Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association

March 18-22, 2013 

In This Issue

Monday marked the first day of Spring, and like the weather, the legislative agenda is heating up. This week's hot ticket item includes the banning of internet cafes, which was put on the fast track after last week's gaming scandal that in part caused former Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll to resign. Pension reform has been listed as the Speaker's top priority and is coming to a boiling point with a vote on the House floor. FADAA has been tracking sober home legislation, yet no hearings have been scheduled.


This week in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw made a presentation on a program that identifies citizens who have a mental health challenge and may predisposed to violence prior to acting out. The "prevention intervention" team will have the authority to Baker Act individuals based on history reports of violence. The team includes mental health professionals, caseworkers, and law enforcement deputies. Sheriff Bradshaw stated that we intends on asking Palm Beach County to help fund the $3 million program, but also asked the committee to consider this proposal as a pilot project in the budget.


One-third of session complete, and next week, the Legislature will only be meeting on Wednesday and Thursday so that members can observe and celebrate Passover and the Easter holiday with their families. Budget proposals will be released. The Senate appropriations committees and House policy committees are scheduled to meet.

House Hears Smart Justice Legislation

House Judiciary Chairman Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) presented a committee bill relating to Inmate Reentry that is similar to last's years bill (HB177) that was vetoed by the Governor. Endorsed by the Florida Smart Justice Alliance, PCB JDC1 Relating to Inmate Reentry was debated by the committee, with opponents representing correctional officers expressing concern over the "public-private" battle. The elements of the proposal include:

  • Authorizes a judge to enter a split sentence that includes a substance abuse treatment and reentry component
  • The Department must place the inmate into an in-prison substance abuse treatment program for a minimum of 180 days. The inmate must enter this program within 9 month of release
  • Upon completion of the in-prison treatment, the offender enters into a one-year drug offender probation sanction
  • Specifies that inmates must serve 85% of their sentence
  • Limits eligibility to non-violent inmates who have been identified as having a substance abuse problem by the court, and not currently charged or previously convicted of a 1st or 2nd degree felony
  • Providing Florida-born inmates who do not have a valid driver's license a certified copy of their birth certificate to be used in acquiring a state ID card prior to release;
  • Gives DOC policy direction to expand its Faith and Character-Based programs
  • Requires the Department to monitor and track the program

FADAA Executive Director Mark Fontaine spoke in favor of the legislation and cited the success of reentry programs currently in operation that have a substance abuse treatment overlay. The proposal passed the Judiciary Committee on a 12- 6 vote. It will be refilled and given a bill number, and referred to committees. Because it is tied to funding, the bill will be referred to an appropriations committee.


The Senate bill that most closely matches this proposal is SB880, by Senator Jeremy Ring (D-Margate). The bill has been given 5 committee references.


On Wednesday, the House Health Care Appropriations committee heard a presentation by Manatee Glens CEO Mary Ruiz on Community Action Teams (CAT) that are designed to offer mental health treatment and support for adolescents and young children. 


The 2005 Legislature authorized the CAT pilot program in Manatee County. The program serves as a cost-effective alternative to foster care, juvenile justice or residential programs and provides a customized and integrated approach for each child. While state funding was eliminated in 2009, the program continued with the support of local funding.


A three-year performance evaluation showed that 87.5% of the participants were diverted from residential care; 93.7% were diverted from foster care; and 74.2% were diverted from the juvenile justice system. Ruiz pointed out that the annual program cost of $675,000 breaks even with 9 residential admission diversions and recommended expanding the program statewide and incorporating it program into the Florida Behavioral Health System Strategy.


Committee Chair Matt Hudson (R-Naples) expressed his interest in continuing to find success models throughout the state that save taxpayer dollars while treating individuals and diverting them from government burdens.

Budget Proposals Being Released

Economists at the Office of Economic & Demographic Research projected last Friday that the State may have $3.5 billion surplus for FY 2013-14. The news is positive in spite of the uncertainty of federal spending cuts resulting from sequestration.


