2019 Legislative Accomplishments
1. Prime Sponsor of HB 487: Carrying of Firearms by Tactical Medical Personnel. Signed into law by Governor DeSantis. Authorizes properly designated and trained medical personnel assigned to law enforcement SWAT teams to carry a weapon for self-defense.
2. Prime Sponsor of HB 7013: Interstate Compact on Education Opportunity for Military Children. Signed into law by Governor DeSantis. Extends the authorization of the Compact until 2022. Provides $42,813 of annual funding. The Compact resolves issues such as school placement, enrollment, records transfer and graduation eligibility for the children of active-duty military personnel stationed in Florida.
3. Prime Sponsor of HB 3101: Sanford Nutrient Reduction at Lake Jessup & Lake Monroe. Funds $750,000 of fixed capital outlay for sewer plant and related infrastructure repairs for the City of Sanford. Improves sewer lines to reduce the infiltration and inflow of storm-water and reduces the impact on the wastewater treatment plant.
4. Prime Sponsor of HB 3653: City of Oviedo Regional Storm-Water Pond. Funds $500,000 to expand the regional storm-water pond and recreational park at the trailhead in the historic downtown district. Provides flood attenuation, surface water quality improvement and partial restoration of Sweetwater Creek.
5. Prime Sponsor of HB 3271: Network of Care for Veterans and Military Service Members. Funds $270,000 to the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to create a single website portal to research and locate Veteran benefits related to Healthcare, Education and Employment opportunities. This web portal will be a “one-stop shopping” location of benefits authorized for Veterans, Service Members and their Families.
6. Prime Sponsor of HB 2193: Seminole County Public Schools Construction Workforce Talent. Funds an additional $100,000 to the Department of Education to expand and improve the vocational training programs offered at Seminole County’s Lyman High School. The current program offers HVAC, Electrical, Welding and General Trade Skills.
7. HB 107: Wireless Communications While Driving: Bans texting while driving. The law changes current enforcement by making texting while driving a primary offence. This will allow a law enforcement officer to stop a vehicle solely for texting while driving.
8. SB 168: Federal Immigration Enforcement. Prohibits sanctuary policies, requiring state entities, local governments and law enforcement agencies to use best efforts to support the enforcement of Federal immigration laws.
9. SB 7066: Election Administration Reform. Requires the Secretary of State to implement recommendations made by the Association of Florida’s Supervisors of Election. These changes improve security and ensure each vote cast by mail, during the early voting period or on election day is accurately counted. The cumulative effect of these changes strengthen the overall integrity of Florida’s elections process.
10. HB 7030: Implementation of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission Recommendations. Authorizes the expansion of the “Guardian Program” to train and allow public school employees to carry a firearm on school property. Requires the Florida Safe Schools Assessment Tool (FSSAT) to be the primary site security assessment tool for all school districts.
11. SB 7070: Expansion of K-12 School Choice and Teacher Bonuses. Establishes the Family Empowerment Scholarship, revising the eligibility requirements under the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, which allows parents to seek private education options for their children. Creates the Best and Brightest Teacher and Principal Allocation for annual bonuses.
12. SB 1552: Red Tide Mitigation. Establishes the Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative as a partnership between the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Wildlife Research Institute and Mote Marine Laboratory. The purpose of the initiative is to develop technologies and approaches needed to address the control and mitigation of red tide and its impacts. Funded by an annual appropriation of $3,000,000 through 2025.
13. HB 7125 Judicial Reforms: The new law makes comprehensive changes to Florida’s public safety policy. Specifically, the law prohibits disclosure of specified Crime Stoppers information and extends specified deadlines and increases an award for crime victim compensation claims. It expands inmate reentry programming by reducing barriers to occupational licensing and educational opportunities. Reforms current probation practices to more proportionally to address violations. Raises felony thresholds for specified offenses, including grand theft and retail theft, to $750. Authorizes the creation of community courts and expands eligibility for pretrial drug court. Reforms driver license suspensions and revocations. Revises elements and penalties for cybercrimes, contracting fraud, escape, retail theft, possessing a counterfeit instrument, driving while license suspended or revoked, and specified regulatory crimes.
14. Health Care Reforms:
a. HB 23 Telehealth: Authorizes out-of-state health care professionals to use telehealth to deliver health care services to Florida patients if they register with the Department of Health (DOH) or the applicable board and meet certain eligibility requirements. A registered telehealth provider may use telehealth, within the relevant scope of practice established by Florida law to provide health care services to Florida patients. The bill requires out-of-state telehealth providers to meet the same financial responsibility requirements as in-state providers in the same profession. The bill authorizes a regulatory board or DOH, if there is no board, to take disciplinary action against an out-of-state provider. The bill also establishes venue for civil or administrative actions brought by DOH or a patient.
b. HB 843 Ambulatory Surgical Centers: A Florida patient is now allowed to stay in an ambulatory surgical center for up to 24 hours and deletes the current-law requirement that a patient be admitted and discharged on the same working day without staying overnight. The new law also allows the Agency for Health Care Administration to adopt rules to ensure the safe and effective delivery of care to children in ambulatory surgical centers.
c. HB 7 Direct Primary Care: Expands Direct Primary Care (DPC) by eliminating third party payers from the primary care provider-patient relationship. Through a contractual agreement, the patient may now pay a monthly fee to their primary care provider for defined primary care services. After paying the fee, a patient can utilize all services under the agreement at no extra charge. Some DPC practices also include routine preventative services, women’s health services, pediatric care, urgent care, wellness education, chronic disease management, and home visits. A direct primary care agreement and the act of entering into such an agreement are not insurance and not subject to regulation under the Florida Insurance Code. Direct care agreements are currently limited to primary care services offered by primary care providers licensed under medicine, osteopathic medicine, chiropractic medicine, or nursing, or a primary care group practice. The law adds health care providers licensed under dentistry to this list and authorizes direct care agreements with these health care providers for any health care service within their competency and training, not just primary care.
15. HB 851 Human Trafficking Reforms: Establishes a direct-support organization within the Department of Legal Affairs to provide assistance, funding, and support to the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking. Requiring certain healthcare professionals to take a one hour educational course on human trafficking and conspicuously post a sign about the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Requires a massage establishment to implement a procedure for reporting suspected human trafficking to the National Human Trafficking Hotline or law enforcement and conspicuously post a sign with relevant portions of the procedure by January 1, 2021. Requires a public lodging establishment to provide annual human trafficking training by January 1, 2021, implement a suspected human trafficking code of conduct, and post appropriate signage. Creates a Soliciting for Prostitution database of those convicted of soliciting prostitution, to include a person’s full legal name, last known address, color photograph, and offense of conviction. Criminalizes an adult theater’s failure to maintain age verification documentation and defining “adult theater” to clearly encompass a strip club. Requires all Florida certified law enforcement officers to complete a human trafficking training component within one year of beginning employment or by July 1, 2022.