Week 5 from CAN, A Pivotal Week
2011 Legislative Session - Week 5 Update
April 8. 2011
The fifth week of the state’s 2011 legislative session culminated in floor passage of Senate and House budgets that will set the stage for conference committee deliberations beginning as early as next week. Substantial differences remain in the two chambers’ spending plans, with the Senate’s $69.8 billion budget allocating significantly more resources to state programs and services than the House’s less robust $66.5 billion spending plan for FY 2011-12. As has been the case since the outset of this year’s budget process, the American Cancer Society’s priorities continue to fare better in the Senate’s budget, with decimating cuts to biomedical research funding continuing to be our biggest hurdle in the House of Representatives.
Following are updates on the American Cancer Society’s top priorities heading into the sixth 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 was not in the new administration’s plan, nor is it in either the Senate or House appropriations packages adopted this week.
BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH – The Senate’s budget still includes $52.2 million for biomedical research, with $12.2 million for the King Biomedical Research Program and $10 million each for the Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research Program, Moffitt Cancer Center, UF Shands, and UM Sylvester Cancer Center. The House has just $1.2 million for the King Program and would eliminate all funds for research designated in statute. The House budget conforming bill that would end an annual allocation of $50 million for biomedical research from annual tobacco surcharge proceeds, HB 5303 by House Health Care Appropriations Chairman Matt Hudson (R-Naples) passed the full House this week on a 77-41 vote. A different measure the ACS strongly supports, SB 720 by Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville), which would make improvements in law to the state’s biomedical research programs, passed its second committee of reference, House Higher Education, this week. Its companion measure, HB 377 by Rep. Marti Coley (R-Marianna), however, has still yet to be considered.
TOBACCO PREVENTION AND EDUCATION – The Senate and House budgets adopted this week have matching $62.2 million allocations for this program, and in a manner consistent with the budget request made by ACS and its tobacco control allies. HB 891 by Rep. Bill Hager (R-Boca Raton), which would rightfully allow school boards more authority to regulate smoking on campuses, passed out of its first committee of reference, Rulemaking and Regulation, earlier this session, but has not yet been scheduled for additional hearings. A companion measure in the Senate, SB 1430 by Sen. Thad Altman (R-Melbourne), has also moved through one committee, Regulated Industries, and is awaiting further consideration.
Appropriations deliberations continue with the formal budget conference committee process likely beginning next week. As always, we encourage our grassroots network to promote our life-saving mission. Please continue to look for additional updates, and of course stand ready to respond to grassroots alerts. Updated information on the American Cancer Society’s legislative priorities can be found at www.acscan.org/florida, Thank you!
Yours in the Fight,
Vice President, Advocacy & Public Policy
American Cancer Society, Florida Division