Senate Committee Pushes Through Bills For Consideration In Full Chamber

Apr 15, 2015

James "Doc" Riechenbach speaks before the Senate's Fiscal Policy Committee Wednesday in this screen capture of a Florida Channel broadcast.

A Senate committee is sending more than two dozen bills to the full chamber. The 2015 Legislative Session is nearing an end, and lawmakers are looking to shoe horn their proposals through.

Among the bills the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee okayed on Wednesday is a traffic safety rule that would penalize drivers who hit cyclists and pedestrians on public streets. Motorcyclist James “Doc” Riechenbach says the bill could reduce the number of people who are hit by drivers.

“This bill does cover all vulnerable road users not just bicycles. We’re all vulnerable out there on two wheels…and pedestrians, all of us,” Riechenbach says.

A similar bill is heading to the House floor for debate.

Also headed to the senate floor is a bill that would allow physicians to check for HIV during regular health screenings without patients’ written consent. The bill’s sponsor is Sen. Gerri Thompson (D-Orlando). She says the state would be better able to help prevent the spread of HIV if residents knew their status.

“They would be required to inform the patient that there could be a battery of tests including HIV, and at that point, the patient could opt out,” Thompson says.

The Senate will also be hearing bills aimed at helping people with disabilities and one to that protects people who need service animals. Other bills would allow business owners to recover from identity theft and update the list of dangerous controlled substances.