Top News: Budget Conference Tentatively Expected to Begin Over the Weekend
With the 2020 Legislative Session scheduled to end in one week, on Friday, March 13, the House and Senate budget proposals remain $1.4 billion apart. At this point, the major differences in each chamber's budget include the implementation of teacher raises, funding for VISIT Florida to attract tourists, and affordable housing in which the Senate wants to fully fund the Sadowski Trust at $387 million and the House recommends funding it at $147 million.
Senate President Bill Galvano stated on Thursday that he expects budget conferencing to begin over the weekend, although this may not come to fruition. Legislators are expected to stay in town over the weekend. As is usual in session, talk has begun that session will be extended to resolve the budget.
Governor DeSantis spoke with the press and public this week to address concerns about the presence of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, cases in Florida. Currently, there are four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florida. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has stated that Florida will receive about $23 million in emergency funding as well as test kits. House Speaker Jose Oliva has said that Florida legislators are prepared to spend an additional $10 to $20 million to protect Floridians from the virus outbreak.
Priority United Way Bills Heard this Week
Week of March 2-6, 2020
CS/HB 945: Children's Mental Health (Silvers; D-Palm Beach
Requires DCF & AHCA to identify children & adolescents who use crisis stabilization services & to meet behavioral health needs of such children & adolescents; requires development of plans promoting coordinated system of care for certain services; requires testing of provider network databases maintained by Medicaid managed care plans; requires verification of use of certain strategies & outreach before student is removed from school, school transportation, or school-sponsored activity under specified circumstances; provides exception; requires DCF & AHCA to assess quality of care provided in crisis stabilization units.
Passed by the House on March 6th. Now in Messages.
CS/SB 998: Housing
(Hutson; R-Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns, Volusia) -
Authorizing a board of county commissioners to approve development of affordable housing on any parcel zoned for residential, commercial, or industrial use; requiring counties, municipalities, and special districts to include certain data relating to impact fees in their annual financial reports; revising applicable standards for the repair and remodeling of mobile and manufactured homes; authorizing the preclusion of an applicant or affiliate of an applicant from participation in Florida Housing Finance Corporation programs under certain conditions, etc.
Placed on Special Calendar Order, March 6th.
CS/SB 190: Health Care for Children (Medicaid School-Based Services) (Montford; D-Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla) - Requires the Department of Health (DOH) to create an electronic pamphlet with information on the screening for, and treatment of, preventable infant and childhood eye and vision disorders. The pamphlet must be provided to new parents by hospitals providing birthing services, birth centers, and by the healthcare practitioner attending an out-of-hospital birth. The bill authorizes school districts to certify for reimbursement eligible school-based health services provided to any student enrolled in Medicaid, regardless of whether that student qualifies for Part B or H of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the exceptional student education program, or has an individualized education plan. The bill aligns Florida law with updated federal guidance that authorizes the federal reimbursement of Medicaid-eligible, school-based health services for all students enrolled in Medicaid. Passed by the Appropriations Committee on March 3rd.
Click for Updates on all Florida United Way Priority Bills.