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Daily Legislative Brief from January 20, 2016

Health Care

SCAHA1-Relating to Telehealth
On Wednesday, January 20th, SCAHA1, relating to Telehealth sponsored by the House Select Committee on Affordable Healthcare Access was heard in front of the House Select Committee on Affordable Healthcare Access and passed with 14 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s General Counsel, Tammy Perdue, stood in support of this bill.

The bill would authorize Florida licensed health care providers to use telehealth to deliver services within their scopes of practice.  It would also allow out-of-state providers to deliver services through telehealth to Florida patients if they register with the Department of Health (DOH) or the applicable board, meet specific eligibility requirements, and pay an established fee. The out of state telehealth provider would be prohibited from opening an office in Florida and from providing in-person health care services to patients located in the state. 

Additionally, a telehealth provider would be required to conduct an in-person physical exam prior to providing services through telehealth, unless the provider is capable of conducting a patient evaluation in a manner consistent with the applicable standard of care sufficient to diagnose and treat the patient when using telehealth.

SCAHA1 will now go to the House floor for consideration.

AIF supports legislation that permits an unfettered role for telehealth services that will allow our citizens access to better quality care at lower costs.

Legal & Judicial

SB 1086-Relating to Prejudgment Interest
On Wednesday, January 20th, SB 1086, relating to Prejudgment Interest by Senator Rob Bradley (R-Orange Park) was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee  and passed with 9 yeas and 1 nay after much debate and the adoption of two significant amendments.

The bill would apply pre-judgment interest to any negligence action where they plaintiff is entitled to recover economic/monetary damages. The two amendments adopted excluded attorney’s fees from the interest application and removed provisions from the bill which applied its measures retroactively. AIF General Counsel, Tammy Perdue, testified in opposition to the bill since it will drive the cost of litigation and force defendants to pay greater damage amounts due to delays that their actions did not cause or that could be deliberately incurred by the plaintiff simply to drive up the interest award. AIF was pleased that several senators today noted concerns with the bill and anticipate additional improvements prior to it reaching the full Senate floor.

SB 1086 will head to its second committee stop in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice.

AIF opposes legislation that will increase the already daunting costs of litigation on Florida’s businesses.

SB 196- Relating to Public Records/State –Funded Infrastructure Bank
On Wednesday, January 20th, SB 196, relating to Public Records/State-funded Infrastructure Bank, by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) was heard today in the Senate Rules Committee , this bills last committee stop, and reportedly favorably with a vote of 11 yeas to 2 nays. AIF stood in support of this bill.

Currently, the state-funded infrastructure bank (SIB) is housed within Department of Transportation (department). The SIB provides loans and credit enhancements to public and private entities for constructing and improving transportation facilities. This bill creates a public record exemption for the financial statements or other financial information that is required for the application to the SIB.

However, the public records exemption does not apply to the financial records of an applicant who is in default of an SIB loan.

This exemption is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act and will be repealed on October 2, 2021 unless this bill is reenacted by the Legislature.

SB 196 will now go to the Senate floor for consideration.

AIF supports protecting the financial information of private companies.


HB 887- Relating to Computer Coding Instruction
On Wednesday, January 20th, HB 887, relating to Computer Coding Instruction sponsored by Rep. Janet Adkins (R-Fernandina Beach) was heard before the House K-12 Subcommittee and passed unanimously with 12 yeas to 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this bill.

HB 887 would allow high school students the option of taking computer coding courses along with a related industry certification to satisfy the foreign language requirement currently in place. Under this bill high schools will provide students the opportunity to substitute two credits in computer coding and a related industry certification for two credits sequential foreign language courses (i.e. Spanish I and Spanish II; Latin I and Latin II; French I and French II; etc.). 

The bill would require each district school board to submit a plan for offering computer coding to the Education Commissioner, Senate President, and Speaker of the House of Representatives by January 1, 2017.

Furthermore, HB 887, would require the Florida College System institutions and state universities to acknowledge computer coding course credits as foreign language credits.

This bill will now proceed to its next committee stop in the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

AIF supports legislation that will provide Florida’s students the opportunity to become proficient in computer coding, which will in turn prepare our states next generation for a technology driven economy.