Lobbyist Tim Meenan
The 2019 regular Florida Legislative Session kicked off on Tuesday, March 5th and is expected to end on time on May 3rd.
Week 8 was very busy as the House and Senate continue to position their priorities. The chambers passed one major piece of legislation last week - AOB reform. This issue has been worked on for several sessions and was a priority for Governor DeSantis, CFO Patronis and Insurance Commissioner Altmaier. Another major piece of legislation that passed last week was Firefighter cancer benefits. This was originally a bill that looked unlikely to pass, but with some late heroics it was able to cross the finish line this week. The budget has also been getting in position for a floor vote early next week, as well as several insurance and health care packages.
Below is a summary of the legislation of interest that we are tracking in the 2019 session:
2019 NAIFA-Florida-Session Dispatch
By Timothy J. Meenan, NAIFA-Florida Lobbyist
Session Dispatch - Week 8
LIFE AND ANNUITY ONLY
1. PROTECTION FOR VULNERABLE INVESTORS MOVING IN HOUSE AND SENATE HB143/SB1466
HB143 by Representative Donalds advanced through its third and final committee stops in week 5 and then passed off of the House floor this week. The bill would allow a securities dealer to place a 15-day delay on suspicious transactions, clarifies that nothing in the subsection prevents the dealer from terminating a hold after contact with the specified adult and requires a dealer to notify the Office, on a quarterly basis, of every delay and related outcome. In addition, the bill would have allowed a dealer, investment adviser, or an associated person to place a temporary hold on a transaction regarding the account of a specified adult (65 or older, or meets requirements) or an account for which a specified adult is a beneficiary, or beneficial owner if the dealer, investment adviser, or associated person believes in good faith that exploitation of the specified adult has occurred.
SB1466 by Senator Gibson passed its second of three committee stops Senate Banking and Insurance this week but did not make what could be the final Senate Rules agenda. The fate of these bills is uncertain.
2. SECONDARY LIFE NOTICE SB714/HB301
HB301 by Representative Santiago passed its third and final committee this week and passed then passed off the House floor in Week 6. HB301 is an omnibus insurance bill that makes a number of changes regarding various lines of insurance, including
Secondary Notice Prior to Life Insurance Policy Lapse, which requires a life insurer to notify the agent of the lapsing policy or provide a copy of the notice of lapse to the agent servicing the policy, in addition to the insured and their designee 21 days prior to the effective date of lapse. The bill contains an exemption for insurers that have a system for agents to check the secondary addressee.
SB714 passed its first of three committee stops, the Banking and Insurance committee on March 11th. Then last week passed its second committee, Senate Judiciary with a committee substitute that included language from other bills and the bill was rereferred to the Senate Banking and Insurance committee and passed that committee's agenda on April 8th. The bill then had its committee reference for Senate Rules removed and replaced with a final stop in Senate Appropriations before heading to the floor. The Senate bill passed Appropriations this last week and will be up next on the Senate Floor.
HB673 expands the assessment base of the FLAHIGA to include HMOs, life insurers, and annuity insurers in order to fund long-term care insurer impairments and insolvencies. Currently, only health insurers are assessed. Any assessments related to a long-term care insurer would be allocated 50 percent to accident and health insurers and HMOs and the remaining 50 percent to life and annuity member insurers. The bill also caps a FLAHIGA member's or HMO's assessment relating to long-term care insurer impairments and insolvencies at 0.5 percent of the sum of its premiums written in Florida for the preceding calendar year. HB673 by Rep. Fischer was referred to the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee; Government Operations and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee; and Commerce Committees. The Insurance and Banking Subcommittee heard HB673 on March 7 and incorporated five technical
. A sixth
to exempt small, domestic HMOs was offered and
withdrawn after intense debate. The bill passed the full House on April 23rd.
SB626 by Sen. Brandes
exempts any nonprofit HMO from the long-term care insurance assessment if it operates only in Florida and has statutory capital and surplus of less than $200 million as of December 31 of the year preceding the year in which the assessment is made. Both bills now contain this exemption. The bill will be heard next on the Senate Floor.
2. GENETIC TESTING/LONG-TERM CARE AND DISABILITY
removes the exemption for life, disability and long-term care carriers from the prohibition on use of genetic information in the issuance of insurance policies. Provides that life insurers & long-term care insurers may not require or solicit genetic information, use genetic test results in the absence of a diagnosis of a condition related to genetic information, or consider a person's decisions or actions relating to genetic information, or consider a person' decisions or actions relating to genetic testing in any manner for any insurance purpose. SB258 by Senator Bean was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Health Policy; and Rules Committees and passed the Banking and Insurance on March 11. The bill passed its second of three committee stops this week with an amendment to regulate makers of DNA test kits and allows underwriting based on results of a genetic test when it is part of the medical file reviewed and approved by a physician. In an unexpected turn, the Senate Rules Chair decided to take up HB879 in her committee on April 23rd instead of SB258. This move takes control of the bill away from the Senate sponsor. The bill passed out of Senate Rules and is not on the Calendar in the Senate to be heard next on the floor.
HB879 by Rep. Williamson passed its third and final committee stop this week the Health & Human Services Committee and passed of the House floor this week. This bill was then received by the Senate and referred to the Senate Rules committee. The House bill like the Senate version prohibits issuers of life and long-term care insurance from canceling, limiting, or denying coverage, and from setting different premium rates, based on personal genetic information without a specific diagnosis related to the genetic information. The bill also prohibits life insurers and long-term care insurers from requiring or soliciting genetic information, using genetic test results, or considering a person's decisions or actions relating to genetic testing for any insurance purpose.
SB614 provides that the state prospectively opts out of all uniform standards adopted by the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission involving annuity and disability income insurance products; revising the compact standards adopted by this state. SB614 was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Judiciary; and Rules Committees. HB627 was referred to the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee; Civil Justice Subcommittee; and Commerce Committees. Since these bills have not been heard, this issue is likely dead for this session.
1. PBM/PRIOR AUTHORIZATION/STEP THERAPY/DRUG REBATES/FORMULARIES HB271/SB906
HB271 by Rep. Santiago imposes limitations and requirements for pharmacy audits, including advance notice and recoupment of claims, and requires OIR to establish an appeals process to findings in audit reports.
