Subject: Committee Weeks 3 & 4 Update
From: State Representative Larry Ahern <larry.ahern@myfloridahouse.gov>
Date: 2/20/2017 9:04 AM
To: staff...@.....com         This page online:  2017Committee Weeks 3 & 4 Update

Committee Weeks 3 & 4
Contact Information
Office Locations
District:
8383 Seminole Boulevard
Suite B
Seminole, FL 33772
727-395-2512
  
Capitol:
222 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
850-717-5066
Staff
District Secretary
 
Legislative Assistant
  
My 2017 Bills
Requires the establishment of civil citations or similar diversion programs for juveniles in each county for certain offenses.
  
Reduces the sales tax paid on commercial leases incrementally until it's eliminated over a specified number of years.   

Authorizes a matching grant program for local governments to implement flood hazard risk mitigation policies and projects.

Subcommittee Works to Bring Uniformity to Regulation of Transportation Network Companies
During the third week, the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee passed HB 221, which establishes a regulatory framework for transportation network companies (TNCs), like Uber and Lyft, and preempts TNC regulation to the state. This means that TNC companies only have to worry about state laws and regulations relating to the operation of their businesses. Currently, TNCs in Florida have to follow local laws and regulations, which change from city to city. Some cities have even tried to ban the operation of TNCs.
 
HB 221 would implement numerous TNC regulations, including but not limited to: minimum insurance requirements for drivers and TNCs; a zero tolerance policy on drug and alcohol abuse by TNC drivers; extensive background and driving history checks; nondiscrimination and disability access compliance; and requirements to maintain records on riders and TNC drivers.
 
Local governments should not keep TNCs from operating successfully in Florida. TNCs are efficient, safe, convenient, and most importantly, they provide flexible jobs. I will keep you up to date on HB 221 as it travels through the legislative process.
 
House Subcommittee Votes to Create Veteran Sales Tax Holiday
On Wednesday morning of last week the Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee passed a bill that creates an annual sales tax holiday for Florida veterans. The sales tax holiday will occur on Veterans Day starting in 2017, and it will cover certain clothing and footwear purchases, just in time for the holidays.
 



House Committee Votes to Repeal Red Light Cameras
During the third Committee week, the House Appropriations Committee passed HB 6007 to remove the authorization for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and local governments to install and maintain traffic infraction detectors, or "red light cameras." The committee's decision follows a previous review of the 2015-2016 Red Light Camera Summary Report by the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee, which shows an increase in total crashes and injuries at intersections with red light cameras.
 
Although red light cameras may have good intentions, the data shows they simply do not work. I will keep you updated as the bill moves through the committee process.

February 20, 2017
Dear Friends,
  
Last week, we finished our fourth Committee week in preparation for the 2017 Legislative Session. During these two weeks a number of bills were heard and passed in House Committees. We will continue to hear member bills, proposed committee bills, and appropriation project bills during the upcoming and final Committee week.
  
Throughout the remaining Committee week and Session, I will continue to keep you up-to-date with periodic newsletters letting you know about bills under consideration and any new laws that are passed. As always, thank you for your confidence in my service to District 66. It is an honor and a privilege to be your voice in Tallahassee.
  
  
 In Your Service,
Rep Sig
Received a warm welcome from the students, faculty, and staff at Bardmoor Elementary during my visit to the school for school lunch week.
Healthcare Subcommittees Pass Free Market Healthcare Reforms
  
Last week, the Health Quality Subcommittee and Health Innovation Subcommittee passed important free market healthcare reforms.
 
The Health Quality Subcommittee passed proposed committee bill HQS 17-01, which: 1)authorizes and encourages the use of telehealth by all healthcare practitioners, including all out-of-state practitioners; and 2) allows patients to have their health care needs addressed by experienced, highly-trained advanced practice registered nurses without the unnecessary and expensive supervision of a physician.
 
The Health Innovation Subcommittee passed the following bills. HB 7 eliminates the certificate of need program (CON) in Florida. The CON program requires certain health care providers to obtain state approval before entering the market or offering certain new or expanded services. The CON program restricts competition in the healthcare market causing unnecessary and unfair cost increases for consumers.
 
