Recap of Week 2 & Preview of Week 3 of Session
The Florida Legislature today begins the third week of its scheduled nine-week session with some good news: the latest state revenue estimates released this past Friday show $4 billion more in tax dollars in general revenue coming in than was expected over this current fiscal year and the next one. That’ll come in handy when negotiations begin in a few weeks on a new budget for the next fiscal year beginning July 1.
Last week the Senate approved on a 31-4 vote a new redistricting map for Florida’s 28 congressional districts and the 40 state Senate legislative districts that will be used in this November’s election. Meanwhile, the House State Legislative Redistricting Subcommittee sent their approved map to the Redistricting Committee, which is scheduled to meet Wednesday. The House has a bigger job with 120 state House districts to consider – one for each state representative.
All the bills that are to be filed have been filed in trying to address what seems to be an ongoing playbook by bad actors that include some contractors, public adjusters, and attorneys. It’s the door-to-door solicitation by certain contractors and roofers, the customer signing the tablet for roof inspection or work order, not getting any confirmation documents of what they just signed, the inflated insurance claim submitted, the insurance company estimating the actual damages and cost to repair, and the inevitable dispute that lands in a lawyer’s lap to file suit in court and target an attorney fee payout….rinse & repeat!
It’s happening right now with the vultures that descended upon southwest Florida last week in the aftermath of those devastating tornadoes that spawned from Winter Storm Izzy. Toward that end, there is an encouraging development in the Fraud Prevention bill below that targets such buzzards who break solicitation laws during a declared state of emergency. So read on!
Here is a master list of the legislative bills we’re following so far in the upcoming 60-day session. You can click the bill link in the list below to go directly to the bill and its details farther below. “New” and “Updated” bills are so noted. Updates within each bill are noted in blue font:
Insurance Policies (aka Insurance Omnibus Bill)
Insolvent Insurers Updated
Property Insurer Reimbursements
Domestic Surplus Lines Insurers Updated
Citizens Property Insurance Updated
Property Insurance Updated
Department of Financial Services (DFS) Updated
Fraud Prevention Updated
Motor Vehicle Glass
Hurricane Impact Programs
Sales Tax Refunds for Building Mitigation Retrofit Improvements
Mandatory Building Inspections Updated
Community Association Database
Powers of the Florida Building Commission
Construction Defect Claims Updated
Building Inspection Services Updated
Motor Vehicle Insurance (PIP)
Consumer Data Privacy
Judicial Notice Updated
COVID-19-related Claims Updated
Communicable and Infectious Diseases
Insurance Coverage for At-home COVID-19 Test Kits
Veterinary Health Updated
Nutrient Application Rates Updated
Insurance Policies (Insurance Omnibus bill) – SB 468 and HB 503 by Senator Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) and Rep. Tommy Gregory (R-Sarasota) would, among the many provisions, redefine the term “covered policy” under the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund in relation to certain collateral protection insurance policies; authorize any association, trust, or pool created for the purpose of forming a risk management mechanism or providing self-insurance for a public entity to establish a quorum and conduct public business through communications media technology; authorize insurers to file certain insurance rating plans based on certain windstorm mitigation construction standards, if certain requirements are met, among other provisions. The Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee in mid-January both passed revised bills that eliminated the Legal Service of Process (LSOP) changes that had been debated in December committee meetings. Those changes would have altered “when the lawsuit clock starts” to when the company receives the notice from Department of Financial Services rather than when DFS receives it. The revised bills also made some tweaks to the collateral protection provisions; changed the workers’ comp provisions to require on-site audits only for policies with premiums greater than $10,000; allow a modeling indication that is the weighted or straight average of two or more hurricane loss projection models; allow an insurer to use an “independent, non-for-profit scientific research organization” to develop windstorm mitigation construction standards for personal lines residential rating plans; clarify in Assignment of Benefits (AOB) agreements that the contractor provide the 10-day pre-lawsuit notice to the policyholder, insurance company and assignor; and loosen licensing requirements on agents selling motor vehicle service agreements and home warranty contracts. The Senate bill awaits its next hearing in the Appropriations Committee and the House bill its next hearing in the State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee. (Return to Top of Page)
Insolvent Insurers – HB 1023 and SB 1430 by Rep. Tom Fabricio (R-Miramar) and Senator Danny Burgess (R-Zephyrhills) amend several provisions of the Florida Insurance Code relating to the regulation and workings of our various backstop entities tasked with managing insolvent insurance companies. Specifically these bills would:
- For the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA): Authorize insurers to make advance assessment payments made to FIGA in quarterly installments; authorize an insurer to forego recouping advances of assessments to FIGA; and require insurers making assessment payments to FIGA to file reconciliation reports on a form and schedule adopted by FIGA regardless of assessment payment method.
