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House panel gets update on dental carve out law

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A recent study by the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability into how effective managed care plans are at providing dental care appeared to be inconclusive, agency officials said this week. OPPAGA was tasked with looking into how effectively managed care plans are at providing dental care under a contentious 2016 law. The law, among other things, carved out dental care from the list of minimum benefits offered under the state’s Medicaid managed care plans. It required the…

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Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

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With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements — both on and off — of the legislative merry-go-round. Off: Mary Kassabaum is no longer legislative assistant for Trilby Republican state Sen. Wilton Simpson. Off: Caroline Crow is no longer district secretary for Rockledge Republican state Sen. Thad Altman. On: Matthew Hunter is returning as legislative assistant for Fort Myers Republican state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto. Off: Sean Nixon is no longer legislative assistant for Cutler Bay Democratic state Sen. Dwight Bullard. Off: Kyle Langan is no longer…

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Everglades Foundation commends lawmakers for final passage of “Legacy Florida” funding

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The Everglades Foundation lauded lawmakers Friday for passing a bill that would fund Everglades restoration efforts with up to $200 million a year. HB 989, put forward by incoming Senate President Joe Negron and Republican Rep. Gayle Harrell, would pull the lesser of 25 percent or $200 million from the money collected under the 2014 land conservation amendment each year. That money would then be spread across Everglades projects at the South Florida Water Management District and the Comprehensive Everglades…

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Miami-Dade’s needle exchange pilot project advances in House

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A bill that would authorize the University of Miami and its affiliates to establish a sterile needle and syringe exchange pilot program in Miami-Dade County has advanced in the Florida House of Representatives. The Disease Prevention Act (HB 81) is being sponsored by Sunrise Democrat Katie Edwards. It passed the House Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday, and now moves to the House floor. The bill has been floated in the Legislature for a number of years, and found success in the Senate,…

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House bill to expunge juvenile records OK’d unanimously by Judiciary panel

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A bill to “streamline” the process for minors to expunge their criminal records bill passed unanimously in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. A pair of Tampa Bay area Republicans – Rep. Chris Latvala of Clearwater and prime co-sponsor Rep. Chris Sprowls – filed the bill (HB 147) in September. The bill would cut a break to juvenile lawbreakers who aren’t “serious or habitual offenders.” For them, the legislation would allow juvenile criminal records to be expunged “five years after the date of the…

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Bills boosting Everglades restoration filed by Joe Negron, Gayle Harrell

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Everglades restoration will receive a substantial financial boost, thanks to bills filed by a pair Republican lawmakers Thursday. As first reported by LobbyTools, state Sen. Joe Negron and state Rep. Gayle Harrell, both of Stuart, submitted proposals (HB 989 and SB 1168) that seek to dedicate $200 million a year to Everglades restoration projects. The money, coming from the state’s Land Acquisition Trust Fund, would be part of a dedicated fund for Everglades projects. The plan has been celebrated by…

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Florida House: Use conservation money on Everglades

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The Florida House wants to dedicate as much as $200 million a year on projects to help restore the state’s fabled Everglades. House Republicans on Tuesday announced their “Legacy Florida” initiative. It would require that each year that the state set aside conservation money for a variety of Everglades restoration projects. The list would include projects that lessen the level of discharges from Lake Okeechobee into nearby estuaries. In recent years federal authorities have been criticized for discharging polluted water…

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