Week 6 legislative update
Week 6 Update
Friday, February 17, 2012
Week 6 of the 2012 Florida Legislative Session saw the Senate Budget Committee adopt an appropriations bill to send to the floor, bringing the upper chamber closer in the budget process to the House, which has already passed its own FY 2012-13 spending plan and stands ready to hammer out a final package with the Senate. Significant public health highlights from Tallahassee’s action this week included initial movement on proposals to reorganize the Florida Department of Health (HB 1263 by Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, and SB 1824 by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah), a second committee hurdle cleared by a measure that would address the proliferation of “roll your own” tobacco shops and the attendant tax avoidance (HB 615 by Rep. Mike Horner, R-Kissimmee), and continued movement of legislation that will improve the state’s biomedical research programs (HB’s 655 and 657 by Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna, and SB’s 616 and 1856 by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami).
Nearly two-thirds of the session is now behind us, with three more weeks scheduled prior to adjournment. Heading into a critical week 7, here’s where the Society’s three major priorities this session stand:
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. Neither the appropriations package adopted by the full House nor the plan proffered by the Senate Budget Committee this week contain this proposed 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 House budget includes $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. Additionally, Sanford-Burnham in Orlando has a $3 million research line item in the House budget. The Senate budget has a similar distribution of funds for biomedical research. 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) continue to progress well and are all poised for legislative approval this session.
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. The House and Senate budgets each fund the program at a slightly lesser amount, $64,289,944, although the plans are generally within the parameters of the Society’s recommendations, which are based upon CDC Best Practices for Tobacco Control. The budget negotiations between the two chambers in the final weeks of session will reconcile the differences between the spending categories within the program.
Please continue to 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,
Vice President, Advocacy & Public Policy
American Cancer Society, Florida Division