Gov. Scott signs abortion restrictions, medical marijuana expansion


Gov. Rick Scott has signed into law tough new rules for abortion clinics and expanded eligibility for medical marijuana.

They were among 68 bills signed by the governor Friday afternoon. Also on the list: an anti-corruption law, broader prescribing powers for physician assistants and policies to help the criminal justice system better treat mental illness.

The abortion bill requires clinics to have admitting privileges or transfer agreements with nearby hospitals. It also blocks state funding of preventive services through Medicaid at any clinic that offers elective abortions. State law already bans funding abortions.

Supporters say the rules protect women’s health and safety, while ensuring that taxpayers who oppose abortions don’t “indirectly” fund them.

It’s been caught up in controversy, though, as the new rules are likely to cut a source of revenue from six Planned Parenthood sites.

What’s more, opponents say, legal challenges could be on the horizon.

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case alleging that a Texas law with some similar provisions is a violation of women’s right to have an abortion, granted by Roe v. Wade.

The other controversial health care bill that Scott signed Friday allows terminally ill patients to use full-strength medical marijuana.

Lawmakers tacked on additional provisions to address the state’s low-THC cannabis law, signed in 2014 to give people with certain illnesses — such as children who suffer from severe seizures — access to a form of marijuana that doesn’t cause a euphoric high.

Under the new law, nurseries who were not approved for the low-THC marijuana by the Department of Health could receive additional licenses, allowing the five selected nurseries to begin production.

Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, says this will speed up the process, allowing kids in need to access the drug.

But critics say it simply guarantees business for the nurseries that won contracts. One such nursery, Costa Farms, spent more than $300,000 in campaign contributions.

Scott also signed a reform to the process for resolving property tax disputes heard by county Value Adjustment Boards.

The measure was a priority for Miami Dade Public Schools, which has, for years, complained that lengthy delays in tax collection have short-changed public schools by millions of dollars in funding. The new law is intended to give local government entities faster access to their tax revenue by limiting the appeals process.

He vetoed a bill creating the Gainesville Regional Utilities Authority.

Here’s a list of the 68 bills he signed:

