Polk County Advanced Practice Nurses Association
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Week 7 Legislative update

Posted over 6 years ago by Michelle Rampersad

2012 Legislative Session Week 7 Update Friday, February 24, 2012

The annual legislative session is rapidly progressing, with week 7 culminating in the full Senate’s passage of a $71.2 billion budget for FY 2012-13. This sets the stage for negotiations with the House through a conference committee process to reconcile the differences between the two chambers’ appropriations bills. The Senate’s budget action this week notably included the addition of important language that would direct the Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research Program to offer at least one competitive grant aimed at enhancing participation in cancer clinical trials. Also in the biomedical research arena, the week saw continued movement of legislation that will improve state’s 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). The measures are all poised to pass both chambers and be sent to the Governor in the coming days.

Two more session weeks are scheduled prior to adjournment, and entering week 8 here’s where the Society’s three major 2012 session priorities 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 just passed by the full Senate 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 coming days will settle 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 if they are issued in the waning days of session! 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