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2016 Legislative Session: Week 9 Report
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Session 2016 Final Report


The 2016 Legislative Session concluded at 6:45 pm Friday, March 11th.


Considering the rancor from the 2015 Legislative Session, coupled with the various redistricting special sessions, the 2016 Legislative Session was a vast improvement.


Legislators will head home and focus on the Presidential Primary scheduled for today,

March 15th and their own political plans moving forward. They will also await Governor

Scott's review of their work as the veto period moves into high gear. Per Article III, Section 8 of the Florida Constitution, the Governor has fifteen days to act on a bill once presented to him, he can veto the bill or sign it into law, or it automatically becomes law. Additionally, the Governor has line item veto authority over the General Appropriations Act. TheGovernor's Bill Actionwebsite is updated daily by the Executive Office of the Governor.


Policy Issues - Transparency Initiative-Hospital Setting

Final Passage


HB 1175by Rep. Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor) is aimed at increasing transparency in health care pricing and transparency in quality measures. The legislation requires licensed health care facilities and health professionals in hospitals to provide written good faith estimates of reasonable anticipated charges to treat patients. HB 1175 also requires the AHCA to provide a consumer-friendly, Internet-based platform to research the cost of health care services and procedures and allow for price comparisons. The bill contains provisions on health provider cost estimates to patients, fines for noncompliance, hyperlinks for the claims database, and exemptions from data reporting. On March 11th, HB 1175 passed by a vote of 116 to 1 and by a vote of 34 to 1.


Patient Protection/Right Medicine Right Time

House and Senate Bills Died in the 2016 Regular Session


HB 963by Rep. Shawn Harrison called the "Florida Patient Protection Act" require Medicaid managed care plans, insurers, or HMOs to allow a prescribing provider to request an override of a restriction on the use of a medication imposed through step-therapy or fail-first protocols. The legislation streamlines the step therapy and fails first protocols to ensure that physicians have a clear pathway to navigate a health plan's step therapy protocols. In addition, the legislation prohibits insurers from discriminating against vulnerable populations and lays out clear continuity of care guidelines. This bill died in committee.


SB 1084by Senator Don Gaetz (R-Destin) creates the "Right Medicine, Right Time Act," which requires Medicaid managed care plans, HMOs and insurers that restrict medications by a step-therapy or fail-first protocol to have a clear and convenient process to request an override of the protocol. The bill requires these entities to grant an override of the protocol within 24 hours, under certain conditions. The bill also prohibits an HMO from requiring that a health care provider use a clinical decision support system or a laboratory benefits management program in certain circumstances. This bill died in committee.



Final Passage


HB 7087by the House Select Committee on Affordable Healthcare Access and Rep. Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor) allows professionals both inside and outside of Florida to use telehealth to provide health care services. HB 7087 was amended to require the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), with assistance from the Department of Health and the Office of Insurance Regulation, to survey health care providers, facilities and insurers on telehealth utilization and coverage. The amended bill also creates a 15-member Telehealth Advisory Council for the purpose of making recommendations based on the surveys and research findings collected by these state agencies. On March 10th, the Senate approved the bill by a vote of 39 to 0. On March 11th, the House approved HB 7087 by a vote of 118 to 0.


Medical Marijuana / Right to Try Act

Final Passage


HB 307andHB 1313by Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach), Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) and Katie Edwards (D-Plantation) expands a 2015 law known as the "Right to Try Act" to add cannabis to a list of experimental drugs available to patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses that could result in death within a year without life-saving interventions. The "Right to Try" law allows terminally patients to have access to experimental drugs that have not been approved for general use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


Approval of the bill during the 2016 session comes months before voters will have the opportunity to decide on a broader marijuana constitutional amendment initiative. The proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot would allow patients with a wide variety of illnesses to use the marijuana treatment if their doctors order it. A similar measure narrowly failed to pass during the 2014 election cycle.


On March 3rd, HB 306 and 1313 passed the House by a vote of 99 to 16. On March 7th, the Senate passed the House bill by a vote of 28 to 11. The bill has been presented to the Governor who has until March 24thto act.


Surgeon General Resigns

Acting Surgeon General Named


On March 11th, Surgeon General John Armstrong submitted his resignation to

Governor Scott after he was not confirmed during the 2016 session by the Senate. Governor Scott said, "Dr. John Armstrong has done an outstanding job serving our state as Florida's Surgeon General over the past four years. I am also incredibly thankful for his 17 years of service in the U.S. Army Medical Corps where he cared for our nation's military overseas." Governor Scott named Dr. Celeste Philip, DOH Deputy Secretary, as the Acting Surgeon General. She has held various positions within DOH since 2008. She was previously assistant director for public health in DOH in Volusia County and medical director for DOH in Polk County, where she served on the board of the Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine. Dr. Philip is board certified in family medicine as well as preventive medicine and public health.


