Legislative Update Week 5
2013 Legislative Session Week 5 Update Friday, April 5, 2013 The end of week 5 brings us just past the half-way point of the 2013 Legislative Session. Both the House and Senate budgets have taken shape and conferees from each chamber will be identified in the coming weeks. Those members will work together to reconcile the differences between the two budgets prior to a General Appropriations Act being sent to the Governor. ACS CAN, Florida Division has three appropriations priorities: BREAST CANCER SCREENING - ACTIVELY SUPPORT state funding for the Mary Brogan Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program for medically underserved women, at a level equal to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s program investment in Florida. Our request for the 2013 session is $2.4 million in state funding - building upon the first ever state appropriation for screening within that program last session. The initial Senate and House budget proposals on Health and Human Services do not contain this allocation. We will be working hard to bring this issue to the table during the budget conference process.
BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH - ACTIVELY SUPPORT measures that will increase Florida’s capacity for research and treatment, including clinical trials, especially measures that generate a substantial state investment in Florida’s research infrastructure. ACTIVELY SUPPORT Fiscal Year 2013-14 funding of the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program ($7.2 million) and the Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research Program ($5 million) as prescribed in law, with a peer-reviewed and competitive grant process being the basis for program funding allocations. Proposals out of both chambers depict increases in biomedical research funding, but they direct the dollars in very different ways. The Senate has maintained the funding for both King and Bankhead-Coley and provided additional dollars directly to the major cancer centers in the state. The House brings the funding for both programs to a total of $10 million each and provides additional funding to the individual institutions.
TOBACCO PREVENTION AND EDUCATION - ACTIVELY SUPPORT the continued, full implementation of Article X, Section 27 of the Florida Constitution, as intended by the voters, funding the program at $65.6 million for FY 2013-14. Both chambers appear to be on target for this level of funding. As the budget process continues to progress, we will need our grassroots network to advocate for our life-saving mission. Please stay tuned for regular updates, and be ready to respond to calls to action.
SB 422, The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act by Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R - Ft. Myers), passed unanimously out of the Senate this week. HB 301 by Rep. Debbie Mayfield (R - Vero Beach) still has one more committee stop before it makes it to the House floor.
LIGHTS OF HOPE - On February 20th, the statewide group of ACS CAN volunteers who attended Advocacy Day in Tallahassee shared the cancer stories of their loved ones through a “Lights of Hope” display on the steps of the historic Old Capitol. To show how much stronger the support of our message has become since then, we’re planning another Lights of Hope display on April 22nd. YOU can take part by sending a Light of Hope to Tallahassee in honor or in memory of someone you love. For a $10 donation, your Light of Hope bag will be displayed on the Capitol steps in April. For more information, please go to: www.acscan.org/floridalightsofhope
As always, updated information on ACS CAN’s legislative priorities can be found at www.acscan.org/florida and you can get real-time updates on Twitter. Follow us at https://twitter.com/ACSCAN_Florida.
Yours in the Fight, Heather
Heather Wildermuth Director of Government Relations ACS CAN, Florida Division