Requires annual reporting by PBMs to OIR of contractual relationships with health plans, as well as administrative fees and rebates received and passed on to plans. Data that would disclose specific plan or drug price data shall be confidential and proprietary. The bill defines pharmacy services administration organizations (PSAOs) and requires them to register with OIR and pay up to $500 registration fee every 2 years. Requires plans and PBMs to establish a secure, interactive online electronic prior authorization (PA) process for accepting electronic PA forms. The process must allow PA documentation to be uploaded if such documentation is required by the insurer or PBM to adjudicate the PA request. Requires insurers to publish online and provide to an insured in writing a procedure for an insured and health care provider to request a step therapy policy exemption. Requires insurers to authorize or deny a policy exemption request or respond to an appeal of the health insurer's authorization or denial of a request within 72-hours for non-urgent care and 24-hours in an urgent care situation. Requires plans and PBMs to publish up-to-date drug formularies online. Also requires "fail first" policy. For rebates, plan issuers are required to strive to make available to subscribers at the point of sale an amount greater than 50 percent of the rebates. Requires an annual report to OIR whether it made more than 50 percent of the rebates available to the subscribers during the prior benefit year. HB 271 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Appropriations Committee; Health and Human Services Committees and still awaits its first committee hearing. SB 906 by Wright was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Judiciary; and Rules Committees is also still waiting to be heard. These bills are unlikely to move.
Step Therapy: SB650 (Mayfield - R
) Requires insurers to publish online and provide to an insured in writing a procedure for an insured and health care provider to request a step therapy policy exemption. Requires insurers to authorize or deny a policy exemption request or respond to an appeal of the health insurer's authorization or denial of a request within 72-hours for non-urgent care and 24-hours in an urgent care situation. Specifies conditions where a health insurer shall grant a protocol exception. Prohibits a health insurer or PBM from implementing any new PA requirements unless;
- The changes have been available on a publicly accessible Internet website for at least 60 days before the implementation of the changes.
Policyholders and health care providers who are affected by new or updated requirements/restrictions are provided with a written notice of the changes at least 60 days before the changes are implemented. Such notice may be delivered electronically or by other means as agreed to by the insured or the health care provider.
PA forms may not require information that is not necessary for medical necessity or coverage determinations regarding the requested medical procedure, course of treatment, or prescription drug. SB650 was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Judiciary; and Rules Committees but has not received a hearing.
(Massullo - R) provides that if prescription drug coverage for the treatment of a medical condition is restricted by an insurer by a step therapy protocol, the insurer shall provide the insured and the prescribing provider access to a clear and convenient process to request a step therapy exception determination which must be made easily accessible on the health insurer's website. The health insurer must provide a prescription drug for treatment of the medical condition at least until the step therapy exception determination is made. Step therapy overrides are to be granted expeditiously if:
- The drug is contraindicated or will likely cause an adverse reaction or physical or mental harm to the insured;
- The drug is expected to be ineffective, based on the insured's medical history and the clinical evidence of the known characteristics of the prescription drug regimen;
- The insured has tried the required prescription drug under his or her current health insurance plan or another prescription drug that is in the same pharmacologic class or has the same mechanism of action, and such prescription drug lacked efficacy or effectiveness or adversely affected the insured; or
- The insured is stable on a prescription drug selected by his or her health care provider for the medical condition under consideration.
HB559 passed its first of three committees in week 3, the Health Market Reform Subcommittee. An amendment adopted on the bill on March 19 limited the scope to e-prior authorization and continuity of care for RX drugs. The bills two remaining committee stops are the House Appropriations Committee and Health and Human Services Committees. The bill has not moved since it was amended. See also SB7078, an omnibus health care package that contains a similar continuity of care amendment.
SB1180 as originally filed would have limited removing drugs from formularies to the time of coverage renewal, unless removed for clinical safety, discontinuance of manufacture, or reclassification to a more restrictive drug tier. This does not apply to grandfathered plans or Medicaid managed care plans. SB1180 by Mayfield passed its first committee this week the Senate Banking and Insurance committee and then passed in Senate Health Policy on April 8th. The bill passed its final remaining stop the Rules Committee on April 23rd. The bill then passed off of the Senate floor with a few amendments on April 26th, and now only requires a report on formulary changes to the OIR as well as advanced notice of formulary changes to insureds.
HB1363 by Williamson was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Insurance and Banking Subcommittee; and Health and Human Services Committees. The bill passed its first committee stop in week 4. An amendment was adopted to narrow the scope of the bill but it needs further refinement at its first committee stop. It was temporarily postponed in its second committee stop the House Commerce committee and has not moved further.
SB1526 by Harrell prohibits insurers and HMOs from denying coverage for a covered service on the basis of the service being provided through telehealth if the same service would be covered if provided through an in-person encounter. Carriers not required to reimburse a telehealth provider for originating site fees or costs for the provision of telehealth services. The coverage may not be subject to greater cost-sharing than in-person services. Coverage may be limited to in-network providers. SB1526 passed its first of three committees in week 4. The bill passed all of its committees and was taken upon the Senate floor on April 26th. See also SB7078.
TELEHEALTH LIKELY TO BOUNCE BACK THE HOUSE AS SENATE VERSION HB23
by Yarborough establishes standards of practice for telehealth providers. Beginning in 2020, any insurer or HMO that covers services provided by telehealth shall be allowed a premium tax credit equal to 0.001 percent of total insurance premiums received on accident and health insurance policies or plans delivered or issued in this state in the previous calendar year that provide medical, major medical, or similar comprehensive coverage. It allows Telehealth across state lines if providers complete a Florida registration process. This version of the bill does not contain payment parity. HB23 was referred to Health Quality Subcommittee; Ways and Means Committee; Health and Human Services Committee. The bill passed its third and final committee in week 4 and then passed the full house this week. The Senate took up HB 23 this week and replaced it with the language from SB 1526. This bill will be on third reading on April 29th, where the revised language will head back to the House for concurrence.
The chambers are trying to shape a late session deal on Telehealth, but with different approaches, this issue is still up in the air.
4. AHPS/SHORT TERM HB997/SB1422
by Gregory amends the Florida Nonprofit Multiple-Employer Welfare Act to allow employers of disparate trades or industries to establish association health plans and provides that an association may be established for the purpose of providing health benefits, so long as it serves at least one other professional purpose. The bill allows short-term health insurance to be provided by an issuer for a period of up to 12 months, with the opportunity for renewal up to a total coverage period of 36 months. It also specifies that short-term health insurance is not subject to the state prohibition on preexisting condition provisions in individual health insurance contracts. HB997 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Insurance and Banking Subcommittee; and Health and Human Services Committees. The bill passed its first subcommittee with amendments back on March 7. One
was adopted to require insurers and HMOs to include at least one service or coverage under each of the 10 essential health benefits categories required under the ACA, similar to SB 418 text. Another
retains current statutes regarding trade, industry, and professional associations. The bill passed its final committee the House Health & Human services on April 9 and will be up next on the House floor.