House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) released budget allocations late Monday that included $7.752 billion in recurring and $68.1 million in nonrecurring for health care, bringing the total budget allocation to $7.820,1 billion in health care. In his memorandum, he cited the need to strengthen Florida's safety net by increasing funding to "serve our most vulnerable populations (including) citizens in need of mental health and substance abuse treatment."


The allocation for criminal justice totals $3,527.4 billion ($3,500.3 recurring and $27.1 nonrecurring). The Speaker has directed the House Justice Appropriations Chairman Charles McBurney (R-Jacksonville) to addressing current deficits in the correctional system.


Senate Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron (R-Stuart) also released allocations for subcommittee chairs. The Health and Human Services allocation is $74.2 million less than the House allocation. The Criminal Justice allocation is $40.6 million more than the House allocation.


The below table lists allocations for recurring and non-recurring general revenue and do not include trust funds.


Budget 2013-14 FY




Health Care Recurring




Health Care Non Recurring




Health Care Total




Criminal Justice Recurring




Criminal Justice Non Recurring




Criminal Justice Total






Chairman Negron announced that all budget proposals will be made available by next Friday (March 29, 2013). Each of the senate proposals will be heard by the full Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, April 3, 2013. The amendment deadline will be on April 1, 2013, with amendment to amendment deadline April 2, 2013.


Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Chair Rob Bradley (R-Orange Park) presented the criminal justice budget proposal this week in committee that includes the following:
  • The community and institutional substance abuse prevention and treatment budget lines are consolidated into one budget line.
  • There is new funding to cover the costs of 772 new inmates in line with the Criminal Justice Estimating Conference projections
  • Inmates participating in work release will be under electronic monitoring. There are 3,766 inmates in the 33 work release centers budgeted - $7.56 million
  • One new 432 bed reentry center with DOC security staffing and contracted substance abuse treatment - $2.9 million
  • Post-adjudicatory drug court program: 13 probation officers ($761,817), administrative operations ($297,429), and drug court treatment in 8 counties ($5.544 million)
  • Drug court intervention diversion program for the 10th Judicial Circuit - $500,000
  • Maintain community substance abuse treatment ($1.3 million) and added $522,000 to the base funding for community substance abuse treatment
Update on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

It appears that the Senate Select Committee on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has concluded its policy discussions. Legislation is currently being drafted on state group insurance, health care coverage, and insurance regulation. The House Select Committee is scheduled to meet next week. Below is an update on the various ACA components.


State Group Insurance - Both the House and Senate Select Committees voted to expand the state employee health insurance program next year to cover temporary and part-time workers.



Exchanges -- For at least the first year of the ACA, the state will use a federally run online site where people can shop for insurance and check whether they qualify for federal subsidies. The State will have the ability to operate a state exchange or create a federal partnership exchange in future years.




Regulatory- State regulators started working on bringing state regulations into compliance with the federal law. The Senate select committee agreed to recommend allow the Office of Insurance Regulation's authority to approve applications, but to temporarily suspend its authority to approve policy rates, deferring to the federal Department of Health and Human Services. The committee approved a motion to maintain OIR authority for market conduct and to report potential violations to HHS.



Medicaid Expansion- The House and Senate Select Committees voted against Medicaid expansion. However, yesterday the Senate Appropriations committee voted to move a bill forward that creates an alternative to traditional Medicaid expansion.

The Negron Plan

The "Healthy Florida Program", but has been referred to as the Negron Plan or NegronCare, was heard in Senate Appropriations Committee meeting on Thursday and given full support by all of the committee members. The 47-page plan lines up with the "guiding principles" Negron revealed last week when a Senate select committee voted against Medicaid expansion and is expect to comply with PPACA, allowing the state to draw down the $52 billion in federal funds. Key highlights include:

  • The Florida Healthy Kids Corporation would administer the program with the assistance of the Agency for Health Care Administration, Department of Children and Families and Department of Health.
  • Participants would be able to chose among a variety of insurance options and would be required to pay a minimal monthly premium and co-payments, which have yet to be specified.
  • Participants would also receive health reimbursement accounts that grow as they make healthy choices. The money would be used for out-of-pocket health care costs.
  • A new 15-member board, all appointed by the Governor, Senate and House leadership, would take office July 1.
  • Florida Healthy Kids will be tasked with submitting the new plans to the federal government for approval by June 14.
  • Starting July 1, 2015, and every year after, annual statistics will be supplied to lawmakers so they can evaluate the program's performance.
  • The program would expire at the end of any fiscal year in which the federal government ever breaks its promise to provide the vast majority of funding, starting at 100 percent initially.