Budget Update

Budget Deal Reached: Conference Report Passed


The budget conference process began Friday, Feb. 26th and completed on Tuesday,

March 8th when the budget conference report was officially published. The budget conference negotiation process represents the completion of the state budget, also known as the General Appropriations Act (GAA). The product of the negotiation is the "conference report," once finalized and published there is a Constitutionally-mandated 72-hour public review period: a time for elected officials, citizens and the press to review the budget before final passage. On March 11th, the full House passed the Budget Conference Report for HB 5001 by a vote of 119 to 1 and the full Senate passed the final report by a vote of 40-0.


Upon presentation of the budget to the Governor, per theFlorida Constitution, he has fifteen days to act and he has line item veto authority. Below are the budget priorities BioFlorida is tracking, if any BioFlorida member has a specific inquiry please reach out.



Conference Report HB 5001

James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program

$10 million


Bankhead & Coley Cancer Research Program

$10 million

Florida Consortium of National Cancer Institutes Centers Program


$60 million

Funds provided: "for the Florida Consortium of National Cancer Institute (NCI) Centers Program established in section 381.915, Florida Statutes. Cancer centers are eligible for Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 designation to participate in the Florida Consortium of National Cancer Institute (NCI) Centers Program as follows: H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute is eligible for Tier 1 designation as a NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center; and the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University of Florida Health Shands Cancer Hospital are eligible for Tier 3 designation in the Florida Consortium of NCI Centers Program."

Endowed Chair of Cancer Research

$2 million

Funds directed: "to the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center of Jacksonville to fund an endowed cancer research chair pursuant to section 381.922(4), Florida Statutes."

Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer's Disease Research Program

$5 million

Funds provided: "for the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer's Disease Research Program established in section 381.82, Florida Statutes."

Statewide Cancer Registry at the Florida Department of Health: this registry is the largest population-based, cancer incidence registry in the nation. These enhancements will allow the registry to collect information on cases which not only occur in hospitals, but in community oncologists' offices.


Funds are "provided to increase the current contract expenditure to enhance the legislatively mandated, statewide, population-based Cancer Registry based on the recommendations made by the Florida Cancer Control and Research Advisory Council.


Enhancements will include three core functions: strengthen overall registry completeness by including laboratory reports, improvement of quality assurance activities, and improvement of data utilization by creating an automated web-based data request system."

Economic Development "Tools"



$18 million

Funds are provided for "payments and tax refunds in Fiscal Year 2016-2017 for the following programs: Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Business Tax Refund; QTI Tax Refund - Brownfield Redevelopment Bonus; Brownfield Redevelopment Tax Refund; High-Impact Business Performance (HIPI) Grant; and Qualified Defense Contractor and Space Flight (QDSC) Business Tax Refund. Payments may only be made for projects that meet the statutory eligibility requirements. Funds may not be released for any other purpose and may only be disbursed when projects are certified to have met all contracted performance requirements. Funds provided in Specific Appropriation 2229 from the Economic Development Trust Fund represent local matching funds."

Tax Incentives


  • Reduction of the Sales Tax on Commercial Leases
  • Permanent Elimination of the Sales Tax on Manufacturing Equipment
  • Research and Development Corporate Income Tax Credit

Leadership agreed to $400 million total for tax package.


The policy for which tax incentives are included and to what amount (in the $400 million total) are the content of the substantive tax package,HB 7099, one of the final bills to pass the House and Senate.


The enrolled version of HB 7099 includes:

  • Permanent elimination of the state sales tax on equipment and machinery purchases by manufacturers, and
  • Retains $9 million base for the research and development corporate income tax credit.


Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research

$5.5 million


Enterprise Florida

  • Operations and Business Development
  • "Marketing the State for Business"

Enterprise Florida operations: $15 million

"Marketing Florida as a Business Destination": $8.5 million

Additional Biomedical Research Funding

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute: $5.6 million

Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies: $500,000

Scripps Research Institute: $2 million




We hope you found thisadvocacyupdate helpful. If you have any questions about specific bills or the budget process, please email Alli Liby-Schoonover


To participate on the BioFlorida Government Affairs Committee for 2016, please email or with Metz, Husband & Daughton P.A.


As a reminder, sitting on this Committee is a benefit of your BioFlorida Membership.The Government Affairs Committee helps address the legislative priorities and goals of BioFlorida, and also formulates advocacy positions in support or opposition of proposed legislation.

About BioFlorida

BioFlorida represents 6,200 establishments and research organizations in the biopharmaceuticals, medical technology, healthIT and bioagriculture sectors that collectively employ 87,000 Floridians.


Members of the BioFlorida network include emerging and established life science companies, universities, research institutions, hospitals, medical centers, incubators, economic development agencies, investors and service providers.


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