SB1422 by Gruters was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Commerce and Tourism; and Rules Committees. The Senate bill has passed two of its three committee stops and then passed Senate Rules on April 23rd. The bill was on the Senate Calendar for April 26th and was temporarily postponed. But see SB322, where several health insurance bills were combined.
5. ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS SB418/HB997
by Simpson requires insurers and HMOs to include at least one service or coverage under each of the 10 essential health benefits categories required under the ACA. SB 418 was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Health Policy; and Rules Committees. The bill passed its third and final stop this week and was temporarily postponed on the Senate floor on April 26th. An amendment was adopted to require a study of the issue instead of the original language. The House Bill language was amended onto HB997 by Gregory and SB322 by Simpson.
PRE-EXINSTING CONDITION EXCLUSIONS SB 322/HB 997
SB322 by Simpson allows each insurer or HMO issuing major medical policies or contracts in Florida to offer at least one comprehensive major medical policy or contract that does not exclude, limit, deny, or delay coverage due to one or more preexisting medical conditions. This does not apply to an insurer issuing only limited benefit, disability income, specified disease, Medicare supplement, or hospital indemnity policies in this state. SB322 passed out of the Banking and Insurance on February 19 and the Health Policy Committee on March 4 with
. The bill passed the Rules Committee in week 2 and passed of the Senate floor on April 25th. Amendments adoped along the way combine SB1422 and SB418. HB997 is the companion measure.
7. SINGLE PAYER HB 697/SB1486
HB697 by Mercado creates Healthy Florida Program for comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage. The program will be based on individual's ability to pay and funded by broad-based revenue. The state would need to obtain waivers and other approvals relating to Medicaid, Florida's Children's Health Insurance Program, Medicare, the ACA, and any other federal programs so that any federal funds and subsidies would be paid by the federal government and deposited into the Healthy Florida Trust Fund. Provides job transition funding for individuals employed or previously employed in the fields of health insurance, health care service plans, and other third-party payments for health care. HB697 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Appropriations Committee; and Health and Human Services Committees. SB1486 by Torres was referred to the Health Policy; Banking and Insurance; and Appropriations Committees. These bills have never been heard and are unlikely to pass.
8. DIRECT HEALTH CARE PASSES HOUSE FLOOR HB7/SB1520
HB7 by Duggan amends direct primary care agreements and primary care providers/services references in statute to instead refer to "direct health care agreements." The bill was amended in its first committee the Health Market Reform Subcommittee on March 7 to include dental providers. This week the bill passed off the House floor and now awaits its Senate companion. Meanwhile, SB1520 by Bean was referred to the Banking and Insurance, Health Policy, and Rules Committees. The bill passed the Senate Banking and Insurance committee in week 3 and then Senate Health Policy on April 1st. The bills passed its last stop the Rules committee on April 17th and is heading to the Senate floor. This language is also part of an Omnibus Health Bill, SB7078 by Harrell, which was substituted on the Senate floor on April 26th for HB843.
9. PRICE TRANSPARENCY HB935/SB1560
by Rodriguez prohibits a contract between a health insurer and a health care provider from limiting a provider's ability to disclose whether a patient's cost-sharing obligation under his or her health insurance exceeds the retail price for a covered service. In addition, contracts between insurers and providers must not prevent providers from communicating the availability of more affordable services to insured patients. The bill also requires that a contract between a health insurer and a health care provider prohibit the insurer from requiring an insured patient to make a payment for a health care service that exceeds the retail price of that service in the absence of health insurance.
HB935 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Insurance and Banking Subcommittee; and Health and Human Services Committees. The bill passed its third and final committee this week and then passed the full House on April 17th. SB1560 by Flores was referred to the Banking and Insurance, Health Policy, and Rules Committees and was temporarily postponed in the Banking and Insurance committee on April 1st. This proposal has been identified as one of House Speaker Oliva's priorities. See also SB7078. Language requiring the state Group Plan to adopt formulary management techniques was added in the last committee.
10. RIGHT TO SHOP PASSES THE FULL HOUSE HB 1113/SB524
HB1113 by Renner authorizes health insurers to provide optional shared savings incentive programs in which insureds receive cash payment as incentive to save on certain nonemergency health care services. HB1113 passed the full House last week. SB524 by Diaz passed its second of three committees in week 4 the Senate Governmental Oversight and then passed Senate Appropriations on April 18th this bill will be up next on the Senate floor on April 30th. A similar bill with a mandatory program was defeated last year.
11. DRUG IMPORTATION PASSES HOUSE FLOOR HB19/SB1452/SB1528
HB19 by Leek establishes an International/Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program under the AHCA contingent on federal approval and guidance. Provides annual reporting requirements, application and permitting requirements for participating entities. HB19 passed its third and final committee in week 4 and then passed the full house this week. SB1452 by Gruters and 1528 by Bean were referred to the Health Policy; Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; and Appropriations Committees. SB1528 passed its first of three committee stops last week the Senate Health Policy and then the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services on April 9th. The bill passed its last remaining stop Appropriations on April 18th. The bill was replaced with HB 19 and will be up for a full vote in the Senate on April 29th. Governor DeSantis and Speaker Oliva
this initiative as a priority at a February 20 press conference.
12. E-PRESCRIBING PASSES FULL HOUSE HB 831/SB1192
Beginning January 1, 2020, HB831 by Mariano requires prescribers to generate and transmit all prescriptions electronically. Electronic prescribing software may display information regarding a payor's formulary if nothing is designed to preclude or make more difficult the selection of any particular pharmacy by a patient or the selection of any certain medicinal drug by a prescribing practitioner. HB831 was referred to the Health Quality Subcommittee; Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee; Health and Human Services Committees. The bill passed its third and final committee stop last week and then off of the full house floor this week. SB1192 by Bean was referred to the Referred to Health Policy; Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; and Appropriations Committees. The Senate bill passed its first of three committees, the Health Policy Committee on April 8th. The bill passed the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on HHS on April 16th and then the full appropriations committee on April 18th. The bill is placed on the Special Order Calendar for April 30th.
SB398 by Farmer prohibits health insurance policies from requiring that treatment with an opioid analgesic drug product be attempted and have failed before authorizing the use of a nonopioid-based analgesic drug product. SB398 was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Health Policy; and Rules Committees and has not been heard. With no House companion, the bill is likely dead.