This idea, which passed the committee unanimously, will now be formally referred to committees for review. Senator Aaron Bean, (R-Fernandina Beach), indicated a second plan ("BeanCare") for consideration that includes utilizing the federal insurance exchange and the Florida Health Choices state-based exchange, though a formal proposal has not been released. Senator Negron expressed an interest in incorporating some of the ideas of "BeanCare" into "The Negron Plan".  

FADAA Legislative Tracking
  • The House Health Innovation Subcommittee passed a bill Relating to Background Screening (HB1021) unanimously this week. The legislation was filed to clarify several implementing rules for the Care Provider Background Screening Clearinghouse, prior to full implementation scheduled b October 1, 2013. FADAA spoke in favor of the elimination of the three-year waiting period to apply for an exemption from disqualification for a criminal offense for individuals who have completed all monetary sanctions for a felony disqualifying offense, as long as all sanctions are paid or completed before eligibility for an exemption. The remaining committee references are: Judiciary Committee; Appropriations Committee; and Health & Human Services Committee. The Senate companion, SB1112 was referred to 3 committees.
  • The House Health Innovation Subcommittee also heard a bill this week that promotes coordination between agencies by consolidating the oversight, care and services of clients of Transitional Living Facilities under the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). HB1109 requires the development of an electronic database that includes case management plans of patients. The bill also provides standards for medication management, use of restraints, infection control, safeguards for clients' funds, and emergency preparedness. The bill has the following committee references: Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee and Health & Human Services Committee. The Senate companion, SB1724 has been referred to 5 committees.
  • Both House and Senate "bath salts" bills passed the final committee references unanimously this week. FADAA supported both bills, which adds to the list of Schedule II banned controlled substances as they were heard in House Judiciary and Senate Appropriations. The Senate bill has been placed on the Special Order Calendar for 3/27/13.
In Other News...
  • Senator Gwen Margolis (D-Miami) was recognized in a Senate ceremony this week and awarded the recognition "Dean of the Senate". The award is given to the longest-serving Senator in the chamber. Margolis first served from 1980-92, from 2002-2008, and was re-elected again in 2010. She was the first woman Senate president (1990-92) in Florida and the United States.
  • Representative Clay Ford (R-Gulf Breeze) lost his battle to cancer Monday evening. Described by Speaker Weatherford as "the consummate gentleman", Representative Ford was extremely well liked by both Republicans and Democrats. He was first elected to the Florida House in 2007 after serving on the Gulf Breeze City Council from 1990-2007. He was also a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives (1975-76). Prior to that time, Ford served as a colonel in the U.S. Army, and was a member of the Army Reserve and National Guard. He is survived by his wife and three sons.
Upcoming Dates to Remember

Listed below is the calendar for week 4 of the 2013 Legislative Session.



March 27, 2013


House Criminal Justice Subcommittee

404 H


House Health Quality Subcommittee

306 H




Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice

37 S




House Healthy Families Subcommittee

12 H




Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services

412 K




House Health & Human Services Committee

17 H









H Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee

212 K



March 28, 2013


House Health Innovation Subcommittee

306 H


House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee

17 H



Senate Appropriations

412 K



House Judiciary Committee

404 H



House Select Committee on PPACA

102 H



House Appropriations Committee

212 K



Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association
850-878-2196 | fadaa@fadaa.org | http://www.fadaa.org
2868 Mahan Drive, Suite 1
Tallahassee, FL 32308

Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association | 2868 Mahan Drive | Suite 1 | Tallahassee | FL | 32308