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Daily Legislative Brief from January 11, 2018

Constitution Revision Commission (CRC)

Proposal 48 Relating to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)

On Thursday, January 11th, Proposal 48 by Commissioner Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch was presented to the CRC Executive Committee (committee). The committee voted down on Proposal 48 by a vote of 1 yea to 5 nays. AIF spoke against this proposal during the committee meeting.

Currently, under Article IV, section 9 of the Florida Constitution, the FWC has the regulatory and executive powers of the state over wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life. Proposal 48 sought to amend Article IV, section 9 by expanding the FWC’s regulatory and executive powers to include habitats, including wildlife corridors. AIF noted during the committee that the FWC believes the existing constitutional provision provides adequate scope, authority, and means for the Commission to conserve the features essential to sustaining fish and wildlife, including impacts that could result in death or injury of imperiled species, or that could significantly impair essential behavioral patterns such as breeding, feeding, or sheltering.

AIF opposed this Proposal 48 as we believe the current powers the FWC holds are adequate, and due to the negative impact the proposal would have on private property rights.

Legal & Judicial

HB 623-Relating to Grounds for Nonrecognition or Out-of-Country Foreign Judgments

On Thursday, January 11th, HB 623, by Representative Cord Byrd (R-Jacksonville) was heard before the House Judiciary Committee and passed. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this bill.

This legislation amends the Uniform Out-Of-Country Foreign Money - Judgment Recognition Act, codified in chapter 55 F.S., to add two additional permissive grounds for nonrecognition of a foreign money judgment by a Florida court. The Act currently provides three mandatory grounds for nonrecognition and eight permissive grounds for nonrecognition of a foreign judgment. Of the mandatory grounds that are similar to those in the bill, the Act requires nonrecognition where the foreign country’s court system is systematically unfair, failing to provide impartial tribunals and compatible due process of law.

The bill adds two permissive grounds for when a Florida court may decline to recognize a foreign judgment on more individualized due process grounds: 

  • There is “substantial doubt” about the “integrity” of the particular foreign court that rendered the judgment. 
  • The particular foreign court that rendered the judgment failed to afford due process in the proceedings.

HB 623 will go on to the House floor to be heard.

AIF SUPPORTS legislation to clarify existing law and protect Florida businesses from foreign judgments that are not compatible with the requirements of due process of law. 

Economic Development

SB 170-Relating to Rural Economic Development Initiative 

On Thursday, January 11th, SB 170, by Senator Denise Grimsley (R-Lake Placid) was heard by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and passed by a vote of 6 yeas to 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this bill.

Currently, Florida’s rural communities are experiencing additional challenges compared to their urban counterparts in many quality of life indicators. The state has an opportunity to improve the economic competitiveness of Florida’s rural communities by reforming the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI).  This legislation accomplishes this by:

  • Reducing the number of specified agencies and organizations that are required to designate REDI representatives;
  • Clarifying which individuals from specified agencies and organizations must be designated as REDI representatives;
  • Providing for the appointment of five additional members from the private sector:
    • Three of the private sector members are to be appointed by the executive director of the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), one appointed by the President of the Senate, and one appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;
  • Authorizing the creation of ad hoc committees and provides guidance for the organization of ad hoc committees;
  • Modifying the definition and designation criteria for a rural area of opportunity (RAO); 
  • Updating the annual reporting requirements; and 
  • Make conforming changes to address cross-references in numerous sections of the Florida Statutes.

SB 170 will go on to the Senate Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability to be heard.

AIF SUPPORTS efforts to increase economic development in Florida’s rural areas by increasing job growth. 

Health Care

SB 98-Relating to Health Insurer Authorization

On Thursday, January 11th, SB 98, by Senator Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) was heard before the Senate Committee on Rules and passed by a vote of 11 yeas to 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, spoke in opposition to this bill.

This legislation creates a standard process for the approval or denial of (1) prior authorizations and (2) step therapy (“fail-first”) protocol exceptions. Currently, the many health insurance carriers in Florida employ robust policy product offerings containing medically-proven prior-authorization and step-therapy programs designed to reflect the protocols and standards of care, advanced and adopted by a vast array of specialty physicians based on their latest evidence-based research. These procedures and protocols allow for the use of the safest, most appropriate and most cost-effective drug, and permit progressing to other, more costly drugs with more sophisticated interactions and side-effects, in accordance with FDA approvals.

SB 98 will move on to the Senate floor to be heard.

AIF opposes this legislation as it would force insurers and consumers to purchase the most expensive drugs and treatments even when equally effective therapies are available at much lower costs.


SB 88-High School Graduation Requirements

On Thursday, January 11th, SB 88, by Senator Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange), was read for a third time on the Senate floor and passed by a vote of 34 yeas to 0 nays. AIF supported this bill.

Currently, based on Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, high school students receive financial literacy instruction as part of the one-half Economics course credit required for graduation. The bill revises that standard to require students entering grade 9 in the 2018-2019 school year and thereafter to complete a one-half standalone course credit in personal financial literacy.

SB 88 will go on to the House floor for consideration.

AIF SUPPORTS legislation that provides students the tools to learn about relevant, and real-life subjects that will prepare them for the workforce in the future.