Scott's Busy Week: Gov. Signs More Than 100 Bills Into Law
More than a hundred bills made their way across Gov. Rick Scott’s desk this week. The governor approved nearly all of them.
Rep. Ray Pilon (R-Sarasota) sponsored the Right to Try Act in the House.
“I just think it is going to be such a value for those people that at the present time don’t have hope, that they possibly might have hope,” Pilon says.
“It says that if under the hospice rules of twelve months being terminally ill,” Pilon continues, “and that if your doctor determines that all other course of action is of no use in your situation, that you will be allowed to try an experimental drug or device or treatment currently under FDA at least first phase testing.”
The governor’s approval of an abortion waiting period bill has garnered the most attention, but there were a number of other health related bills signed into law, as well. Psychiatric nurses will now have greater latitude to release patients, and pharmacy interns can administer vaccinations. Rep. Julio Gonzalez (R-Venice) gained approval for a public health emergencies bill.
“[It] would allow the state, or would give the authority to the state, to quarantine patients as well as isolate patients, not just one or the other,” Gonzalez says.
Rep. Larry Ahern (R-Seminole) passed a bill giving state health regulators more tools to deal with assisted living facilities.
“It allows them to go back to—more quickly—the bad actors,” Ahern says. “In six months, if they’ve had more than two serious violations there’s a required response back in six months to make sure they’re corrected and if not or if a third violation occurs, they could actually suspend their license or shut them down. So it’s a little more forceful than it was before.”
But it wasn’t all health related. The governor also approved a bill that will help the state’s independent universities finance building projects, and revamped the state’s public library system. But Rep. Larry Lee (D-Port St. Lucie) is most excited about a five year pilot program aimed at boosting literacy in his county.
“We will test them as they come into the program,” Lee says, “we’ll have certain standards and performance measurements that we’ll be looking at as we go from year to year, and where they came in at the end of the program.”
“Where are they reading? Are they reading on grade level?” Lee asks. “And our goal is if we feel we’re successful if we can get 80 plus percent.”
But not all the bills garnered approval. Wednesday, Scott brought out the veto pen against a bill exempting some physicians from licensing requirements to sell electrostimulation equipment.