- For the Florida Workers’ Compensation Insurance Guaranty Association (FWCIGA): Provide that past loss experience and prospective loss experience for insolvent insurers must be used in the determination and fixing of workers’ compensation rates, and that data previously reported by insolvent insurers may be used to assess the impact on rates; authorize the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Guaranty Association (WCIGA) to allow an insurer to make advance assessment payments in a single payment or on a quarterly basis based on cash-flow needs; reduce the frequency of annual reconciliation reports subsequently filed with the WCIGA after the assessment year from a period of 3 years to a period of 2 years; clarify that an assessment paid before surcharges are collected is an advance; and make additional technical and conforming changes.
The Senate bill passed unanimously last week in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee and now heads to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government. It now includes an amendment by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-Pinellas) that would allow officers and directors of insolvent carriers to serve as officers or directors of other carriers in the future, unless regulators found their actions contributed to or caused the insolvency. The House bill awaits its first hearing before the Insurance & Banking Subcommittee. (Return to Top of Page)
Property Insurer Reimbursements – HB 695 and SB 1058 by Rep. Cyndi Stevenson (R-St. Augustine) and Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) revise requirements for coverage under the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund of certain policies assumed from “unsound insurers” by authorized insurers or Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. The bills would allow a private insurance company to seek assignment of the liquidated insurer’s cat fund contract when it assumes its policies. The House bill passed unanimously in the Insurance & Banking Subcommittee on January 13 and awaits its next hearing before the Appropriations Committee. The Senate bill passed its first hearing on January 12 before the Banking and Insurance committee and awaits a hearing before the Community Affairs committee. During the committee meeting, Senator Brandes offered an amendment that he later withdrew that would require any policy from an unsound insurer rolling into Citizens to keep the same premium pricing through two policy renewal cycles at Citizens. (Return to Top of Page)
Domestic Surplus Lines Insurers – HB 951 and SB 1402 by Rep. Tommy Gregory (R-Sarasota) and Senator Danny Burgess (R-Zephyrhills) changes the law governing surplus lines carriers, providing more options to consumers. It provides that the term “eligible surplus lines insurer” now includes domestic surplus lines insurers; authorizes specified non-admitted insurers to transact insurance as domestic surplus lines insurers; authorizes domestic surplus lines insurers to write surplus lines insurance in any jurisdiction; requires such insurers to be considered unauthorized insurers & non-admitted insurers for specified purposes; limits circumstances under which such insurers may write surplus lines insurance; and provides such policies are subject to specified taxes but are not subject to certain other taxes. The Senate bill, just filed on January 3, passed unanimously last week in the Banking and Insurance Committee and will be heard on Wednesday before the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government, its second of three committee stops. The House bill still awaits its first hearing before the Insurance & Banking Subcommittee. (Return to Top of Page)
Citizens Property Insurance – SB 186 and HB 1307 by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-Pinellas) and Reps. Tommy Gregory (R-Sarasota) and Mike Giallombardo (R-Cape Coral) would allow surplus lines companies to do takeouts of Citizens policies, just as admitted carriers can do. The bills also have other provisions to attempt to stem Citizens explosive growth, which ended 2021 with a policy count of 759,305, a 40% increase from 2020, with continued growth of almost 5,000 policies weekly. They would make a current Citizens policyholder ineligible for renewal unless a private insurance company take-out premium is more than 20% higher than the Citizens renewal premium. The Senate bill will get its first hearing tomorrow (January 25) before the Senate Banking and Insurance committee. The House bill, filed on January 7, still awaits its first hearing in the Insurance & Banking Subcommittee.. (Return to Top of Page)
Property Insurance – SB 1728 by Senator Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton) has identical changes to the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation that SB 186 and HB 1307 above have but also attempts to clarify advertising and solicitation restrictions in last session’s SB 76 reform law that a federal judge enjoined from enforcement last summer on free-speech grounds. This bill would also allow insurance companies to offer policies covering actual cash value of roofs older than 10 years old, rather than full replacement value, to reduce a cost-driver contributing to double-digit rate increases. That provision failed to be included in last year’s SB 76. There is no identical House companion to this bill, but it may be that parts of this bill end up being included in HB 1307 above. Here’s what Senator Boyd had to say about his efforts in a mid-January published report: “I will take another pass at property insurance reform to give additional relief,” the Senator said. “Nothing too aggressive, but I have a couple measures that may help with the rate part of the process. It will take a little energy, but nothing too aggressive.” Going into the third week of session, the bill is still awaiting its first hearing before the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee which Senator Boyd chairs. (Return to Top of Page)
Department of Financial Services (DFS) – HB 959 and SB 1874 by Rep. Chip LaMarca (R-Broward) and Senator Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton) pertain to various administrative procedures, but tighten the rules on public adjusters; also included is that proposed change in the Department’s Legal Service of Process (LSOP) that alters when the “lawsuit notice of commencement clock starts.” According to the bill, “service of process is considered valid and binding at the time the process documents are received by, rather than sent to, the insurance company…and “when the process documents are made available on the DFS electronic system.” There are measures in these bills impacting insurance agents and workers’ compensation insurance, too. The bill prohibits compensation to a public adjuster based on amounts attributable to additional living expenses unless the public adjuster and the policyholder agree to such compensation in a separate agreement that includes a specified disclosure. The bills also:
- Create a new provision which states that compensation paid to a public adjuster may not be increased based on a claim being resolved by litigation.
