This week, legislators are back in their districts celebrating Passover and the Easter holiday. They do not come back into session until Monday.
Last week, the legislature considered several tax cut proposals that will be ultimately decided in budget conferencing which begins next week. With it being an election year, there are not many controversial bills still in play; however, we are watching legislation closely as this is the time legislators try to revive bills that were failing by amending pieces of those bills into other bills that have a better chance of passing. NFIB will continue to fight for your business all the way through sine die.
Other session business that impacts you:
• Senate Bill 1352, which makes it much easier for a doctor to deviate from step therapy for prescription drugs, cleared its second of three committees in the Senate. Its companion, House Bill 1001, is awaiting a hearing at its second stop. Step-therapy or “fail-first” protocols for prescription medication coverage require a patient to try a generic drug before receiving coverage for a more expensive name brand drug. Step therapy was introduced in the 1980s and has the effect of lowering overall health care costs. Many managed care plans, HMOs and insurers, including Medicaid plans, require step therapy. This bill is being pushed by the pharmaceutical industry and will have the effect of increasing health insurance costs to employers and to taxpayers. NFIB opposes this bill and is working to ensure that it does not pass.
• Senate Memorial 658, which calls on Congress to convene an Article V Convention of the States to draft a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed the Senate last week. That Senate Memorial is on the House calendar for April 21. If it passes, Florida will become the 24th state to pass a similar provision. The U.S. Constitution requires 34 states to pass this memorial in order to trigger the convention. NFIB/Florida supports this memorial which calls on Congress to get its house in order.
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