Florida State Legislative Session Wrap Up Part I

by Leah Donelan on March 15, 2012

On March 9th the Florida state legislative session concluded. The Florida Times Union has an excellent recap of the session’s implications for northeast Florida, some of which has ramifications for our region’s nonprofits.

The budget provision with the most buzz has been a $1.1 billion statewide boost for public education. Because lawmakers included no new sources of revenue, though, that increase means deep cuts elsewhere. The reductions fell largely on the shoulders of state hospitals and universities

Hospitals will face $642 million decrease Medicaid reimbursements, which equates to a 24.1 million dollar cut for first coast hospitals. Of that, 21 million will come from Duval county hospitals.

Lawmakers settled on cutting state universities by $300 million.

The Saint Petersburg Times also gives a blow by blow description of what significant legislation passed and what didn’t. Passed legislation includes a bill that “authorizes the state to withhold revenue sharing from counties for future Medicaid costs, as well as to cover a disputed a 300 million dollar backlog.”   Another bill that passed defines “’certified homeless youth’ as a minor who is a homeless child, allowing children with this distinction to obtain copies of their birth certificate.”

The Florida Nonprofit Alliance paid particular attention to two bills, SB 458 and SB 596 the latter which was covered in our session preview.

SB 596 would prohibit nonprofits executives of agencies that receive 2/3 of their funding from either state appropriated funds, or state appropriated federal funds from being paid more than the highest paid elected official in Florida (currently $128,972.)

SB 596, fortunately, did not become law thanks in part to dialogue between the Florida Nonprofit Alliance and key officials in Tallahassee.

SB 458, on the other hand, would have helped nonprofits but did not pass.  It attempted to deal with an unfortunate recent development in the Florida nonprofit community: attempts to use “clawbacks” to recoup charitable contributions made to nonprofit organizations by donors engaged in fraudulent activities.  SB 458 would have amended Florida Statutes to include an exception for innocent nonprofits that receive charitable contributions in good faith.

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