Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed 34 bills into law today, including one requiring law enforcement agencies to adopt policies and training protocols for using officer-worn body cameras and another that makes it legal again for Floridians to carry concealed slungshots.
Scott also signed legislation carving out dental services from Medicaid managed care plans. It's a change supporters say will lower costs and better mirror the private insurance market, where medical coverage and dental coverage are generally provided by different insurers.
Currently, Medicaid recipients' dental coverage is from the same provider as their medical.
The bill requires a study by the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability to assess the idea before it goes into effect, allowing lawmakers to come back to the table and change course if need be. In his letter approving the legislation, Scott issued a stern warning to lawmakers:
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"While I am giving my approval to this bill today," he wrote, "if the results of the study do not demonstrate better quality dental care at reduced costs than the net benefits provided under Statewide Medicaid Managed Care today, I expect the 2017 Legislature to amend the statute immediately to protect Medicaid recipients and the services they receive through Statewide Medicaid Managed Care."
Meanwhile, the body-camera legislation (HB 93) sailed through the Legislature this session, garnering unanimous approval from both chambers. The new law doesn't require agencies to use body cameras but will ensure that those that do have proper procedures in place.
As of October, 18 police agencies in Florida — including Miami and Miami Beach — used body cameras. Another 10, such as Tampa police, were operating pilot programs.
“This bill gives us that opportunity to go further to make sure that we are providing transparency to our citizens but also give accountability to our law enforcement,” Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, said after the legislation passed the House earlier this month.
The bill dealing with slungshots (HB 4009) lifts a ban on the manufacturing or sales of the weapon and allows individuals to carry it concealed without a permit. A slungshot -- which is a weight attached to a cord or strap -- was originally a maritime tool that later became a weapon used by gangs in the 19th century.
Other bills Scott signed today deal with various criminal justice issues, agriculture, education and public records exemptions, among other topics.
Here is the full list of new laws:
HB 819 Sunset Review of Medicaid Dental Services
HB 93 Law Enforcement Officer Body Cameras – This bill requires law enforcement agencies to establish policies and procedures regarding the use of body cameras.
HB 231 Motor Vehicle Manufacturer Licenses – This bill relates to contracts between motor vehicle manufacturers and dealers.
HB 293 Public Records – This bill revises a public records exemption regarding certain juvenile criminal history records.
HB 303 Unlicensed Activity Fees – This bill relates to unlicensed activity fees at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
HB 373 Mental Health Counseling Interns – This bill provides certain requirements for internship supervision at mental health institutions.
HB 387 Offenses Evidencing Prejudice – This bill revises an existing provision in Florida’s hate crime statutes for individuals with mental or physical disabilities.
HB 413 Title Insurance – This bill relates to title insurance companies.
HB 431 Fire Safety – This bill provides fire classifications for nonresidential farm buildings.
HB 549 Offenses Concerning Racketeering and Illegal Debts – This bill relates to the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act.
HB 561 Organizational Structure of the Department of Environmental Protection – This bill revises the organizational structure of the Department of Environmental Protection.
HB 633 Public Food Service Establishments – This bill exempts religious and other non-profit organizations from regulations when hosting certain charity events.
HB 701 Art in the Capitol Competition – This bill creates the “Art in the Capitol Competition” for Florida students.
HB 749 Agriculture – This bill relates to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Greenbelt Law.
HB 773 Special Assessments on Agricultural Lands – This bill exempts agricultural lands from certain local assessments.
HB 783 Unclaimed Property – This bill revises several provisions in the Florida Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act.
HB 793 Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program – This bill allows students to defer their acceptance of Florida Bright Futures Scholarships until completion of religious or service obligations.
HB 965 Fire Safety – This bill updates fire safety standards for assisted living facilities.
HB 967 Family Law – This bill creates the collaborative law process.
HB 971 Community Development Districts – This bill increases the size of certain Community Development Districts.
HB 1025 Public Records – This bill relates to public records and the state infrastructure bank program.
HB 1051 Anchoring Limitation Areas – This bill prohibits overnight anchoring of vessels in certain zones.
HB 1063 Public Records and Meetings – This bill creates a public records and meeting exemption for the Nurse Licensure Compact.
HB 1125 Eligibility for Employment as Child Care Personnel – The bill aligns requirements for child care facilities and providers with federal regulations.
HB 1133 Applicability of Revenue Laws to Out-of-State Businesses During Disaster-Response Periods– This bill exempts out-of-state businesses from certain requirements during disaster response.
HB 1149 Alternative Sanctioning – This bill allows alternative punishments for technical violations of probation.
HB 1181 Bad Faith Assertions of Patent Infringement – This bill relates to the Patent Troll Prevention Act.
HB 1219 Veterans’ Employment – This bill requires state agencies and authorizes local governments to implement a veterans' employment recruitment plan.
HB 1245 Medicaid Provider Overpayments – This bill authorizes the Agency for Health Care Administration to certify certain payments.
HB 1333 Sexual Offenders – This bill increases registration requirements for sexual offenders and predators in compliance with the Adam Walsh Act.
HB 1347 Illicit Drugs – This bill expands the prohibition of synthetic drugs.
HB 4009 Slungshot – This bill makes it lawful to make, sell, and carry a concealed slungshot.
HB 7013 Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission – This bill revises certain penalties for fish and wildlife violations.
HB 7025 At-Risk Vessels – This bill authorizes the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to prohibit vessels that are at-risk of becoming derelict from occupying state waters.