2019 Legislative Wrap-Up
Florida’s legislative session is complete for 2019. By this time, you have heard about some of the big issues that passed such as smokable medical marijuana, felon voting rights restoration, disallowing sanctuary cities, arming teachers in classrooms, and texting while driving. Some other bills of general interest that passed include clearing the way for complete autonomous operation of vehicles without a human driver present and setting up a task force to explore the use of blockchain technology in state operations. All very interesting and we start again in just a few short months with committee meetings and the start of the 2020 legislative session on January 14, 2020. Read more.
FSLA’s Policy Statement
To the extent allowed by law and consistent with its 501(c) 6 tax-exempt purposes, the role of FSLA in government relations, public policy, and advocacy is to:
- Communicate the association’s position to elected or appointed officials and their staffs in the legislative, judicial and / or executive branches of government at a local, state, or national level;
- Keep members aware of information related to public policy initiatives; and
- Assist policymakers and their staff by providing working knowledge, sharing expertise and serving as a valuable resource to provide accurate and timely information.
FSLA’s 2019 Legislative Workshop
A Huge Thank You to everyone who participated this year!
This year’s Legislative Workshop was a huge success thanks to our members and industry partners who came out to share their knowledge and give voice to issues relevant to senior living in Florida. The visits with legislators were impactful and important in promoting the highlights to the House and Senate bills (HB 1349 & SB 1592) that we drafted and requested to be introduced during session. The bills modify assisted living statutes to keep pace with changing seniors’ expectations and industry standards for today and into the future. The proposals seek to position Florida’s assisted living providers to compete with other states for the competitive senior living market, and to keep and grow jobs in Florida.
The bills in the House and the Senate:
- Seek to modernize the assisted living experience for Florida’s seniors and improve housing options for seniors who need to transition out of their own home, but a nursing home setting is not necessary.
- Provide legislative policy guidance that empowers consumers to better participate in directing their care. It recognizes that assisted living communities are residential models with a health care overlay by expanding services and choices in the residential setting through the use of technological advances and innovations in health and safety.
- Allow state agencies and assisted living providers to operate more efficiently where it can safely be achieved, by reducing red tape, making clarifications, and removing duplications and confusion in statute.
See the full bill talking points here.
highlights from the workshop and legislative Visits
FSLA Members Meet Their Legislators
We strive to create a regulatory environment that maximizes flexibility and allows senior living providers to offer a variety of quality care options and choices to consumers. Regulations should recognize and promote operational excellence in communities throughout the state. We represent our members’ interests at the local, state and federal levels.
- In 2018, FSLA was successful in working with the regulatory agency, the Agency for Health Care Administration, in passing legislation that gives the state more tools to crack down on unlicensed assisted living facilities, reduces regulatory burdens on assisted living providers and reduces litigation impacts from residents’ rights.
- FSLA successfully negotiated reasonable revisions to the proposed emergency generator rule (removed references to resident rights, reduced the amount of fuel storage, reduced the square footage required to be cooled, expanded the implementation date, and inserted a waiver process to go beyond the stated implementation date if necessary).
- In March 2018, FSLA was successful in negotiating the removal of Constitutional Proposal 88 which would have removed the cap on punitive damages and effectively eliminated the use of arbitration agreements in assisted living communities.
- In Fall 2017, FSLA successfully challenged an emergency rule requiring the installation of generators by Nov. 15, 2017.
- In Summer 2017, FSLA filed a challenge to burdensome and costly assisted living operating rules that ultimately resulted in the rules being withdrawn.
- In 2016, we passed state legislation to update a decades’ old fire and life safety code in statute, allowing communities to choose to use newer codes.
- In 2015 and 2016, FSLA worked to update regulations to ensure state agencies do not impose burdensome costs on providers or exceed their jurisdiction when interpreting new laws.
- In 2015, FSLA passed state legislation that brought significant reforms to assisted living communities, including more services for unlicensed staff to assist with self-administration of medications and the ability for nurses in LNS communities to practice to their full scope, among other improvements.
- In 2014, FSLA increased state funding for Medicaid Assistive Care Services by $5 million.
- In 2013 and 2014, FSLA prevented passage of major legislation that would have hit the profession with costly registration fees and fines.
Looking for information about Florida’s regulatory structure for senior living communities? Click here.