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2006 Legislative Session Report
Christopher L. Nuland
Chapter General Counsel
March 9, 2006

The first week of session was unusually eventful, with long-awaited bills finally making their first appearance and significant battles already being fully engaged.

Among the bills filed at the last minute were the long-awaited Expert Witness Certification Bills, filed by Senator Webster (SB 2686) and Representative Brummer (HB 1561). On the other hand, the Naturopathic Physician Bill obtained both Senate (Senator Webster) and House sponsors (Representative Bowen), and must now be defeated.

Two issues of key concern received hearings in the first week. ACP Council member Frank Farmer, M.D., FACP provided crucial testimony supporting the need for the Board of Medicine to be able to regulate physicians who supervise physician extenders. The bill, HB 699, passed the House Regulation Committee by a 7-4 vote over the strenuous objections of the nurses and physician assistants. Also, in what promises to be an ongoing battle, opponents of a proposed PIP physician fee schedule appeared to have the early advantage in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, which was work-shopping the PIP Bill.

While no official action was taken this week on the Truth In Medical Education (TIME) Bill (HB 587 and SB 416), the bill received several notable pledges of support from members of the health committees to which it has been referred.

Special thanks go to this week's Chapter delegation of Governor-Elect Malcolm T. Foster, Jr. M.D., FACP, Legislative Chairman N.H. Tucker, III, M.D., FACP and Council Member H. Frank Farmer, M.D., Ph.D. The ACP team not only held meetings with almost a dozen legislators, but also testified in support of three different bills (all of which passed). Special thanks also goes to the Florida Medical Association, especially President-Elect Patrick Hutton, M.D., Legislative Chairman Coy Irvin, M.D., and Government Affairs Director Francine Plendl, J.D. for meeting with the Chapter team in the early morning to coordinate our activities.

Page updated:3/10/06