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House sends Gov. Scott bill creating City of Panacea & another that keeps Compassionate Care Hospice running

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The Florida House sent Gov. Rick Scott five bills on Tuesday for consideration, including a measure that would give a hospice an expedited process of getting a license to resume operating.

Compassionate Care Hospice in Lakeland didn’t renew its license and state healthcare regulators ordered it to close down in March. The company claims to have mailed its license renewal on time but the state said it didn’t receive the paperwork and that the facility could not operate without a license.

HB 441 would allow any hospice that lost its license to operate between January 1, 2015, and the effective date of the law to apply for an exemption from an administrative penalty of losing their license so long as the applicant is wanting to provide the same service type, in the same district, in the same area the facility was previously licensed. After an exemption request is approved the facility has 21 days to reapply for a license. Thereafter, the exemption expires.

The bill was filed by state Rep. Ray Rodrigues.

The governor has 15 days after receiving a bill to approve it, sign it into law, or allow it to become law without his signature, if the Legislature sends the bill over after the session has ended. That means Scott has until May 27 to act on the five bills.

The governor has just seven days to act on bills if they are sent for consideration while the Legislature still is in session.

Another bill the House sent to Scott, HB 897, adds five synthetic cannabinoids to the list of Schedule I  of Florida’s controlled substances law and ensures that laws relating to the to the sale, manufacture and delivery of the controlled substances of schedule 1 drugs are changed to include the new five synthetic cannabinoids.  The bill was sponsored by state Rep. Clay Ingram.

The House also sent Scott HB 593, which creates the City of Panacea in Wakulla County and lays out its charter. If signed by the governor, a majority of Wakulla County voters must approve the proposal at the next election.

The two other bills Scott received are:

  • HB 7009 — The bill authorizes the Department of Revenue to adopt emergency rules to update Florida’s tax code by adopting the Internal Revenue Code in effect January 1, 2015; and
  • HB 361 — The bill amends current statutes to make clear that leaseholds and improvements constructed and used to provide housing pursuant to the federal Military Housing Initiative on land owned by the federal government are exempt from ad valorem taxation. The bill applies retroactively and is meant to address litigation in Monroe, Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties.

The Senate last week sent Scott all of the bills it had passed during the 2015 session that had not already been sent to his attention. Sixty-eight Senate bills were sent to the governor last week, including bills on concealed weapons, growlers, drones and body camera public record exemptions. Scott has until May 22 to act on those.

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