- Require that adjusting firms seeking licensure include the name and license number of the designated primary adjuster who is responsible for adjusters at each business location, and requires fingerprints for background checks of the owner(s) as well as corporate officers and directors;
- Require that an applicant for licensure as a public adjuster must have been licensed and appointed in Florida as a non-resident public adjuster, or as an all-lines adjuster, on a continual basis, during the six months prior to application;
- Amend the definition of “public adjuster apprentice” to state that such apprentice must be employed by a public adjusting firm, rather than employed by a public adjuster;
- Require that a $50,000 bond posted by each public adjuster apprentice remain in effect for one year after termination of the public adjuster apprentice license, and requires that the public adjusting firm provide DFS with notice of the primary adjuster who responsible for the supervision of all adjusters at the firm’s location;
- Require that the $50,000 bond posted by each nonresident public adjuster must remain in effect for one year following the expiration or termination of the public adjuster license, and also makes changes to comply with federal law related to the use of fingerprints in national background checks, discussed above.
The bills also add an exemption to the examination requirement for the all-lines adjuster license; allow unaffiliated insurance agents to adjust claims without surrendering their appointments; clarify existing laws for title agents and agencies; and modify existing laws for public adjuster compensation, qualifications and bonding requirements. In workers’ compensation insurance, the bills would revise statewide schedules of maximum reimbursement allowances (aka the Workers’ Comp Reimbursement Manual) for medically necessary treatment to exempt from the requirement that the legislature ratify rules with an adverse economic impact in excess of $1 million, along with other provisions. The House bill passed unanimously last week in the Insurance & Banking Subcommittee, where four amendments were added to the bill that allow employers more time to come into workers’ comp compliance, and AHCA documentation rules. The Senate bill is scheduled to have its first hearing tomorrow before the Banking and Insurance Committee. (Return to Top of Page)
Fraud Prevention – HB 749 and SB 1292 by Rep. Chuck Clemons (R-Newberry) and Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) increase fines on public adjusters & public adjuster apprentices for certain violations under specified circumstances, including work performed during a state of emergency. The measures also requires sellers to allow consumers to cancel in specified manners & by specified means service contracts with automatic renewal provisions. They also remove provisions relating to circumstances under which investigations are considered active; revise requirements for advertisements issued or caused to be issued by service agreement companies or salespersons; revise felony violations for which prosecutions must be commenced within specified timeframe; provide that certain insurers are entitled to specified expenses at trials & appellate courts; and create a $2,000 daily fine for insurance companies that fail to comply with a Division of Investigative and Forensic Services or State Fire Marshall investigation. Both the House and Senate bills passed their respective first committees last week, with the following provisions added to both bills:
- Expanding the existing $10,000 fine for contractors or unlicensed persons acting on their behalf who solicit or incentivize a residential property owner to file a roof damage insurance claim or receive a paid referral from insurance proceeds to $20,000 if the violations occur during a declared state of emergency.
- Entitling insurance companies that are victims of false and fraudulent insurance claims to recover investigation and litigation expenses, including attorney fees, when they have reported the possible fraud to the Department of Financial Services Division of Investigative and Forensic Services and the accused has been found guilty. This is in addition to having a cause of action in other cases to the recovery of compensatory damages, investigation and litigation expenses, including attorney fees that is already part of these bills.