HB 145 expands the use of ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) and allows recovery care centers (RCCs) in the state. ASCs are non-hospital facilities that provide surgical care. ASCs have highly skilled staff and surgeons and are less expensive and more convenient than having surgery in a hospital. RCCs provide post-surgical and post-diagnostic, short-term medical and nursing care, support, and pain control for patients that do not require acute hospitalization. RCCs exist in some states, but not Florida.
 
HB 161 helps expand the use of direct primary care (DPC) in Florida by preventing DPC agreements from being regulated like insurance. DPC is a medical practice model that eliminates third party payers from the doctor-patient relationship. By contract, a patient or employer pays a monthly fee to the primary care provider for defined services. After paying the fee, a patient can utilize all services in the agreement at no extra charge. One of the most critical problems in healthcare is out of control and unjustifiable costs. Innovations like DPC cut costs by eliminating the administrative hassles of the third-party payer system.
 
HB 375 requires all Florida hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to complete and publish patient safety culture surveys. A "patient safety culture survey" is a survey completed by healthcare facility which asks employees about patient safety and quality of care. The survey is designed to measure the climate of safety at the facility. The surveys help hospitals identify and fix problems. If published, the survey data can also help potential patients make decisions about which facilities are best for their own care and the care of their families.
 
All of these measures are aimed at increasing access to quality and affordable healthcare for all Floridians.


While In the District...
 
Had the pleasure of visiting Bardmoor Elementary in my district during school lunch week prior to the start of Committee Weeks.

Enjoyed learning about the options they provide to the students, and how they focus on healthy and balanced meals to ensure that students are able to be more successful in their studies.

Community Events

 

 

Seminole

GFWC Pinellas Women's Club 

Fashion Show &    Mardi Gras Celebration

February 25, 2017

More Information

 

Largo

Adult Prom 

A Salute to the Oscars 

February 25, 2017

More Information

 

 

House Committee Leads Discussion on Local Government Fiscal Transparency
The Ways & Means Committee began discussing ways to increase local government fiscal transparency, an important issue for communities across the state. The committee focused on solutions that will help citizens gain access to important information so they can be more engaged in the decision-making process with their local officials.  
 
Specifically, the committee focused on four ideas: 1) easier access to voting records related to local option taxes and debt issuances; 2) easier access to tax history and annual millage rate information through property appraisers; 3) expanding public notice requirements and information; and 4) utilizing debt affordability reports.
 
Floridians deserve more access to information on financial matters that directly impact their livelihood. As this issue develops, I will make sure to keep you informed.


Committee Approves Local Government Ethics Reform
The Public Integrity & Ethics Committee passed a bill last week to reform ethics guidelines for local governments. Some of the provisions of the bill include the following: requiring certain elected local officers to file a more detailed financial disclosure; expanding annual ethics training requirements for local officers; expanding restrictions when a conflict of interest exists; and requiring lobbyists to register with a statewide database before they can lobby local government bodies.
 
The Public Integrity & Ethics Committee also passed measures that would extend the current ban on post-service lobbying for legislators, statewide elected officers, and appointed state officers from two years to six years.
 
Public office is a public trust, and the Florida House is committed to passing legislation in support of that sacred truth.
 
Criminal Justice Subcommittee Advances Important Sentencing Legislation
Last week, The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee approved two important bills relating to sentencing: HB 157, which deals with the sentencing of non-violent felons; and HB 527, which will reinstate Florida's ability to sentence the most violent offenders to death.
 
HB 157 is a measure that will allow county courts to sentence certain non-violent felony offenders to serve their time in county jails, as opposed to state prisons. This effort will help limit overcrowding of our state prisons and ensure that our most secure prisons are reserved for violent and dangerous offenders.
 
HB 527 will restore Florida's death penalty law, which has been stalled until we make the changes to law that the Florida Supreme Court held were required by the Constitution. The updated law will require that a jury be unanimous in their recommendation to impose the death penalty.
 
Florida House of Representatives | | larry.ahern@myfloridahouse.gov | http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4505&SessionId=66
8383 Seminole Boulevard
Suite B
Seminole, FL 33772
Florida House of Representatives, 8383 Seminole Boulevard, Suite B, Seminole, FL 33772
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