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.
• The Florida Hospital Association and the Florida Nurses Association, along with groups concerned about healthcare for the poor, will fight additional cuts in Medicaid funding.
• Independent Colleges & Universities of Florida will wage its annual battle to preserve grants for Florida residents attending private schools (FRAG), received by 41,000 students. ICUF also wants the state to extend funding for partnerships among universities to the private schools.
• The Florida Board of Governors, which operates the 11-member State University System, wants the state to restore the Alec P. Courtelis Capital Facilities Enhancement Challenge Grant, a state program that matches donations 100%. The program has gone unfunded for the past five years and was suspended in 2011.
• The state's schools also want the maximum possible PECO (public education capital outlay) funding, which is used for construction, remodeling, renovation and repair of education facilities.
• The Sadowski Coalition, a group of two dozen statewide organizations, is urging the Legislature to appropriate Florida's housing trust funds — an estimated $153.4 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year — for affordable housing. For the past several years, lawmakers have raided the trust funds and diverted the money to general revenue.
• The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association wants to maintain funding for the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
• The Moffitt Cancer Center wants lawmakers to restore its allocation of cigarette tax funds to its 2008 level.
• Gov. Scott will try to require those who receive unemployment benefits to get job training.
• The Florida Chamber is also pushing for further public pension reforms, including shifting public employees from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan.
• The Florida Medical Association is pushing for increased funding for graduate medical education.