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HB 357 – Pharmacies & Pharmacy Benefit Managers
Sponsor: Rep. Jackie Toledo
Companion: SB 1476 (Sens. Wright & Perry)

The bill revises provisions of the Florida Insurance Code relating to the oversight of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) by the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). A PBM is a person or entity doing business in Florida, which contracts to administer prescription drug benefits on behalf of a health insurer or a health maintenance organization (HMO) to residents of Florida.

Specifically, the bill:

  • Requires a health insurer or HMO, and any entity acting on their behalf, including a PBM, to comply with the pharmacy audit provisions;
  • Specifies that a health insurer or HMO that contracts with a PBM is responsible for any violation of the pharmacy audit provisions committed by such PBM;
  • Transfers pharmacy audit rights relating to audits by a PBM or an insurer to the Florida Insurance Code and authorizes the OIR to enforce these provisions;
  • Authorizes an audited pharmacy to appeal certain final audit findings made by a health insurer or HMO, or PBM acting on their behalf; and
  • Provides that a person who fails to register with the OIR while operating a PBM is subject to a $10,000 fine for each violation.

SB 7034 – Child Welfare
Sponsor: Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee

The bill makes three important changes to current law aimed at benefiting the lives of children in foster care.

  • First, the bill increases the monthly payment amounts for relative and nonrelative caregivers who have children placed with them in out-of-home care to achieve parity with the rates for Level II through Level V family foster home placements under the following circumstances:

For caregivers who have obtained licensure as a child-specific Level I foster placement who have a child placed with them, regardless of whether a court has found that the child is dependent, from the time the child is placed in their care until the child reaches permanency. For caregivers, regardless of whether they have obtained a child-specific Level I license, who have a dependent child placed with them, from the date the child is found to be dependent or from the date the child is placed with them, whichever is later, for a period of not more than 6 months or until the child achieves permanency, whichever occurs first. This provision ensures that the 6 month timeline for licensure only begins once two circumstances are satisfied, including both that the child has been found to be dependent and that the child has actually been placed with the relative or nonrelative.

Additionally, the bill provides that relatives or nonrelatives who do not obtain licensure as a child-specific Level I foster placement within 6 months from the specified date will receive a monthly payment less than the $333 monthly payment provided to a participant enrolled in the Guardianship Assistance Program (GAP) as determined by rule and will be applicable until the child achieves permanency or the relative or nonrelative caregiver obtains licensure as a child-
specific Level I foster placement, whichever occurs first.

  • The bill also provides a $200 per month per child subsidy to any foster parents and relative and nonrelative caregivers who have a child placed in their home between the ages of birth to school entry regardless of whether the caregiver is licensed or not. The subsidy may be provided as long as the child is placed in out-of-home care with the caregiver and is the subject of an open dependency proceeding.
  • Lastly, the bill expands the scope of potential students eligible for a tuition and fee exemption at a workforce education program, a Florida College System institution or a state university, to certain students who have been the subject of a shelter, dependency, or termination of parental rights proceeding, and who:
    • Is in a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families relative caregiver placement at the time he or she reached 18 years of age;
    • After reaching 14 years of age, spent at least 18 months in out-of-home care and were then reunited with his or her parents who were the subject of the dependency proceeding before reaching 18 years of age; and
    • Were placed in a permanent guardianship and remains in such guardianship either until the student either reaches 18 years of age or, if before reaching 18 years of age, he or she enrolls in an eligible institution.

HB 195 – Juvenile Program Expunction
Sponsor: Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee, Rep. David Smith
Companion: SB 342 (Sen. Perry)

  • The bill amends s. 943.0582, F.S., to permit a juvenile who completed a diversion program for misdemeanor and felony offenses, other than a forcible felony or a felony involving the manufacture, sale, purchase, transport, possession, or use of a firearm or weapon, to apply to have the nonjudicial arrest record expunged. This expands the current law, which only permits juvenile diversion expunction for a misdemeanor offense.
  • Additionally, the bill amends s. 985.126, F.S., to permit a juvenile who completes a diversion program and who has been granted an expunction under s. 943.0582, F.S., to lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge his or her participation in the program and such expunction of the nonjudicial arrest record. This expands the current law, which only permits a juvenile who completes diversion for a first-time misdemeanor offense to lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge his or her participation in the program and the expunction.

SB 988 – In Person Visitation
Sponsor: Sen. Ileana Garcia


The bill establishes the “No Patient Left Alone Act” (Act), creating s. 408.823, F.S. The bill applies to developmental disabilities centers as defined in s. 393.063, F.S., hospitals licensed under ch. 395, F.S., nursing home facilities licensed under part II of ch. 400, F.S., hospice facilities licensed under part IV of ch. 400, F.S., intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled licensed and certified under part VIII of ch. 400, F.S., and assisted living facilities licensed under part I of ch. 429, F.S.

The bill requires that, no later than 30 days after the act becomes effective, each provider must establish visitation policies and procedures that:

  • Address specified topics including infection control and education protocols and policies for visitors, permissible lengths of visits, and numbers of visitors;
  • May not be more stringent than what the provider requires for staff;
  • May not require proof of vaccine or immunization;
  • Must allow consensual physical contact between the resident, client, or patient and the visitor; and
  • Must allow in-person visitation under specified circumstances including:
    • End-of-life situations.

The bill also allows each resident, client, or patient to designate an essential caregiver who must be allowed to visit the resident, client, or patient in-person for at least two additional hours daily in addition to other visitation requirements.

SB 896 – Educator Certification Pathways for Veterans
Sponsor: Sens. Danny Burgess & Perry


The bill provides an alternative pathway for veterans seeking subject area certification by removing the requirement for a baccalaureate degree for issuance of their temporary educator certificate if certain requirements are met.

To qualify for a temporary certificate under this pathway, the applicant must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age;
  • File an affidavit in which the applicant subscribes to and agrees to uphold the   principles of the state and federal Constitutions;
  • Submit to criminal background screening;
  • Competent and capable of performing the duties, functions, and responsibilities   of an educator; and
  • Demonstrates mastery of the subject matter pursuant to state board rule.

The exception for a bachelor’s degree under this provision applies only to subject area specializations that require a bachelor’s degree for issuance of a temporary certificate. To qualify for the exception, the applicant, must in addition to the qualifications above, also document:

  • Completion of at least 48 months of active duty military service with an honorable discharge or medical separation; and
  • Completion of at least 60 college credits with a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 grade scale, as provided by one or more accredited institutions of higher learning or a non-accredited institution of higher learning that the Department of Education (DOE) has identified as having a quality program resulting in a bachelor’s degree or higher.

While teaching under a temporary certificate, the person must be assigned a teacher mentor for a minimum of 2 school years after commencing employment. The teacher mentor must hold a valid professional teaching certificate, have at least 3 years of teaching experience, and have earned an effective or highly effective performance evaluation rating.