety crisis or emergency.  The bill passed the committee favorably. 

SB 588: Drug Overdoses

I presented SB 588 to the Criminal Justice committee on Monday evening.  Rep. Rommel sponsored the bill in the House. This bill requires hospitals with emergency departments to develop best practice policies that focus upon the prevention of unintentional drug overdoses. The bill sets forth suggestions that hospitals may include in the policy. The bill also permits the voluntary reporting of a suspected or actual overdose of a controlled substance to the Department of Health (DOH) by basic and advanced life support service providers that treat and release, or transport, a person in response to an emergency call. The bill defines overdose and states that if a report is made, it must contain the date and time of the overdose, the address of where the patient was picked up or where the overdose took place, whether an emergency opioid antagonist was administered, and whether the overdose was fatal or non-fatal. This bill will be a valuable tool for law enforcement and the medical community in their efforts to combat opioid abuse. The committee passed this bill favorably.

SB 200: Temporary Respite care of a Child 

I presented SB 200 to the Senate Judiciary committee on Wednesday.  The bill authorizes a qualified, private nonprofit organization to assist parents in providing respite care of a child for up to 90 days with the help of volunteer families. Only children who are not part of the child welfare system are eligible for care under this program. The association will develop best practice standards and certification for operating a program that facilitates temporary respite care for children, while the organization will administer the program by matching parents and their children with a volunteer respite family. The bill is modeled after a successful pilot program in Lee County that helps families in crisis stay out of the foster care system.  The committee passed the bill favorably.

SB 1046: Covenants and Restrictions 

I presented SB 1046 to the Senate Judiciary committee on Wednesday afternoon.  The bill addresses the covenants and restrictions of property owners’ associations which under Florida’s Marketable Record Title Act become void after thirty years if not extended.  The bill makes the following changes to the Act: 

  • Provides updated definitions and replaces the term “homeowners’ association” with “property owners’ association,” which extends statutes authorizing the preservation and revival of covenants and restrictions to a broader range of associations, notably commercial property owners’ associations; 
  • Updates the process for a homeowners’ association to timely renew its covenants, and lowers the vote requirement from a two-thirds vote to a majority vote for preservation of existing covenants and restrictions; 
  • Authorizes parcel owners who were subject to covenants and restrictions, but who do not have a homeowners’ association, to use the same mechanisms as a homeowners’ association to revitalize extinguished covenants and restrictions; 
  • Requires a homeowners’ association to annually consider preservation of the covenants and restrictions and requires that the association file a summary preservation every 5 years
  • The committee voted favorably on the bill.

SB 744: Community Associations 

This bill requires condominium and cooperative associations that operate a building of three stories or more and that have not installed a sprinkler system in the common areas to mark the building with a sign or symbol approved by the State Fire Marshal to warn persons of the lack of a sprinkler system. It also revises the financial reporting requirements to require all associations, regardless of size, to have prepared the appropriate financial report, based on the association’s revenues, unless waived in advance by the members.  The bill passed the committee favorably.

SB 1622: School Bus Safety

I presented this bill to the Transportation committee on Wednesday afternoon. This bill creates the “Cameron Mayhew Act” to require a driver who illegally passes a stopped school bus resulting in death or serious bodily injury of another person to serve 120 community service hours in a trauma center or hospital and participate in a victim’s impact panel or attend a Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) approved driver improvement course that relates to the rights of vulnerable road users relative to vehicles on the roadway. The bill also imposes a $1500 fine, a one-year driver license suspension, and two additional points, for a total of 6 points added to a person’s driver license. The committee passed this bill favorably.

SB 660: Bankruptcy Matters in Foreclosure 

I presented SB 660 to the Senate Rules committee on Wednesday. This bill allows for documents filed in a bankruptcy case that show a debtor’s intention to surrender property to then be filed in a mortgage foreclosure proceeding as admissions against the debtor/mortgagor. The committee voted the bill favorably. 

SB 730: Insurer Insolvency 

I presented SB 660 to the Senate Rules committee on Wednesday evening. This bill amends Florida’s Insurer’s Rehabilitation and Liquidation Act to include various provisions from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ “Insurer Receivership Model Act.” The full list of the changes that this bill makes are located on its Senate Web page at the following link: http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/00730 

The Rules committee passed the bill favorably.

My Committees

Ethics and Elections

Ethics and Elections committee met to hear a bill sponsored by Senator Gainer pertaining to ballot recounts and to hold a confirmation hearing for the Governor’s appointees to the Boards of Trustees for the different Florida Universities.

