Week 2 Legislative Update
2011 Session - Week 2 Update
Friday, March 18, 2011
The second week of the 2011 session in Tallahassee was marked by the swift passage of a sweeping reform bill on teacher pay, as well as additional steps by the Legislature to advance its efforts to revamp the state’s $20.3 billion Medicaid system, upon which some 2.9 million Floridians rely for health care. Unlike last year’s political backdrop, more consistent and ready cooperation between the sitting Governor and the presiding officers of both chambers has made progress on such landmark measures more of a certainty. Moreover, the lack of at least a third of the seats for the minority party, in either chamber, has paved the way procedurally for easier movement of the majority party’s unified agenda.
Still looming over the Legislature’s early deliberations is the projected $3.6 billion budget deficit as lawmakers make preparations to craft an FY 2010-11 budget. The state’s economists may even downgrade the state’s revenue estimates today, creating an even bigger gap moving forward. The various budget committees, including Health and Human Services, are expected to produce initial spending plans as early as next week.
Following are updates on the American Cancer Society’s top priorities heading into the third week of the scheduled 9-week session:
BREAST CANCER SCREENING – The Florida Division’s budget request of $1.24 million in state dollars for the Mary Brogan Program to augment the CDC’s federal grant to Florida, which was not in the new administration’s plan, is pending in the Legislature.
BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH – SB 720, a measure which would make policy improvements to the state’s biomedical research programs, by Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville), is scheduled for its first committee hearing next Tuesday, March 22nd, in Senate Health Regulation. Its companion measure, HB 377 by Rep. Marti Coley (R-Marianna), has yet to be scheduled for consideration. Our budget request of a combined $42.2 million for the King and Bankhead-Coley Research Programs is pending. The Governor does have an allocation for biomedical research in his proposed budget that would cover these programs.
TOBACCO PREVENTION AND EDUCATION – The $62.2 million budget request made by ACS and its tobacco control allies, consistent with the voter-approved constitutional amendment of 2006, is pending. The Governor included $62.3 million in his initial budget proposal to the Legislature.
Appropriations deliberations are expected to begin in earnest next week. As always, we will need to rely on our grassroots network to vigorously advocate for our life-saving mission. Please stay tuned for ongoing updates, and of course stand ready to respond to grassroots alerts. As always, updated information on the American Cancer Society’s legislative priorities can be found at www.acscan.org/florida.
Yours in the Fight,
Vice President, Advocacy & Public Policy
American Cancer Society, Florida Division