2012 Legislative Session Week 1 Update
2012 Legislative Session Week 1 Update Friday, January 13, 2012
The 2012 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature formally commenced on Tuesday, the rare January start a result of its once-a-decade obligation to reapportion Florida’s state legislative and congressional districts, in addition to its other constitutionally-required duties. Governor Rick Scott, and the legislative leadership, Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R-Melbourne) and House Speaker Dean Cannon (R-Winter Park), once again laid out their respective agendas in opening day speeches. Despite a full slate of competing priorities that includes redistricting, economic development, and the future of gambling in our state, health care will once again play a prominent role in the session’s proceedings.
The American Cancer Society, Florida Division has three priorities this session, and we’ll have an excellent opportunity to showcase these issues before our state legislators next Wednesday, January 18th, as a contingent of some 150 volunteers converges upon the Capitol to speak with one clear voice in support of the following objectives:
BREAST CANCER SCREENING - The American Cancer Society ACTIVELY SUPPORTS state funding for the Mary Brogan Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program at a level equivalent to one-fourth of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s $4,945,890 program investment in Florida, with a state investment of $1,236,473 in FY 2012-13. Florida is currently one of only seven states that rely solely on federal funding for this type of program. We also SUPPORT evidence-based measures which increase access to mammography for women, consistent with ACS guidelines, as well as measures that ensure adequate insurance coverage for procedures related to breast cancer screening and treatment.
BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH - We ACTIVELY SUPPORT continuation funding for the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program ($7.2 million) and the Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research Program ($10 million), with a peer-reviewed and competitive grant process being the basis for program funding allocations. Current law also calls for a $5 million allocation each to the Moffitt Cancer Center, the UF-Shands Cancer Hospital, and the UM-Sylvester Cancer Center. We also SUPPORT measures that will enhance Florida’s capacity for research and treatment, including clinical trials.
TOBACCO PREVENTION AND EDUCATION - The Society ACTIVELY SUPPORTS the continued, full implementation of Article X, Section 27 of the Florida Constitution, as intended by the voters, funding the program at $64,391,331 for FY 2012-13. Since the voters dedicated a percentage of the state’s annual tobacco settlement to tobacco prevention and education in 2006, the program has, in concert with other successful tobacco control policies, resulted in more than 500,000 fewer smokers. Most importantly, this effort means fewer kids taking up the deadly habit. It also helps to limit growth in the state’s Medicaid expenditures.
In the face of another challenging budget year for the Legislature, we will need to rely on our grassroots network to vigorously advocate for our life-saving mission. Please stay tuned for regular updates, and of course stand ready to respond to grassroots alerts when they are issued.
As always, updated information on the American Cancer Society’s legislative priorities can be found at www.acscan.org/florida.
Yours in the Fight, Paul
Paul Hull Vice President, Advocacy & Public Policy American Cancer Society, Florida Division