For the full list of names of the appointees, visit this webpage: http://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/Show/EE/ExpandedAgenda/3874

Following the confirmation hearing, Senator Gainer presented SB 508. This bill gives County canvassing boards and Supervisors of Elections the option to use State-certified, digital imaging, automated tabulating equipment that is not part of the county’s voting system to conduct both machine and manual recounts. The committee voted this bill unfavorably.

Commerce and Tourism

The committee met on Monday afternoon to hear a number of bills and hold a confirmation hearing for one of Governor Scott’s appointments. The committee confirmed the appointment of John Darrell Rood of St, Augustine to the Board of Directors of Enterprise Florida, Inc. Additionally, Senator Rouson presented SB 570 which makes changes to the state’s temporary cash assistance (TCA) program to improve recipients’ compliance with work requirements. The bill requires CareerSource Florida, Inc., to include additional information in its annual report relating to work activity and employment outcomes for TCA recipients, and creates a pilot program in Pinellas County to assist Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients in finding and securing stable and productive employment. The committee passed this bill. 

Next, Senator Mayfield presented SB 1032, a bill that allows a licensed insurer or its agent to give advertising and promotional gifts to insureds and prospective insureds that do not exceed total value of $100 within one calendar year. Advertising and promotional gifts include articles of merchandise, goods, wares, gift cards, gift certificates, event tickets, and other items. The bill also allows a licensed insurer or its agent to make charitable contributions up to $100 per calendar year on behalf of each insured or prospective insured. This bill passed in committee. 

Senator Garcia then presented SB 1298 and SB 1678. SB 1298 revises provisions governing non-depository loan originators, mortgage brokers, and mortgage lender businesses subject to regulation by the Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) to provide greater consumer protections for residential loans. The bill prohibits an applicant or licensee from establishing or enforcing unfair, unreasonable, arbitrary, or inequitable sales or service performance measurements that have an adverse effect on a dealer. Both of Senator Garcia’s bills passed in committee.

Next, Senator Hutson presented SB 822 which clarifies that residential and commercial intrusion/burglary alarms that have central monitoring are required to make a verification call to a “telephone number associated with the premises” generating an alarm signal, if the first verification call is not answered, prior to alarm monitor personnel contacting law enforcement.  The bill also clarifies that residential and commercial intrusion/burglary alarms that have central monitoring are required to make a verification call to a “telephone number associated with the premises” generating an alarm signal, if the first verification call is not answered, prior to alarm monitor personnel contacting law enforcement. The committee passed Senator Hutson’s bill. 

Senator Montford presented SB 1306, a bill that establishes the Florida Sports Foundation as a direct-support organization within the Department of Economic Opportunity. Additionally the bill updates law to reflect the foundation’s current operations and organizational structure. Currently, the foundation serves as the Enterprise Florida, Inc., Division of Sports Industry Development. This bill passed in committee. 

Finally, Senator Gibson presented SB 1576. This bill creates the Florida Film Investment Corporation to encourage film and television production in the state by making equity investments in productions. The committee voted Senator Gibson’s bill favorably.

Health Policy

The Senate Health Policy committee met on Monday afternoon to hold a confirmation hearing for two executive appointments. The committee confirmed the following appointees:

  • Justin M. Senior (Tallahassee) – Secretary of Health Care Administration
  • Celeste Philip (Tallahassee) – State Surgeon General

Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development

The subcommittee convened on Tuesday afternoon to hear several bills. Senator Gainer presented SB 784 titled: Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The full content and analyses of this bill can be found here: http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/00784.

Following Senator Gainer, Senator Garcia presented, SB 1562 titled Expressway Authorities. The bill information can be found here: http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/01562.

The subcommittee also heard a bill by Senator Lee pertaining to Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRA) that provided for a phase out of existing CRA’s and limited the purposes for which CRA’s would be able to use funding.  The bill was not approved by the committee.

Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services

The subcommittee convened on Tuesday afternoon, to hear a number of bills including the Medical Marijuana bill that previously passed the Health Policy committee.  The committee also heard a bill by Senator Grimsely providing for a grant program for rural hospitals;  a bill by Senator Brandes authorizing a person to donate his or her electronic health records; a bill by Senator Young pertaining to a program for impaired health care practitioners and a bill by Senator Garcia providing responsibilities of the Department of Children and Families for a comprehensive statewide mental health and substance abuse program. Their content and analyses can be found on The Florida Senate Website.  

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *