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Welcome (back) to the Florida House: Session 2015 A begins

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Speaker Steve Crisafulli set a brisk, all-business tone as the “people’s chamber” kicked off the first Special Session since a challenge to the body’s 2011 redistricting efforts brought the House back to Tallahassee in the summer for a quick cosmetic fix to a small number of seats. But this session is something else altogether. With billions of dollars separating the chambers and major legislative priorities on all sides left very much unresolved, Crisafulli is preparing for by far the greatest test…

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Five things to look for at today’s meeting of Rick Scott’s hospital commission

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The much-written about Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding holds its inaugural meeting in Tallahassee today. Gov. Rick Scott, a former healthcare and hospital executive, has spent much of his time in the three weeks since lawmakers have left town focusing on building a continuation base budget and negotiating with and suing the federal government over supplemental Medicaid dollars called Low Income Pool. Here are five things to look for coming out of today’s meeting: Will hospitals get called out…

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Florida Family Action urges Gov. Scott to veto adoption bill

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Social conservatives in Florida are urging Rick Scott to veto an adoption bill because it lacks a “conscience protection” provision for faith-based adoption and foster care agencies. CS-HB 7013 was a bill strongly supported by Senate President Andy Gardiner as the session began. It re-creates a program to provide a financial benefit of $5,000 or $10,000 to state employees who adopt foster children, as well as provide incentives to community-based care lead agencies and their subcontractors for achieving specified adoption performance standards. But…

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Senate counters House with Medicaid expansion but Tom Lee says other health care issues could be in play during an extended session

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The Florida Senate has not backed off its position that working uninsured Floridians need to have access to health insurance and that the Medicaid supplemental program known as Low Income Pool should remain intact. In a counteroffer to the House’s offer to put $200 million into healthcare financing the Senate held firm on its Medicaid expansion and puts $604.8 million in contingencies to offset LIP losses and to shore up Medicaid HMOs that are at risk because of increased pharmaceutical costs.…

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Florida Senate panel postpones vote on gay adoption ban

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In Tallahassee this afternoon, a Senate committee postponed a vote on a controversial bill that would allow private adoption agencies in Florida to be able to turn away same-sex couples based on religious and moral beliefs. The fate of the legislation is now in question. Chairman David Simmons said he would confer with Senate President Andy Gardiner on what to do next with the measure, which passed the entire House of Representatives earlier this month. The Conscience Protection for Actions of Private…

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Telehealth bill moves in the Senate but will the House take it up?

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A Senate healthcare spending panel on Tuesday gave the nod to a telehealth bill but House Health and Human Services Committee Chairman state Rep. Jason Brodeur says he’s not sure the Legislature needs to address the issue. The Senate healthcare spending panel tagged on two late filed amendments to the bill, CS/SB 478. The first amendment made clear that advanced registered nurse practitioners can use telehealth to order a controlled substance to a patient in a hospital or a hospice.…

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Today on Context Florida: Adoptions, what you think, Hillary Clinton and real estate law

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Today on Context Florida: More than 600 children woke up without a permanent home to call their own, says Jason Brodeur, who himself is a child of adoptive parents. That is why he authored legislation to make Florida the best state for adoptions – particularly adoptions benefiting foster children. When it comes to helping children, he adds, let us check rigid ideologies at the door – all of them. The poor? The hell with them. Education? Don’t make me laugh. The…

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