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  • Ali Schmitz, Treasure Coast Newspapers

Treasure Coast delegation files several bills for annual Florida legislative session

Florida's annual legislative session starts Tuesday, and Treasure Coast legislators are focusing heavily on health care policies, education and the environment. TCPalm reviewed all the bills filed by the Treasure Coast's six-member delegation — Sens. Debbie Mayfield and Gayle Harrell, and Reps. Erin Grall, Delores Hogan Johnson, MaryLynn Magar and Toby Overdorf — and their plans for this session. With two new representatives, Hogan Johnson and Overdorf, and one new senator, Harrell, legislators will be focusing on different priorities than previous years. Here's what the Treasure Coast delegation is focusing on during the annual 60-day session:

Gayle Harrell Harrell, who is in her first year in the Senate, is focusing heavily on health care policy this year. The Stuart Republican is chair of the Senate's Health Policy committee, and will have great control over health care bills that come through the Senate. She is also vice-chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services and a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice; the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs committee; Military and Veterans Affairs and Space committee; and the Joint Committee on Public Counsel Oversight. Some of the bills she has filed include:

  • SB 188: Would revise licensure application requirements for osteopathic physicians and athletic trainers, among other guidelines.

  • SB 368: Would provide $50 million in state funding for Indian River Lagoon restoration projects.

  • SB 370: Would require a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days for anyone solicits prostitution from a victim of human trafficking.

  • SB 374: Would expand the membership of the Children and Youth Cabinet to include a representative from the Florida Dental Association.

  • SB 434: Would allow patients at ambulatory surgical centers to stay overnight.

  • SB 448: Would authorize "advanced birth centers," which provide out-of-hospital deliveries, to offer certain women access to Caesarean deliveries and epidurals, and to keep women for up to three days.

  • SB 748: Would remove limitations on the use of state funds for the administration of the Florida Veterans' Hall of Fame.

  • SB 760: Would allow students in public schools and private colleges to be excused from jury service upon request.

  • SB 980: Would provide an exemption from public records requirements for all information contained in a petition for certain protective injunctions.

  • SB 1102: Would require a jail’s staff to screen each defendant booked into a jail on misdemeanor charges to determine if they have a mental health disorder

  • SB 1124: Would authorize individuals licensed to prescribe medicinal drugs to dispense a 48-hour supply, rather than a 24-hour supply, of such drugs to any patient, including a discharged patient, under certain circumstances,

  • SB 1126: Would authorize the reimbursement of per diem and travel expenses to members of the pediatric cardiac technical advisory panel and provide immunity from civil and criminal liabilities to members of the panel.

  • SB 1136: Would redefine the terms “personal identifying information” and “sexually cyberharass” under the state's cyberharassment law.

  • SB 1222: Would require the Department of Children and Families to establish a Florida Veterans’ Care Coordination Program to provide veterans and their families with behavioral health care referral and care coordination services.

  • SB 1526: Would prohibit Medicaid managed care plans from using providers who exclusively provide services through telehealth and prohibit a telehealth provider from using telehealth to prescribe a controlled substance.

  • SB 1592: Would clarify that certain provisions of law do not apply to assisted living facilities, and would prohibit the Agency for Health Care Administration from citing facilities or imposing fines on such facilities under those provisions.

Debbie Mayfield

Mayfield, R-Melbourne, will have great control over funding for environmental projects as the chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government. She is also vice chair of the Children, Families and Elder Affairs committee, and a member of the Appropriations, Environment and Natural Resources and Health Policy committees. Some of the bills she has filed include:

  • SB 70: Would prohibit lawmakers from using money from the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund for other projects.

  • SB 446: Would overhaul how state funding for beach preservation projects is decided.

  • SB 648: Would licensed dentists to complete a minimum of 2 hours of continuing education on the prescribing of controlled substances every two years

  • SB 650: Would allow doctors to prescribe more expensive medications to patients before health insurers can attempt to require them to prescribe generic or cheaper versions instead.

