UW logo
            United Gazette
                                         Weekly News from the Capitol
Special Session - Issue 2June 15, 2015
A weekly update during the Florida Legislative Session, highlighting how United Way is working to make our community a better place to live.
Top News: Special Session Continues 
old and new capitol
Last week, the budget conference committees wrapped up their work and 'bumped up' unresolved issues to the House and Senate budget chairs, Senator Tom Lee and Representative Richard Corcoran.   By Sunday night, they had settled most of their differences, including allocation of Low Income Pool (LIP) funds among the state's hospitals, and the highly contentious issue of environmental spending to meet the requirements of Amendment 1, approved by voters last year. 

(The question of how to replace the loss of $1 billion in federal LIP funding -- half of the current amount -- was answered by allocating $396 million in state funds to be used as match to draw down an additional $604 million in other federal health care funds. As a result, next year's budget comes close to the $2.2 billion in LIP funds in this year's budget.)

The remaining differences were in the education budget. These must be resolved by Tuesday in order for the Legislature to vote on the final budget by June 20 and avoid a government shutdown on June 30, the end of Florida's fiscal year.

Quick Links

Important Special Session Information

Last day of the Special Session: June 20

Fiscal year ends: June 30

Tax Cut Bill
Last week, the House passed its omnibus 2015-2016 tax cut bill. The plan cuts $436.5 million in taxes next year and $299.3 million annually thereafter, far less than the almost $700 million supported by both Governor Scott and the House during the regular session. The Senate tax cut bill, which further reduces tax cuts to $400 million, will be heard on the Senate floor this week.
Health Care Bills
The Senate's health care expansion plan, 'Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange' or 'FHIX, was rejected by the House in the first week of the Special Session. Instead, the House passed a series of bills intended to address health care costs including:
  • expanded authority for nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to prescribe drugs;
  • authority for surgical centers to keep patients up to 72 hours; and 
  • elimination of the Certificate of Need (CON) process, which requires state approval for high-cost medical facilities such as hospitals.
The Senate will vote on the House health care bills this week.
Questions or Comments?

If you have questions or comments regarding the United Gazette and how United Way is working in Tallahassee to support your community, contact Ted Granger, United Way of Florida, or Jess Scher, United Way of Miami-Dade.