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2006 Legislative Session Tallahassee Final Report
Christopher L. Nuland, Esq.
Chapter Counsel & Lobbyist
May 8, 2006

The 2006 Legislative Session has wrapped up with the usual last-minute flurry of bills, many of which represented significant victories.

The penultimate day saw the passage of several significant bills, not the least was HB 487, the Truth in Medical Education Bill. This bill requires all practitioners in an outpatient setting to disclose to the patient the license under which they are operating and should help prevent the deceptive practice of less-qualified practitioners concealing their training. Special thanks go to all those who worked so hard on behalf of the bill, especially Francie Plendl and Sarah Rothell of the FMA, the countless physicians who lobbied the bill, and our wonderful sponsors, Representative Bill Galvano and Senator Mike Bennett. But the biggest thanks go to our sponsors' legislative aides, Jennifer Foster and Cheryl Ennis, both of whom have worked on this bill for several years and simply refused to accept defeat.

Also on Thursday the Senate deleted a provision that could have imperiled the long-term viability of Amendment 3. The FMA lobbying team did a remarkable job of working this issue up until the final minute.

Of course, not all of our victories went down to the wire. HB 699, which reduces CME requirements, requires reasonable supervision of satellite offices, and allows a referred patient the right to see the physician specialist, passed a couple of weeks ago and is awaiting the Governor's signature. We will, however, have to continue to work this issue, as the Governor is being lobbied by special interests to veto the bill despite its support from nurses, physician assistants, and physicians.

Finally, many of our victories came from bills that did not pass. For instance, the efforts of Senator Jones and Representative Farkas to eliminate a physician's right to self-insure was defeated, as were attempts to allow ARNP prescribing of controlled substances and to license "naturopathic" physicians.

At 11:59 p.m. on Friday the House passed Representative Harrell's Cancer Drug Donation Bill (HB 371). This Bill allows certain unused and unadulterated cancer drugs to be given to low-income patients who otherwise could not afford them, with appropriate safeguards. We helped to pass many good bills this year, but this one will actually save lives immediately. Congratulations to Representative Harrell on that unique kind of bill that serves no special interest other than the public health and does it without breaking the State's bank.

Overall, it was an exceptional year legislatively, one that would not have been possible without the teamwork of our staff, the FMA, other specialty societies and to our chapter physicians and associates who took time out of their schedules to advocate for their patients and profession in Tallahassee. Thanks to all of you~

Page updated: 5/12/06