SB 190: Conservation Easements — This bill removes certain application requirement relating to conservation easements.
SB 286: Merger and Acquisition Brokers — This bill relates to the Office of Financial Regulation and certain transfers of ownership.
SB 422: Health Insurance Coverage for Opioids — This bill allows doctors to prescribe “abuse deterrent” opioids.
SB 586: Responsibilities of Health Care Providers — This bill requires a hospital to notify physicians within a specified time frame upon the closing of their obstetrical department.
SB 624: Public Records — This bill provides a public records exemption relating to information technology (IT) security incidents or breaches.
SB 1046: Farm Vehicles — This bill revises certain requirements related to the transportation of agricultural products.
HB 183: Administrative Procedures — This bill makes certain revisions to the Florida Administrative Procedures Act.
HB 189: Teacher Certification — This bill assists STEM teachers with advanced degrees to obtain professional teaching certificates.
HB 195: A Special Election — This bill provides for a special election on August 30, 2016 to approve a constitutional amendment proposed in HB 193.
HB 229: Bullying and Harassment Policies in Schools — This bill requires school districts to review their bullying and harassment policies at least every three years.
HB 249: Culinary Education Programs — This bill relates to licensed culinary education programs obtaining alcoholic beverage licenses.
HB 277: A County and Municipality Homestead Tax Exemption — This bill creates an additional homestead exemption for certain low-income residents over the age of 65.
HB 299: Expressway Authorities — This bill revises membership of the Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority.
HB 307 & HB 1313: The Medical Use of Cannabis — This bill relates to the Office of Compassionate Use and allows for the use of cannabis for terminally ill patients in certain situations.
HB 347: Utility Projects — This bill provides an additional financing option for local government utility infrastructure projects.
HB 375: Physician Assistants — This bill clarifies the scope of practice for physician assistants.
HB 419: The Highlands Road and Bridge District, Pasco County — This bill closes the Highlands Road and Bridge District.
HB 427: Recreational Vessel Registration — This bill reduces registration fees for vessels which are equipped with certain safety features.
HB 439: Mental Health Services in the Criminal Justice System — This bill addresses mental health issues in the criminal justice system.
HB 481: The Columbia County Law Library — This bill closes the Columbia County Law Library.
HB 499: Ad Valorem Taxation — This bill makes various revisions to the Value Adjustment Board process.
HB 519: The Gilchrist County Development Authority — This bill closes the Gilchrist County Development Authority.
HB 535: Building Codes — This bill revises several provisions in the Florida Building Code.
HB 589: Environmental Control — This bill modifies several areas regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection.
HB 627: Community Contribution Tax Credits — This bill expands the contributions that qualify for a tax credit or tax refund.
HB 649: The Eagle Bay Sub-Drainage District, Okeechobee County — This bill closes the Eagle Bay Sub-Drainage District.
HB 651: The Department of Financial Services — This bill makes various revisions relating to the Department of Financial Services.
HB 655: The City of Jacksonville, Duval County — This bill revises alcoholic beverage license requirements for certain Jacksonville restaurants.
HB 659: Automobile Insurance — This bill revises various provisions in the automobile insurance law.
HB 703: Vessels — This bill modifies regulations for operation of a vessel and creates a safety inspection decal program.
HB 709: The City of Tallahassee, Leon County — This bill authorizes the issuance of temporary permits to sell alcohol at outdoor events in Tallahassee.
HB 769: Mental Health Treatment — This bill allows for the continuation of certain medication for individuals undergoing mental health evaluation and treatment.
HB 785: St. Lucie County Fire District, St. Lucie County — This bill relates to the operations of the St. Lucie County Fire District.
HB 799: Out-Of-State Fee Waivers for Active Duty Service Members — This bill allows active duty military members serving abroad to pay in-state tuition and fees.
HB 837: Education Programs for Individuals with Disabilities — This bill allows foster children to be eligible for the McKay Scholarship Program.
HB 845: The Bay County Bridge Authority, Bay County — This bill dissolves the Bay County Bridge Authority.
HB 847: Pasco County — This bill repeals certain provisions regarding wastewater treatment in Pasco County.
HB 871: Broward County — This bill shifts requirements to post and maintain water markers in waterways from Broward County to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
HB 891: The Northwest Florida Community Hospital Board of Trustees, Washington County — This bill dissolves the Northwest Florida Community Hospital District.
HB 895: The West Manatee Fire and Rescue District, Manatee County — This bill revises membership provisions in the West Manatee Fire and Rescue District.
HB 911: The City of Delray Beach, Palm Beach County — This bill repeals City of Delray Beach’s civil service special act.
HB 1033: Information Technology Security — This bill relates to the Agency for State Technology and cybersecurity policies for state agencies.
HB 1039: The Babcock Ranch Community Independent Special District, Charlotte and Lee Counties — This bill expands the boundaries of the Babcock Ranch Community in Lee County.
HB 1061: The Nurse Licensure Compact — This bill authorizes Florida to enter into the Nurse Licensure Compact.
HB 1071: The South Broward Hospital District, Broward County — This bill makes revisions to the South Broward Hospital District charter.
HB 1081: The North Sumter County Hospital District, Sumter County — This bill dissolves the North Sumter County Hospital District.
HB 1083: The Agency for Persons with Disabilities — This bill relates to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities Home and the Community Based Medicaid Waiver Program.
HB 1147: Character-Development Instruction — This bill requires certain revisions to high school character development programs.
HB 1157: Postsecondary Education for Veterans — This bill provides additional options for veterans and service members to earn college credit.
HB 1205: Fumigation — This bill directs DACS to adopt guidelines for fumigation registration.
HB 1221: Barron Water Control District, Glades and Hendry Counties — This bill removes the repeal date from the Barron Water Control District charter.
HB 1233: Federal Home Loan Banks — This bill relates to the Office of Financial Regulation and Federal Home Loan Banks.
HB 1241: The Ordering of Medication — This bill allows nurse practitioners and physician assistants to order controlled substances under specific circumstances.
HB 1265: The Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, Collier County — This bill expands district boundaries in the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, if approved by the voters in a referendum.
HB 1267: The Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, Collier County — This bill expands district boundaries in the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, if approved by the voters in a referendum.
HB 1297: Discretionary Sales Surtaxes — This bill allows a county with underfunded pension plans to levy a pension liability surtax upon termination of the local government infrastructure surtax, if approved by the voters in a referendum.
HB 1335: Long-Term Care Managed Care Prioritization — This bill relates to home and community based services administered by Department of Elder Affairs.
HB 1339: The City of Webster, Sumter County — This bill updates the charter for the City of Webster.
HB 1361: Growth Management — This bill makes various changes to the state’s growth management program.
HB 1365: The Competency-Based Education Pilot Program — This bill creates the Competency-Based Education Pilot Program.
HB 1411: Termination of Pregnancies — This bill revises regulations for licensed abortion clinics.
HB 1417: Hillsborough County — This bill revises alcoholic beverage license requirements for Hillsborough County establishments.
HB 1433: Martin County — This bill revises alcoholic beverage license requirements for Martin County establishments.
HB 3509: The Relief of Susana Castillo, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Andrea Castillo — This bill directs the City of Hialeah to pay the settled amount to Susana Castillo as compensation for the death of Andrea Castillo.
HB 3515: The Relief of Q.B. by the Palm Beach County School Board — This bill directs the Palm Beach County School Board to pay the settled amount to a special needs trust and purchase an annuity for the benefit of Q.B. as compensation for injuries and damages she sustained.
HB 3517: The Relief of Rafael Zaldivar and Kyoko Zaldivar, parents of Alex Zaldivar, Deceased, Individually and as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Alex Zaldivar, and Brienna Campos and Remington Campos by Orange County — This bill directs Orange County to pay the settled amount to the estate of Alex Zaldivar, Brienna Campos, and Remington Campos as compensation for injuries and damages they sustained.
HB 3525: The Relief of Melvin and Alma Colindres by the City of Miami — This bill directs the City of Miami to pay the settled amount to Melvin and Alma Colindres as compensation for the death of Kevin Colindres.
HB 7071: Public Corruption — This bill strengthens Florida’s anti-public corruption laws.