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Senate health care panel narrowly advances CON, balance billing changes

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Monday afternoon, the Senate Health Policy Committee narrowly approved a pair of closely-watched health care bills, with exchanges between lawmakers that predict much more debate will still be to come. Bills weakening the state’s “certificate of need” regime for hospital licensure, and shielding patients from a medical collections practice known as “balance billing” each passed by votes of 6-3 and 5-4, respectively. Former Senate Don Gaetz joked his SB 1144 was simply an “another uncontroversial bill” after the panel approved a number of relatively minor…

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Mitch Perry Report for 1.27.16 – “Pastor Protection Act” moves through state Senate

in 2017/Top Headlines by

Observers of the state Legislature in Tallahassee will recall the backlash that ensued after the Florida House passed a measure last year that effectively codified existing law that same-sex couples could adopt. The bill, sponsored by Miami Beach Democrat Dave Richardson, ultimately made it through the Senate, but not before there was another measure sponsored in the House by Sanford Republican Jason Brodeur that would allow private adoption agencies to discriminate against gay couples if they felt it compromised their faith or…

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Capitol Reax: Telehealth, Dozier School for Boys, dental plans, economic incentives

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Efforts to expand telehealth options in Florida are moving through the state Legislature, and the state Senate on Tuesday approved a measure (SB 1686) aimed at improving access. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Bean, defines telehealth, creates a telehealth task force, and authorizes healthcare practitioners in Florida to participate in telehealth. The measure passed the Senate health policy committee 9-0. Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, said in a statement: “We are extremely pleased that the Legislature…

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Marco Rubio backs little-used method to amend constitution

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A little-used method of updating the U.S. Constitution recently got a boost from a top presidential contender. On Wednesday, Marco Rubio said he would support convening a convention of states to amend the Constitution. The obscure process, outlined in Article V of the Constitution, is a convention of state legislatures to propose amendments to the Constitution. The last time a convention of states was used was in 1787. During a speech last week, Rubio said he would support a convention…

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“Right to Try” expansion bill adding medical marijuana passes Senate panel

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A bill to allow terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana passed its first committee stop in the Senate on Tuesday, hours after a House panel OK’d a similar bill. Debate focused on eliminating roadblocks to care amid nearly two years of delays since a bill to allow low-THC cannabis derivatives was enacted in 2014. Bill sponsor Sen. Rob Bradley acknowledged the 2014 Compassionate Use Act passed by the Legislature “could have been better.” Asked by Sen. Don Gaetz – Senate president at the time…

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Senators say anti-pill mill law has seen patients’ pain go untreated

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Members of the Senate Health Policy Committee discussed a 2011 law designed to crack down on illicit painkiller prescriptions through “pill mills,” which Chairman Aaron Bean said has sent “the pendulum from one direction to the other.” The law, HB 7095, was spearheaded by a newly elected Attorney General Pam Bondi and then-state Sen. Mike Fasano in the midst of a widespread painkiller abuse epidemic that earned Florida the title of “pill mill capital of the U.S.” A pair of experts corroborated accounts senators…

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Aaron Bean puts on his dancing shoes

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

He’s a man who seems to be everywhere these days. Weighing in on every hot-button issue from Medicaid expansion to Planned Parenthood. Pushing a “cold case” task force. But this month, Jacksonville state Sen. Aaron Bean is also tripping the light fantastic. Yes, Bean is one of the North Florida “stars” who will be competing Saturday night in the 2015 First Coast Dancing with the Stars event supporting the Beaches Fine Arts Series. In case you were wondering, he and his partner, professional…

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