- Requiring service agreement companies and salespersons to disclose their full legal name during phone solicitations and radio/television and written advertisements.
- A new section that requires development of a digital insurance verification system for licensed Florida motor vehicle drivers that can interface seamlessly to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ digital driver’s license project already in process.
The House bill passed unanimously last week in its first hearing before the Insurance & Banking Subcommittee and now goes to the State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee. The Senate bill passed unanimously last week in the Banking and Insurance Committee and now goes to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government. (Return to Top of Page)
Motor Vehicle Glass – SB 484 by Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) (there is no corresponding House Bill to date) targets Assignment of Benefits (AOB) abuse in the windshield repair industry, an effort that failed to gain traction last session. The bill would prohibit motor vehicle repair shops or their employees from offering anything of value to a customer in exchange for making an insurance claim for motor vehicle glass replacement or repair, including offers made through certain persons, etc. The bill awaits its first hearing in the Banking and Insurance committee. (Return to Top of Page)
Hurricane Impact Programs – SB 578 and HB 837 by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) and Rep. Matt Willhite (D-Wellington) would extend the state Division of Emergency Management’s hurricane loss mitigation program for 10 years. The Senate bill directs an appropriation of $10 million a year from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund that would fund 4 programs: tie-downs or mobile homes; wind resistance mitigation for homes; new construction and retrofits of public shelters; and continued hurricane research at Florida International University. Under an amendment offered by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-Pinellas) and approved by the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on January 12, an additional $2 million each year from the Cat Fund would fund research by the University of South Florida School of Risk Management. The research would examine Florida’s property insurance market, analyze trends, and recommend polices for reducing property insurance rates, Citizens Property Insurance policy counts, and frequency of insurance litigation. The school would also be tasked with determining to what extent hurricane losses and rebuilding costs influence these trends. The Senate bill’s next stop is the Community Affairs Committee. The House bill awaits its first hearing in the Insurance & Bank Subcommittee. (Return to Top of Page)
Sales Tax Refunds for Building Mitigation Retrofit Improvements – HB 863 and SB 1250 by Rep. Nick DiCeglie (R-Pinellas) and Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) would create a sales & use tax refund for homeowners who purchase building materials used for mitigation retrofit improvements, along with regulation of mitigation inspectors. This would be a win-win for Florida homeowners, to encourage them to fortify their homes and help save on future insurance premiums. The House bill awaits its first hearing in the Regulatory Reform Subcommittee; the Senate bill its first hearing in the Community Affairs Committee. (Return to Top of Page)
Mandatory Building Inspections – This bill is among several filed in the aftermath of the Champlain Towers South condominium collapse that killed 98 people in June of 2021. Although near the last of the group to be filed, legislative intelligence is such that all eyes in the condo communities and other stakeholders are on this bill as it appears it will be the “vehicle” for condo law changes in the 2022 session. SB 1702 by Senator Jennifer Bradley (R-Fleming Island) who Chairs the Community Affairs Committee (there is no corresponding House Bill to date), would require multifamily residential building inspections statewide “to ensure that such buildings are safe for continued use.” It would impose “milestone inspections” for buildings taller than three stories. Those within three miles of a coast would be structurally inspected on their 20th anniversary and every seven years afterward; the rest on their 30th anniversary and every 10 years afterward. Inspections would have to be performed by architects or engineers. For condominium buildings or cooperatives, copies of inspection reports would be sent under seal to authorities and distributed to unit owners. SB 1702 will receive its first hearing tomorrow (January 25) before the Senate Community Affairs Committee.
