Florida Legislative Preview - 2012
Redistricting won't completely dominate the legislative landscape in January. A look at other issues percolating in the background and who wants what.
• FORECLOSURES — The Florida Bankers Association may again seek to create a non-judicial foreclosure process. The group says that taking foreclosures out of the court system won't help the current glut of foreclosures but would be a worthwhile change for the future. Anthony DiMarco, executive vice president of government affairs for the association, says the Legislature could expedite current foreclosures by fully funding the courts and reinstating the "rocket docket" foreclosure courts presided over by retired judges. State lawmakers disbanded the $6-million program last year.
• LAWSUIT LIMITS — The Florida Hospital Association supports giving sovereign immunity to hospitals and physicians and backs other laws that would clarify that hospitals are not liable for non-employed physicians. The Florida Medical Association's No. 1 priority is giving sovereign immunity to emergency room physicians.
• STEM, etc. — In the K-12 arena, the Florida Chamber is pushing for expanded use of digital learning and increased parental choice. In the higher education system, several groups support incentives for students pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees — and possibly tying a portion of university funding to the number of STEM degrees awarded.
• GOVERNANCE — The Florida Board of Governors is urging the Legislature to repeal a law requiring universities to fund off-campus infrastructure concurrency improvements that are connected to university building projects. The board also wants to be able to approve university requests to increase various student fees.
• TIMESHARE FRAUD — Attorney General Pam Bondi will seek laws to crack down on timeshare retail fraud — the No. 1 complaint her office receives.
• PRESCRIPTION ADDICTION — Bondi also is creating a task force to study the problem of babies born addicted to prescription opiates.