14. BENEFIT MANDATES:
- Alternative Pain Treatment HB 1073 (Plascencia/SB 1360)
HB1073 by Plascencia requires insurers to cover at least 20 visits per referral or prescription for nonpharmaceutical intervention therapy, including acupuncture by a licensed acupuncturist, osteopathic services by a licensed osteopathic physician, chiropractic services by a licensed chiropractor, occupational therapy by a licensed occupational therapist, or massage therapy by a licensed massage therapist, if referred or prescribed by a health care practitioner to treat conditions that cause chronic nonmalignant pain. Requires health care practitioners to refer or prescribe certain nonpharmaceutical intervention therapies prior to prescribing an opioid as treatment for any condition that causes chronic nonmalignant pain. HB 1073 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Appropriations Committee; Health and Human Services Committees. SB1360 by Gruters was referred to the Health Policy; Banking and Insurance; Rules Committees.
- Enteral Formula HB 539/SB 358
HB539 by Zika revises criteria for required coverage of enteral formulas under certain health insurance policies. Requires state group insurance program to provide such coverage. HB539 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Appropriations Committee; and Health and Human Services Committees. An amendment was adopted to limit the bill to the commercial market. The bill passed its first of three committees last week and will be up next in House Appropriations. Meanwhile, SB358 by Stargel passed the Senate Banking and Insurance committee in week 2 and then passed Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability on Tuesday April 2nd. The bill has one additional stop the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- Pediatric Hearing Aids HB 531/SB 572
HB531 by Brannan requires coverage for children from birth through 21 years of age for hearing aids prescribed, fitted, and dispensed by a licensed audiologist. Minimum coverage is to be $3,500 per ear within a 24-month period. HB531 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Appropriations Committee; and Health and Human Services Committees but has not been heard. SB572 by Baxley passed the Senate Banking and Insurance back in week 2 and then passed Senate Health Policy on April 1st. The bill's final stop will be the Senate Appropriations Committees.
- MHP HB 307/SB 360
HB307 by Silvers
removes the optional coverage for mental and nervous disorders and requires carriers to comply with federal mental health parity laws. Requires managed care plans to submit annual report to AHCA relating to parity in mental health and substance use disorder benefits. HB307 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Appropriations Committee; and Health and Human Services Committees. SB360 by Rouson was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; and Appropriations Committees.
- MHP HB695/SB 700
HB695 by Mercado removes the optional coverage for mental and nervous disorders, making the coverage mandatory. Outpatient benefits may be limited to 30 hours of consultations, as opposed to the previous $1,000. SB700 by Stewart was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Health Policy; and Rules Committees. The mental health parity bills have not been heard so are likely dead.
All of these benefit mandates are unlikely to pass.
HB1253 by Mariano expands the Attorney General's authority to request information for not only Medicaid fraud cases from the Department of Health prescription drug monitoring program, but information on all cases involving prescribed controlled substances. HB1253 was referred to the Health Quality Subcommittee; Judiciary Committee; and Health and Human Services Committees. The bill has passed its third and final committee this week and is on the Special Order Calendar to be heard on the House floor on April 23rd. Meanwhile, SB1700 by Lee was referred to the Health Policy; Judiciary; and Rules Committees. The bill passed its first of three committees Senate Health Policy on Monday April 1st and then passed in Senate Judiciary on April 8th. The Senate did not make the Senate Rules agenda for April 23rd. The fate of these bills is uncertain.
HB133 by Watson directs DOH to establish Emergency Medical Air Transportation Act Account within Emergency Medical Services Trust Fund. Provides conditions for department to increase Florida Medicaid reimbursement payments to emergency medical air transportation services providers, along with federal matching funds, to not more than the customary fees charged by the providers for their services. HB133 was referred to the Health Quality Subcommittee; Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee; Health and Human Services Committees. SB98 Stewart was referred to the Health Policy; Infrastructure and Security; Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; and Appropriations Committees. These bills have not been heard so are likely dead.
HB961 by Fine creates the Health Innovation Commission within AHCA for the purpose of facilitating the implementation of innovative ideas to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve patient outcomes in the healthcare delivery system. HB961 passed its third committee stop last week and is on the Special Order Calendar to be heard on the House floor on April 17th. SB1348 by Gruters was referred to the Innovation, Industry, and Technology; Health Policy; and Appropriations Committees and has not been heard. These bills are likely dead.
18. AIR AMBULANCE IN MEDICAID HB999/SB1514
HB999 by Representative Toledo revises statutes to require that all patients are provided cost of care information prior to electing treatment provided by hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, urgent care centers, and physicians providing services in those facilities. The bill requires that the estimate of charges provided by a facility be binding and that the amount ultimately charged by the facility may not exceed the estimate by more than 10%, unless unforeseen circumstances dictate that the charges by higher. Additionally, the bill requires that all hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and mobile surgical centers, to establish an appeal process for patients to dispute any charges that appear on an itemized statement. The bill prohibits facilities from engaging in any extraordinary collection actions against a patient prior to determining whether a patient is eligible for financial assistance or during an ongoing appeals process. The bill passed its third and final committee this week and passed off of the House floor on April 17th.
Meanwhile, SB1514 by Senator Albritton has yet to be heard in its first or three committee stops, Senate Health Policy. These bills are likely dead.
1. AOB REFORM HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR SB122/HB7065
HB7065 passed the Senate last week and is headed to the Governor for his signature. The bill removes the "one way" attorney fee for assignees of property insurance and does not change the law relating to first party insurance claims.
The bill establishes requirements for the assignment of post-loss residential and commercial property insurance benefits.
The bill defines an assignment agreement as a written instrument which assigns post-loss benefits under a residential or commercial property. To be valid and enforceable, an assignment agreement must:
Be in writing and signed by a named insured and the assignee;
Allow the insured to rescind the agreement without penalty with 14 business days of execution for a property insurance policy;
Require the assignee to provide the insurer with a copy of the assignment agreement within 3 business days after execution or work has begun for a property insurance policy;
Include a written, itemized, per-unit cost estimate of services, and if the estimate includes water restoration services, provide proof that the assignee is certified by an entity that requires services to be performed according to a nationally-recognized standard;
Relate only to the work to be performed by the assignee;
Contain notice to the insured of the right to rescind the agreement and that by executing the agreement the insured is giving up certain rights that could result in litigation by the assignee against the insurer;
Contain a provision requiring the assignee to indemnify and hold harmless the assignor from all liabilities, damages, losses, and costs should the policy subject to the assignment agreement prohibit such assignment, in whole or in part.
The bill also shifts the burden to the assignee to prove why such a failure did not limit the insurer's ability to perform under the contract. The duties are to:
- Maintain and provide requested service records for copying;
- Cooperate in the investigation of a claim; and
- Deliver the assignment agreement to the insurer as required.