Two other bills, HB 1391 and SB 1780 by Rep. Joe Geller (D-Aventura) and Senator Jason Pizzo (D-Miami) would require residential buildings be structurally inspected at their 30th anniversary and every five years afterward. They await their first hearings before the House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee and Senate Regulated Industries Committee respectively. (Return to Top of Page)
Community Association Database – HB 329 and SB 642 by Rep. Nicholas Duran (D-Miami-Dade) and Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez (R-Miami-Dade) require the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) to establish a searchable database of condominium and homeowners’ associations’ information. This would include contact information of board members, community managers, articles of incorporation and the like, but also a copy of the annual budget and schedule of expenses and assessments. It must specify whether the association has reserve accounts for capital expenditures and deferred maintenance, and if they are fully funded. A copy of the most recent reserve study, if one has been conducted, would also be included in the database. The House and Senate bills await their first hearing respectively in the House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee and the Senate Regulated Industries Committee. (Return to Top of Page)
Powers of the Florida Building Commission – HB 771 and SB 1604 by Rep. Alex Andrade (R-Pensacola) and Senator Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) would require the Florida Building Commission to develop uniform standards for the maintenance and periodic inspection of existing building structures or facilities; provide requirements for such standards; and authorize the commission to adopt certain local rules that deviate from statewide standards. The House bill awaits its first hearing in the Regulatory Reform Subcommittee. The Senate bill awaits its first hearing in the Community Affairs Committee. (Return to Top of Page)
Condominium Associations – Another bill following the Surfside condo collapse, SB 880 by Senator Jason Pizzo (D-Miami) (there is no corresponding House Bill to date), would expand the jurisdiction of DBPR in investigating complaints about condo associations. It would also revise criminal penalties on acceptance of things or services of value or kickbacks, specify acts that comprise fraudulent voting activities relating to association elections, and require an association provide an itemized list and a sworn affidavit to persons requesting to inspect records. It awaits its first hearing in the Regulated Industries Committee. (Return to Top of Page)
Construction Defect Claims – HB 583 and SB 736 by Rep. Clay Yarborough (R-Jacksonville) and Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) would require a claimant to provide written reasons for rejecting a settlement offer to remedy a defect; authorizes a supplemental offer; provides notice requirements for a supplemental offer; requires a court to stay action under certain circumstances; limits attorney fees under certain circumstances; requires certain claimants to complete repairs of construction defect within a specified time; provides requirements for payment of repairs; requires an expert to examine defect & prepare report; provides report requirements; provides for compensation of expert; provides liability; and requires certain notices of construction defects be sent to mortgagee or assignee. One provision would reduce the current statute of repose for filing a lawsuit over latent defects from 10 years, to a tiered-system to one to five years, depending on the structure. Supporters say the measures would protect builders from frivolous lawsuits and help control rising insurance costs. Opponents say it would limit consumer protection over latent defects. The Senate bill passed the Community Affairs Committee on January 12 on a 6-2 vote. The two dissenting Senators argued that a five-year window was too little time for some defects, such as faulty foundations and faulty structural components in attics and load-bearing walls, to present themselves. The Senate Bill awaits its final hearing before the Rules Committee. The House bill is now a proposed committee substitute and last week unanimously passed in the Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee. Its next stop is in the Regulatory Reform Subcommittee. (Return to Top of Page)
Building Inspection Services – HB 423 and SB 644 by Rep. Chip LaMarca (R-Lighthouse Point) and Senator Jason Brodeur (R-Lake Mary) revise eligibility requirements for a building code inspector or plans examiner; revise special conditions that may be imposed on provisional certificates; authorize partial completion of an internship program to be transferred between jurisdictions & private entities; limit the administrative fee that local jurisdiction can charge; provide certificate of occupancy or completion is automatically granted & issued; and require a local building official to provide written certificate of occupancy or completion within specified time. The House bill is awaiting a hearing before the Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, its second of three committee stops. The Senate bill was bumped from the agenda last week and has been re-scheduled for its first hearing tomorrow (January 25) before the Community Affairs Committee. (Return to Top of Page)
Motor Vehicle Insurance (PIP) – This is a perennial effort to do away with Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage under Florida’s No-Fault insurance law and replace it with bodily injury (BI) liability coverage. While the legislature did pass a bill in the 2021 session, the Governor vetoed it, out of concern it could raise auto insurance rates and lead to more uninsured drivers on the road. This session, SB 150 and HB 1525 by Senators Danny Burgess (R-Zephyrhills) and Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) and Rep. Erin Grall (R-Vero Beach) are making another attempt at repealing PIP. The Senate bill has third-party bad faith reform and the House bill doesn’t – something that’s been a deal-breaker in the past. Many in the insurance industry insist that PIP repeal without bad faith reform will not reduce costs to motorists. The Senate bill awaits its first hearing in the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, while the House version awaits its first hearing before the Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee. (Return to Top of Page)
