Legislative update week 8
2012 Legislative Session Week 8 Update Friday, March 2, 2012
The 2012 legislative session is quickly coming to a head, with week 8 seeing final budget deliberations started. Appropriations conference committees, including one specifically for health and human services, have begun the process of reconciling differences in the respective House and Senate spending plans for FY 2012-13, which begins July 1st. The process is expected to continue through the weekend, as a final package will need to be completed by next Tuesday in order for the Legislature to be able to adjourn on time a week from today. We can also expect a flurry of bills to be considered on the floor of each chamber in the waning days of session, with a significant reorganization of the Florida Department of Health on the table. Eight session weeks down and one to go prior to adjournment, here’s where the Society’s three major 2012 session priorities stand heading into week 9:
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 passed by the full Senate contain this proposed allocation heading into the final conference committee process.
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 and Senate have concurred on a budget line item that 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 both the House and Senate budget. 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 prior to adjournment.
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