The bill also transfers duties to the assignee which must be performed before filing a suit against the insurer. If required by the insurer, the assignee must participate in:
- Examinations under oath and recorded statements based on the scope of work and complexity of the claim; and
- Appraisal or other alternative dispute resolution process under the terms of the policy.
The House bill also requires an assignee to give the insurer and the insured prior written notice of at least 10 business days before filing suit on a claim.
- If litigation results in a judgment the award of attorney fees is based on the difference between the amount recovered and the amount offered during settlement negotiations. This is determined through the difference in the insurers' pre-suit offer and the assignee's pre-suit demand as "the disputed amount".
2. SINKHOLE AND CATASTROPHIC GROUND COVER COLLAPSE TP'D IN FIRST COMMITTEE HB541/SB566
HB541 by Representative Zika 1668 was TP'd at the sponsor's request, saying he needs more data, in its first of three committees the House Insurance & Banking committee. The bill amends current law to revise the definition of catastrophic ground cover collapse by extending coverage "imminent" collapses. The bill also provides circumstances under which damage to a building constitutes a specified loss. This effect of this bill would apply to all new or renewed property insurance policies issued on or after July 1, 2020.
SB566 by Senator Hooper also has yet to be heard in its first of three committees of reference, the Senate Banking & Insurance committee. These bills are likely dead.
3. HOMEOWNERS' FLOOD NOTICE CLEARS FINAL HOUSE COMMITTEE SB380/HB617
SB380 By Senator Brandes passed its second of three committees in week 3 and passed in its final committee Senate Rules on April 17th. The bill requires a disclosure to policyholders when an insurer issues a homeowners' policy that excludes coverage for the peril of flood, informing them of the benefits of flood insurance.
FLOOD INSURANCE: YOU MAY ALSO NEED TO CONSIDER THE PURCHASE OF FLOOD INSURANCE. YOUR HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE POLICY DOES NOT INCLUDE COVERAGE FOR DAMAGE RESULTING FROM FLOOD EVEN IF HURRICANE WINDS AND RAIN CAUSED THE FLOOD TO OCCUR. WITHOUT SEPARATE FLOOD INSURANCE COVERAGE, YOU MAY HAVE UNCOVERED LOSSES CAUSED BY FLOOD. PLEASE DISCUSS THE NEED TO PURCHASE SEPARATE FLOOD INSURANCE COVERAGE WITH YOUR INSURANCE AGENT.
When an insurer issues a homeowners' policy that includes flood coverage, they will no longer be required to provide such disclosure to their policyholders. SB380 is on the Senate Special Order Calendar on April 30th.
HB617 by Representative Newton passed the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee on March 7th and passed the Government Operations Subcommittee on March 26th. The bill passed its final committee stop last week in House Commerce and will be up next on the House Special Order Calendar for April 17th.
4. NONADMITTED INSURANCE MARKETS SB538/HB387
HB387 by Representative Burton passed the full House last week and now awaits the Senate bill. The bill would do the following:
- Remove the $35 cap on the reasonable per-policy fee allowed to the surplus lines agent and requires that the fee be separately itemized to the insured before purchase and enumerated on the policy;
- Eliminates the required affidavit (information reported on the affidavit is otherwise available in electronic filing);
- Extends the exemption from diligent effort requirements for exporting of flood insurance risks for an additional six years until 2025 (gives the Insurance Commissioner the ability to end this exemption at any time upon declaring an adequate admitted market for flood coverage exists in Florida).
Its companion, SB538 by Brandes, unanimously passed its first of three committee stops, Senate Banking and Insurance, in week 2. The bill passed its second committee, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government, on April 9th but is stuck in the Appropriations committee. Similar provisions are also included in the Omnibus bills, HB301/SB714.
5. CITIZENS MONROE COUNTY RATE CAP HB1145/SB1476
HB1145 by Representative Raschein has yet to be heard in its first of three committees the House Insurance & Banking committee and is likely dead for this session. The bill provides that a single policy issued by Citizens in Monroe County shall not exceed a 5 percent rate increase annually. This provision begins on January 1, 2020 and expires January 1, 2024. This bill does not change the existing law that caps Citizens policies at a 10 percent annual increase. Both the existing law and this bill excludes sinkhole coverage for the cap.
SB1476 by Senator Flores passed the full Senate on April 26th.
1. AOB GLASS REFORM - SB754/HB323
HB323 by Representative Stark passed its first of three committees on February 13th and is next up in Civil Justice Subcommittee. This bill prohibits a motor vehicle repair shop from offering a customer an incentive in the form of a rebate, gift, gift card, cash, coupon or other thing of value in exchange for making an insurance claim for motor vehicle glass replacement or repair. The bill also prohibits the solicitation of insurance claims by offering any such incentive for the replacement or repair of motor vehicle glass by an employee of a motor vehicle repair shop.
SB754 by Senator Stewart, passed its second of three committee stops in week 2 but is stuck in Senate Rules. The bills are unlikely to pass.
2. MOTOR VEHICLES INSURANCE SB1232/HB765
HB765 by Representative Santiago passed its first committee House Transportation on March 12, and will be up next in Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee. The bill adds additional requirements for reports by insurers, including requiring insurers to transmit weekly the insurer's records of all active insurance policies to enable the department to identify uninsured vehicles.
The bill creates the insurance online verification system, to be operational by July 1, 2022. The online verification system is intended to help identify uninsured motorists. The bill also creates the Motor Vehicle Insurance Online Verification Task Force to facilitate implementation of the motor vehicle insurance online verification system.
The bill also creates a named driver exclusion allowing motor vehicle policies to exclude an identified individual from certain coverages while the individual is operating a motor vehicle, if that individual is specifically excluded by name on the declarations page, or by endorsement, and if the policyholder consents in writing to the exclusion.
SB1232 by Senator Rader has yet to be heard in its first of three committee stops. This bill is unlikely to pass this session.
3. RED LIGHT CAMERA REPEAL SB622/HB6003
HB6003 by Representative Sabatini has passed its first of three committee stops and will be up next in the House Appropriations Committee. The bill removes the authorization for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, counties, and municipalities to install and maintain red light cameras effective July 1, 2022. The bill removes the authority for a county or municipality to implement red light camera programs by ordinance.
SB622 by Senator Brandes was temporarily postponed in its first committee stop in the Senate Infrastructure and Security committee, and was placed on the agenda for the same committee on April 9th and was again temporarily postponed. The bill still has 3 committee stops ahead of it so is likely dead for this session.