  • SB 798: Would allow community and state colleges in the Florida College System to compete against four-year colleges in athletics.

  • SB 1046: Would include e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine products under the state's tobacco products laws. The bill would prohibit retail tobacco product dealers from dealing any flavored tobacco products unless they ban people under a specified age in the store, and would not allow anyone under the legal smoking age to be in a vape shop.

  • SB 1196: Requires vacation rental licenses to be displayed conspicuously.

  • SB 1238: Would allow religious institutions to allow concealed weapons or concealed firearms licensee to carry firearm on property of institution for certain purposes.

  • SB 1278: Would require the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt rules for biosolids management to limit nutrient pollution.

  • SB 1454: Would require a school principal to notify each parent of a student enrolled in a course that will include sex education instructional materials of the content and the nature of such materials at least 10 instructional days before such materials are to be used.

  • SB 1758: Would transfer the Department of Health's onsite sewage program to the Department of Environmental Protection and establish a wastewater grant program within DEP, revise basin management action plan, among other guidelines.

Erin Grall Grall, a Vero Beach Republican is in her second term in the House, will serve on the Energy & Utilities Subcommittee, Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, Oversight, Transparency & Public Management Subcommittee and State Affairs Committee. Some of the bills she has filed include:

  • HB 403: Would allow religious institutions to allow concealed weapons or concealed firearms licensee to carry firearm on property of institution for certain purposes.

  • HB 405: Would restrict the use of partially treated sewage sludge in the upper St. Johns River watershed

  • HB 527: Would prohibit local municipalities to create "sanctuary" city policies, and require state and local law enforcement to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests.

  • HB 733: Would repeal Florida's no-fault auto insurance system.

  • HB 1171: Creates a parent's "bill of rights" that would make sure school districts provide information to parents.

  • HB 1193: Revises provisions of the state's voluntary Pre-K program, including greater state oversight of the programs.

Delores Hogan Johnson Hogan Johnson, a Fort Pierce Democrat, is serving her first term in the state House. She is the highest ranking Democrat on the Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee, and serves as a member of the Education Committee, Energy & Utilities Subcommittee, and the PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee. Some of the bills she has filed include:

  • HB 117/HB 119: Creates a scholarship program under the Department of Education for students at historically black colleges and universities. The colleges would match all state funds.

  • HB 199: Creates a Florida Highwaymen license plate. The majority of money from the plate's sales would go toward constructing and operating a future Highwaymen Museum and African-American Cultural Center, while at least 15 percent would go toward the St. Lucie Education Foundation to fund art programs in public schools.

  • HB 841: Creates a program under the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to care for retired law enforcement dogs. The state would partner with a private non-profit to operate the program

MaryLynn Magar Magar's, R-Tequesta, main role this session is serving as Speaker Pro Tempore. Magar will preside over the House when House Speaker Jose Oliva is not in the House chamber, or if he steps down from his position. She also has filed HB 1175, which revises the boundaries for the Village of Indiantown.

Toby Overdorf Overdorf, a Palm City Republican who is in his first term in the House, will serve on the Commerce Committee; the Higher Education & Career Readiness Subcommittee; the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee; the Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee; and the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee. Some of the bills he's filed include:

  • HB 219: Requires a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days for anyone solicits prostitution from a victim of human trafficking.

  • HB 221: Creates uniform "vote target" design for all Florida ballots. Vote targets are where voters mark their choices on a ballot, like bubbles or check marks.

  • HB 771: Requires any contracts between local governments and outside vendors for residential recycling must include terms and conditions to define and reduce levels of "contamination" of materials they cannot recycle.

  • HB 1061: Revises how much money local school districts receive from the state based on students who receive Advanced Placement capstone diplomas. The funding goes toward bonuses for teachers who teach the AP classes.

  • HB 1249: Expands public records exemptions for names of foster parents and their immediate family members.


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