Consumer Data Privacy – SB 1864 and HB 9 by Senator Jennifer Bradley (R-Fleming Island) and Rep. Fiona McFarland (R-Sarasota) would create the “Florida Privacy Protection Act”. It would require controllers that collect consumer personal information to provide certain information to the consumer and allow them to opt out of the sale and processing of their information by controllers. It also prohibits controllers from selling the personal information of consumers younger than 16 without their or (under 13) a parent’s consent. The House bill contains a private cause of action provision, something business interests are objecting to and that killed similar bills last session. The Senate bill awaits its first hearing in the Commerce and Tourism Committee; the House bill its first hearing in the Commerce Committee. (Return to Top of Page)
Judicial Notice – SB 634 and HB 677 by Senator Jennifer Bradley (R-Fleming Island) and Rep. Will Robinson (R-Bradenton) would allow courts to accept images and other information taken from web mapping services, global satellite imaging sites, or Internet mapping tools (such as Google Maps) as evidence, so long as a date stamp is visible. The measures also provide for the authorizing parties to object to the admissibility of such information. The Senate bill is scheduled to be heard today (January 24) in its second hearing of reference in the Commerce and Tourism Committee. The House bill awaits its first hearing in the Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee. . (Return to Top of Page)
COVID-19-related Claims – This is one of several bills addressing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. SB 610 by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-Pinellas) (there is no corresponding House Bill to date) would extend current COVID-19 liability protections for health care providers through December 2023. Another Senate bill, SB 7014 recognizes the same need and extends the protections against claims filed before June 1, 2023. SB 7014 was passed by the full Senate last week on a 22-13 vote and now goes to the House for consideration. The identical House bill, HB 7021 has one remaining hearing before the Judiciary Committee. (Return to Top of Page)
Communicable and Infectious Diseases – Citing this act as the “Sergeant Justin White Act,” SB 774 and HB 117 by Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) and Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff (R-Deland) and Rep. Anika Omphroy (D-Lauderdale Lakes), the bills provide a presumption to specified workers that an impairment of health caused by COVID-19 or an infectious disease happened in the line of duty. They require certain actions in order to be entitled to the presumption and require emergency rescue or public safety workers to file an incident or accident report under certain conditions. The Senate bill awaits its first hearing before the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee. The House bill awaits its first hearing before the Government Operations Subcommittee. (Return to Top of Page)
Insurance Coverage for At-home COVID-19 Test Kits – SB 328 and H 129 by Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez (R-Miami-Dade) and Rep. Ardian Zika (R-Pasco) define the term “at-home COVID-19 test kit”; require health insurers and health maintenance organizations to provide 100 percent coverage for at-home COVID-19 test kits; and provide for expiration of the insurance coverage, among other provisions. The Senate bill awaits its first hearing in the Banking and Insurance committee. The House bill awaits its first hearing in the Finance & Facilities Subcommittee. (Return to Top of Page)
Telehealth – SB 312 and HB 17 by Senator Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah) and Rep. Tom Fabricio (R-Miramar) and Rep. Mike Giallombardo (R-Cape Coral) revise the definition of the term “telehealth” and narrowing the prohibition on prescribing controlled substances through telehealth to include only specified controlled substances. The Senate bill passed unanimously in the Rules Committee on January 13, and awaits scheduling for a vote before the full Senate. The House bill is scheduled to be heard today (January 24) before the Health & Human Services Committee, its final stop before heading to the House floor. The only difference in the bills at this point is that the Senate version strikes a current prohibition on audio-only devices in telehealth visits, while the House version keeps the prohibition in place. . (Return to Top of Page)
Veterinary Health – SB 448 and HB 723 by Senator Jason Brodeur (R-Lake Mary) and Rep. James Buchanan (R-Sarasota) and Rep. Kristen Arrington (D-Osceola) would provide a framework for veterinary telemedicine. The measures generally authorize prescription of controlled substances under specified circumstances; revise grounds for disciplinary action against a veterinarian; and provide a supervising veterinarian assumes responsibility for person working under or at his or her supervision, among other provisions. The Senate bill was temporarily postponed from consideration last week before the Committee on Regulated Industries and has not been rescheduled. The House bill will have its final hearing today (January 24) before the Commerce Committee. (Return to Top of Page)
Nutrient Application Rates – SB 1000 and HB 1291 by Senator Ben Albritton (R-Bartow) and Rep. Lawrence McClure (R-Hillsborough) is meant to control nutrient run-off pollution from farms into streams and rivers. The bills authorize agricultural producers to use specified recommendations to tailor nutrient application rates; require such producers to keep certain records & to enroll in & implement certain best management practices; require certain state universities & Florida College System institutions to recommend nutrient application rates, ranges, rate tailoring authorizations; and provide a presumption of compliance with certain requirements for agricultural producers using rate tailoring. The Senate bill had its second hearing last week, passing the Agriculture Committee on a 6-1 vote. It now goes to the Rules Committee, its last committee stop. The House bill still awaits its first hearing before the Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee. (Return to Top of Page)
LMA Newsletter of 1-24-22