4. DRIVING WHILE DISTRACTED PASSES BOTH CHAMBERS AND BOUNCES BACK TO HOUSE WITH LIMITED HANDS-FREE PROVISIONS SB76/HB107 IN WEEK 8
SB76 by Senator Simpson passed its third of four committee stops in week 4 and then passed Senate Rules this week on April 17th and the bill will be up next on the Senate floor. The Senate bill has been amended several times to make it more consistent with the House version. As the Senate bill stands today it amends the Florida Ban on Texting while Driving Law to authorize the enforcement of the ban as a primary offense. The bill also creates a phased-in enforcement authorizing law enforcement to issue a verbal or written warning through December 31, 2019. The violation of the law would result in a non-criminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation with three points being assessed against his or her license
The bill additional provides that only in the event of a crash involving death or personal injury may specified forms of evidence be used to establish whether a violation of the prohibition has occurred. Also, a person who is issued their first offense may elect to participate in a distracted driving safety program.
HB107 by Representative Toledo passed the House floor on April 23rd. With the amendments that the Senate has made, the House bill is similar to the Senate version. The Senate took up the House bill on April 25th and passed it with an amendment to prohibit the use of a wireless communications device in a handheld manner within school and work zones. The bill also requires a law enforcement officer who detains a driver for a violation of the ban on texting to inform the driver of their right to decline a search of their communications device. Additionally, the bill prohibits the officer from:
- Accessing the wireless communications device without a warrant;
- Confiscating the wireless device while awaiting issuance of a warrant to access the device; or
- Obtaining consent from the driver to search their wireless device through coercion or other improper method.
These bills are in a position to pass as long as the senate steers clear of its "hands-free" approach.
5. OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLES PASSES FULL HOUSE SB310/HB659
SB310 by Senator Perry and HB 659 by Representative Hage redefines the terms "ATV" (all-terrain vehicle) and "ROV" (recreational off-highway vehicle) to increase the width and dry weight allowed for these vehicles. This change will allow manufactures to meet increasing consumer and regulatory demands for safer vehicles.
For the definition of All-terrain vehicles the bill increases the width allowed from 50 to 55 inches and the dry weight from 1,200 to 1,500 pounds.
For the definition of recreational off-highway vehicle the bill increases the width from 65 to 80 inches and the dry weight from 2,000 to 2,500 pounds.
SB310 unanimously passed off the Senate floor last week. The House then took up HB659 on April 17th, substituted SB310, which passed and was sent to the Governor. The Governor now has until May 11, 2019 to sign the bill.
6. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES PASSES FULL HOUSE SB932/HB311
HB311 by Representative Fischer passed its final committee stop the House State Affairs committee and is on the House Special Order Calendar for April 23rd. The bill would make a number of changes including the following changes:
- Remove the requirement for a person to possess a driver license to operate a fully autonomous vehicle;
- Creates an exemption to driver licensing requirements when an autonomous vehicle is operated with the automated driving system engaged without a human operator physically present in the vehicle;
- Replaces the term "autonomous vehicle" with "automated driving system";
- Provides a definition for "On-Demand Autonomous Vehicle Network" as a passenger transportation network that uses a digital means to connect passengers to fully autonomous vehicles for hire.
- Allows an on-demand autonomous vehicle network to operate pursuant to state laws.
- Specifies that certain provisions of law do not apply to fully autonomous vehicles operating with the automated driving system engaged.
SB932 by Senator Brandes passed its third and final committee last week and will be up next on the Senate floor on April 30th.
7. EXPANDED USES OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SB766/HB75
SB766 Senator Gruters passed its second of three committees in week 4 and will be up next in its final stop Senate Rules. The bill amends current law to add exceptions to the current prohibition against certain uses of drones. The bill provides that state law does not prohibit the use of a drone to:
- Assist a law enforcement agency in crowd control or traffic management; and
- Facilitate a law enforcement agency's collection of evidence at a crime scene or traffic crash scene.
The bill also provides that state law does not prohibit the use of drones by a state agency or political subdivision for:
- The assessment of damage due to flood, wildfire, or natural disaster; or
- Land management.
HB75 by Representative Yarborough has been approved in all three of its referenced committee stops and passed off the full house floor on April 17th.
8. DRONES BILL SB132/HB1131
SB132 by Senator Rouson passed its first of three committees back on February 11th and will be up next in Senate Infrastructure and Security. The bill creates an additional exception to the general prohibition against law enforcement agencies using drones to gather evidence or other information. The bill provides for law enforcement agencies to use drones to prepare for or monitor safety and security at a large-scale event, defined as having more than 100 persons in attendance, if the drone use is limited to legitimate public safety purposes including but not limited to:
- Evaluating crowd size, density, or movement;
- Assessing public safety vulnerabilities or weaknesses;
- Determining appropriate staffing levels for law enforcement; or
- Identifying possible criminal activity.
HB1131 by Representative Valdes has yet to be placed on the agenda for its first of three committee stops the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. These bills are unlikely to pass this session.
9. PIP REPEAL SB896/HB733/SB1052
PIP repeal is back again this year with three different sponsors. Three of the bills have yet to be heard in their first committees. Meanwhile, SB1052 by Lee passed its second of three committee stops this week and will be up next in Senate Appropriations.
HB733 by Representative Grall eliminates PIP and replace it with mandatory bodily injury coverage. The new BI limits are $25,000 for death or injury to one person, and $50,000 for the death or injury to two or more people, and $10,000 in physical damage limits.
SB1790 by Perry/HB1317 by Rep. Burton deals with PIP medical billing and fee schedules.
SB896 by Senator Brandes is similar to the HB733, eliminating PIP and replacing it with mandatory bodily injury coverage with new BI limits of $25,000 for death or injury to one person, $50,000 for the death or injury to two or more people, and $10,000 in physical damage limits. The bill also works to fix bad-faith actions against insurers.
SB1052 by Senator Lee repeals PIP also replaces PIP with a mandatory medical payments coverage of $5000. This coverage pays 100 percent of claims up to the limit, covers hospital, transportation, physician, chiropractic and dental services. The bill also set mandatory bodily injury and property limits. Additionally, the bill defines Garage liability insurance as combined single limit liability coverage including property damage and bodily injury liability coverage in the amount of at least $60,000. The bill was amended in the Senate Infrastructure and Security committee adding Named Driver Exclusion provisions which authorize a private passenger motor vehicle policy to exclude an identified individual from certain coverages.
Because the approaches in these bills are far apart, these bills are unlikely to pass.
