Legislative Week 3 Update
2012 Legislative Session Week 3 Update Friday, January 27, 2012
The third week of the 2012 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature has come to a close, with six more slated before the scheduled March 9th adjournment. The week culminated in House committee movement on redistricting, a task undertaken by the Legislature every ten years. Next week the House will take up its maps on the floor, putting that chamber in the same posture as the Senate, which took up its own maps earlier in the session.
House appropriators also kick-started their proposed FY 2012-13 spending plans, with the various appropriations committee chairmen proffering initial proposals. The Senate is expected to begin its process in the coming days, with a conference committee ultimately reconciling the differences prior to a General Appropriations Act being sent to the Governor. The American Cancer Society, Florida Division, has three major priorities this session:
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. The initial House budget proposal on Health and Human Services does not contain this allocation.
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. The initial House plan calls for $25 million from the state’s tobacco surcharge revenue to be split equally ($5 million) between the King Program, the Bankhead-Coley Program, Moffitt, Shands, and UM-Sylvester. Substantive legislation in both chambers that would improve the mechanics of the King and Bankhead-Coley Programs, HB’s 655 and 657 by Rep. Marti Coley (R-Marianna) and SB’s 616 and 1856 by Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami) have cleared initial committee hurdles and are poised for further movement heading into Week 4.
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. Early indications are that the House budget will include an amount close to this request. It should be noted that 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.
As the budget process moves forward, we will need our grassroots network to vigorously advocate for our life-saving mission. Please stay tuned for regular updates, and be ready to respond to calls to actionwhen 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