2012 Legislative update Week 4
Week 4 Update Friday, February 3, 2012
We’re now four weeks into the Florida Legislature’s 2012 Regular Session and nearing the midway point, with five more on tap before the scheduled March 9th adjournment. A busy week is coming to a close with House floor action on legislative redistricting. The Senate leadership has stated it will make completing the Legislature’s reapportionment function a priority next week by acting on the House’s plan, paving the way for court review of the new maps in advance of the next election, when every seat will be at stake.
The House this week also further advanced its proposed FY 2012-13 budget, working it through its full Appropriations Committee. The Senate has been slower to commence its own appropriations process, although that endeavor is expected to pick up steam next week. The Society’s focus in the coming days will be on attempting to influence the upper chamber’s health care appropriators to include our top priorities in their spending plan. The American Cancer Society, Florida Division’s three major priorities this session are:
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 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 now passed out of multiple committees and are getting closer to floor consideration.
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. The House budget currently funds this program.
We will need our grassroots network to vigorously advocate for our life-saving mission in the coming days. Please stay tuned for regular updates, and be ready to respond to calls to action 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