10. REGISTRATION & TITLING OF VEHICLES AND VESSELS HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR HB87/SB234
HB87 by Representative Burton has passed all three of its committees in the House and passed off the House Floor this week. The bill changes the date in which heavy trucks weighing between 5,001 to 7,999 pounds renew their registration. Currently all renewals for vehicles in this weight category must renew their vehicle registration in December. This change would make it so those renewals would now fall during the birth month of the person the vehicle is registered to. All vehicles that weigh over 8,000 pounds will continue to renew in December.
SB234 By Senator Baxley passed all of its three committees and was substituted for HB87 after that bill passed the full House. The bill passed the full Senate this week and is now awaiting the Governor's approval.
11. TRAFFIC OFFENSES SB158/HB71
HB71 by Representative McClain has yet to be heard in its first of three committee stops. The bill creates the Vulnerable Road User Act which makes a moving violation that causes serious bodily injury against a vulnerable road user a misdemeanor of the second degree. The bill defines a vulnerable road user as the following:
- A pedestrian;
- A person operating a bicycle, motorcycle, scooter or moped;
- A person riding an animal; or
- A person lawfully operating any of the following on a public right-of-way, crosswalk, or shoulder of the roadway:
- A farm tractor.
- A skateboard, roller skates, or in-line skates.
- A horse-drawn carriage.
- An electronic personal assistive mobility device.
- A wheelchair.
SB 158 by Senator Baxley has yet to be heard in its first committee stop Senate Infrastructure and Security. These bills are unlikely to pass.
1. BENEFITS FOR FIREFIGHTERS DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER PASSES AND HEADS TO THE GOVERNOR SB426/HB857
SB426 by Flores passed the full Senate on April 23rd. The bill was then taken up and passed by the House on April 24th and is now headed to the Governor for signature. The bill makes firefighters who are diagnosed with certain cancers eligible to receive certain disability or death benefits. In lieu of pursuing workers' compensation coverage, a firefighter is entitled to cancer treatment, at no cost to the firefighter, and a one-time cash payout of $25,000, upon the firefighter's initial diagnosis of cancer. In order to be entitled to these benefits, a firefighter must:
- Be employed full-time as a firefighter;
- Be employed by the state, university, city, county, port authority, special district, or fire control district;
- Have been employed by his or her employer for at least 5 continuous years;
- Not have used tobacco projects for at least the preceding 5 years; and
- Have not been employed in any other position in the preceding 5 years which is proven to create a higher risk for cancer.
In addition, the employer must provide coverage within an employer-sponsored health plan or through a group health insurance trust fund. The firefighter may not be required to contribute toward any deductible, co-payment or coinsurance amount for the treatment of cancer.
For disability and death benefits, the employer must consider a firefighter permanently and totally disabled if diagnosed with one of the 21 enumerated cancers and unable to render useful and effective service as a firefighter. Moreover, the cancer or the treatment of cancer is deemed to have occurred in the line of duty, resulting in higher disability and death benefits.
The House companion, HB857 by Representative Willhite was stuck in its first of three committee stops, the Oversight, Transparency & Public Management Subcommittee. This issue appeared to be dead for this session, until the House introduced a State Affairs Committee bill, HB7129. This bill is identical to the Senate bill and was given only one committee stop, the State Affairs committee. The bill was replaced with the Senate version and is headed to the Governor.
2. JOINT UNDERWRITING ASSOCIATION SB537/HB264
HB537 by Representative Gregory passed its first of three committees on February 20th and will be up next in House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee. The bill authorizes the Florida Workers' Compensation Joint Underwriting Association, Inc. (FWCJUA) to retain unclaimed dividends or premium refunds rather than report and deliver the funds to DFS as unclaimed property, subject to the following conditions:
- Within 12 months of the failure of a dividend or premium refund to be disbursed to a former insured, FWCJUA must:
- Conduct a diligent search to locate the former insured;
- Notify the agent on the policy; and
For unclaimed dividends or premium refunds of $250 or more, make one active attempt to directly contact the former insured using the information from the diligent search.
- FWCJUA must list all unclaimed dividends and premium discounts on their web page.
- The unclaimed dividends and premium refunds of former FWCJUA insureds may be claimed at any time.
SB264 by Senator Gruters was approved in week 5 in its first of three committee stops the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee and then passed the Senate Finance and Tax committee on April 9th. The Senate bill has only the Appropriations Committee remaining. This issue is unlikely to pass this session.
HB7 by Duggan amends direct primary care agreements and primary care providers/services references in statute to instead refer to "direct health care agreements." HB7 was referred to Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Health and Human Services Committees. The bill was amended in its first committee stop the Health Market Reform Subcommittee on March 7 to include dental providers. HB7 passed the full House in week 4 and waits for the Senate bill, SB1520 by Bean, which will be up next on the Senate floor. This language also appears in SB7078/HB843.
2. DENTAL SERVICES HB465/SB716
HB465 by Grant provides for a repayment program in the Department of Health for dental student loans who practice in public health programs. The bill was referred to the House
Health Quality Subcommittee; Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee; and Health & Human Services Committee
. SB716 by Hooper was referred to the Senate
Health Policy committee, Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, and Appropriations.
Both bills have passed their first committees of reference and are awaiting hearing in the second committee. The Senate bill passed the Appropriations Subcommittee on HHS on April 9th but is stalled in Senate Appropriations.
3. DENTAL THERAPY HB649/SB684
HB649 by Plasencia would expand the scope of practice for dental therapists and permit Medicaid reimbursement. The bill was referred to H
ealth Quality Subcommittee, Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, and Health & Human Services Committee. SB684 by Brandes was referred to Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; and Appropriations. SB684 was placed on the agenda for Monday March 18th, where it was temporarily postponed by the Children & Families Committee, while HB649 is waiting to be heard in its first committee stop. These bills are likely dead.
1. WARRANTY ASSOCIATIONS PASSES FULL HOUSE HB925/SB1690
HB925 by Webb revises the basis for calculating the required assets in a home warranty association's premium reserve account, requiring that such reserve account be a separate auditable account and prohibits home warranties from excluding coverage solely because of the presence of rust or corrosion, except under certain circumstances. The bill also revises the basis for calculating the required assets in a service warranty association's premium reserve account. HB925 cleared its second committee last week the House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee and then passed in House Commerce this week and passed the full House this week. SB1690 By Broxson was referred to the Banking and Insurance Committee, Commerce and Tourism Committee, and the Rules Committee. The Senate bill passed its first committee in week 3 and then Senate Commerce and Tourism on April 8th. The bill passed its remaining stop Senate Rules on April 23rd and heads next to the floor.
1. INSURANCE OMNIBUS (POLICY EXECUTION) PASSES ON HOUSE FLOOR SB714/HB301
HB301 by Representative Santiago and SB714 by Senator Brandes makes a number of changes to Florida Insurance Statutes. The bill passed the House floor last week.
HB301 makes a number of changes regarding insurance including:
- Civil Remedies Against Insurers - provides for the insurer to invoke the appraisal process during the 60-day cure period following receipt of the required pre-suit notice. Additionally, if the insurer timely pays the result of the appraisal process, the insured will have no action for bad faith.
- Surplus Lines Export Eligibility - allows homeowner's property insurance for a residential dwelling with a replacement cost of $700,000 or more to be exported to a surplus lines insurer following a single coverage rejection. This would reduce the number of coverage rejections from three to one aligning the exporting provision with the coverage limitation from Citizens.
- Unfair Insurance Trade Practices - authorizes an insurer to offer and give insureds goods or services for the purposes of loss control or loss mitigation related to covered risks.
- Discounts for Purchase of Multiple Insurance Policies - expands the allowances of multiple policy discounts to include an insured's purchase of policies from insurers operating under a joint marking agreement, situations where the same agent is servicing policies for an insured where one was obtained through the Citizens clearinghouse process, and when the same agent is servicing policies the insured purchased from multiple insurers.
- Secondary Notice Prior to Life Insurance Policy Lapse - requires a life insurer to notify the agent of the lapsing policy or provide a copy of the notice of lapse to the agent servicing the policy, in addition to the insured and their designee 21 days prior to the effective date of lapse.
- Property Insurance Claim Mediation - allows an insurer to issue the required notice of right to mediate at the time the insurer decides that a loss is covered and is issuing payment or as currently provided, at the time a claim is filed.
SB714 is very similar to the House bill, with the exception that it does not include the changes relating to the Surplus Lines Export Eligibility.
SB714 has passed all of its three committees and will be up next on the Senate Floor.
2. HIGH SCHOOL FINANCIAL LITERACY SURFACES AS ELECTIVE IN ANOTHER BILL SB114/HB73/SB770/HB7071
SB114 by Senator Hutson has passed its second and final committee last week and will be up next on the Senate floor. Beginning with the fall 2019 semester, all high school students would have been required to complete a one-half credit stand-alone elective in financial literacy, which equates to one hour a day for one semester. The course will cover instruction in opening and managing a bank account, assessing a depository institutions services, balancing a checkbook, basic principles of money management, credit scores, managing debt including credit card debt, completing a loan application, implications of receiving an inheritance, basic principles of insurance policies, computing federal income taxes, local tax assessments, computing interest rates, simple contracts, contesting incorrect billing statements, types of savings and investments, state and federal laws concerning finance.
HB73 by Representative Fetterhoff passed its first of three committees last week and will be up next in House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee.
SB770 Workforce Education by Senator Hutson promotes career eduation and readiness opportunities for students in public school. On April 17th this bill was amended to included language stating that beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, all school districts must offer a financial literacy course consisting of at least one-half credit as an elective. This language is in the spirit of what HB73 and SB 114 were working towards, however in this bill it is optional for a student and not a required course. This bill has passed all three committees of reference and is headed to the Senate floor. It's House companion, HB 7071, has also passed all of its committees and passed off the House floor last week.
3. DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICE SB1704/HB1393
HB1393 by Representative Clemons and SB 1704 by Wright are CFO Patronis's agency bills that makes several changes to varies statutes relating to:
- the Division of Treasury;
- licensing for funeral directors;
- internship requirements for funeral directors;
- disposition of proceeds by trust companies;
- uniform reporting standards by local authorities having jurisdiction relating to the fire prevention code;
- temporary licensure of insurance agents;
- insurance adjuster examination requirements;
- ending new licensure for covering only industrial fire insurance or burglary insurance;
- grounds for discretionary action regarding insurance agency licenses;
- reducing a time requirement for issuance of a nonresident public adjuster's qualification bond; and
- unclaimed property.
HB1393 by Rep Clemons passed its second of three committees last week the House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee and passed the House Commerce last week. This bill passed of the House floor last week with a few amendments that included changes to luxury ground transportation, flood insurance and fire alarm permit applications. The Senate bill SB1704 passed all of its three committee stops in the Senate. The full Senate took up and temporarily postponed the bill on April 26th. There are amendments filed by the Senate sponsor to remove the provisions added on the House floor. The bill was retained on the Senate Special Order Calendar.
4. TRADE SECRET PASSES FULL HOUSE SB1414/HB761
HB761 by Rep Massullo passed its third and final committee this week and then passed off the Floor on April 17th. The bill repeals most public record exemptions for trade secrets in current law, all associated processes for designating trade secret, and most references to trade secrets contained in definitions for proprietary business information, including definitions in the insurance code.
The bill specifies that any contract or agreement to which an agency or an entity subject to public record laws is a party, is a public record, except that confidential or exempt information contained therein may be redacted prior to release of the contract, if the specific statutory exemption is identified. The following information related to any contract or agreement is not confidential or exempt;
- the parties to the contract or agreement;
- the amount of money paid, any payment structure or plan, expenditures, incentives, bonuses, fees, or penalties;
- the nature or type of the commodities or services purchase; and
- the applicable contract unit prices and deliverables.
SB1414 by Senator Gruters passed its first of three committee stops the Commerce and Tourism committee in week 4 but stalled in Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability. These bills are unlikely to pass.
5. HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES HB1055
HB1053 by Brannan passed its final stop in the House State Affairs committee last week. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles agency bill makes several changes to statues governing the agency including the following:
- Strengthening the penalties for providing fraudulent information on an application for a driver license;
- Incorporating violations for texting or using a handheld phone device while operating a commercial motor vehicle as a serious disqualifying offense;
- Establishing a definition for the term crash and substituting the term accident throughout statutes; and
- Repealing the requirement to show a driver license to obtain crash reports; allows crash reports to be obtained in bulk.
HB1055 is a linked Public Records exemption bill. There is no similar Senate bill. These bills seem unlikely to pass.
6. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY SB1024/HB735
SB1024 by Senator Gruters establishes the Florida Blockchain Task Force comprised of government and private sector representatives to study the ways in which the state, county, and municipal governments can benefit from transitioning to a blockchain-based system for recordkeeping, security and service delivery. The task force will be housed in DFS and will explore and develop a master plan for fostering the expansion of the blockchain industry in Florida. This plan will be submitted to the Governor and Legislature for implementation of blockchain-based systems that promote government efficiencies, better services for citizens, economic development, and safer cyber-secure interaction between government and the public. The bill passed the full Senate on April 26th.
HB735 by Representative Santiago also passed its third and final committee this week the House State Affairs Committee and will be up next on the house floor on April 29th.