Florida vacation-rental bill likely dead; other Legislature news

vacation rental properties is likely dead for the 2018 session, a Senate sponsor said Wednesday.

»RELATED: The latest in Florida political news

Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, said he has met with Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, about bringing up the bill (SB 1400) during the last Senate Appropriations Committee meeting, scheduled for Friday. But Steube said the committee has limited time, which has been complicated by dealing with legislation related to the mass shooting at a Broward County high school, and is not likely to deal with other bills, like the vacation rental measure, that would involve a lengthy debate.

The fact that a similar bill (HB 773) has stalled in the House is another factor, Steube said.

Senate, House set to take up school safety

The wide-ranging school safety legislation quickly drafted in response to the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County is expected to be taken up by the full Senate on Thursday and by the House on Friday.

» RELATED: Post coverage of the Broward County shooting

Both chambers moved their proposals (HB 7101 and SB 7026) through committees this week and need to pass a final version before the scheduled March 9 end of the annual legislative session.

The bills, which would require spending of about $400 million on bolstering school safety and mental-health services, would allow specially trained teachers to bring guns to class, raise the age to purchase rifles to 21, and require a three-day waiting period for buying guns.

House backs rule for nursing home generators

A House committee on Tuesday agreed to take steps to ratify a rule requiring nursing homes to have backup-power sources but didn’t endorse similar requirements for assisted living facilities because of concerns about the costs.

The House Health & Human Services Committee voted unanimously to introduce a bill that would ratify a rule issued by the state Agency for Health Care Administration, which regulates nursing homes. The proposed rule, which was hammered out by the Gov. Rick Scott administration and the long-term care industry, would require nursing homes to have alternative power sources, such as generators, on site and 72 hours of fuel. The generators would need to be able to keep cool an area of no less than 30 square feet per resident at a temperature of 81 degrees Fahrenheit or lower for at least 96 hours.

The rule is estimated to cost nursing homes $121.3 million over the first five years, and about $66 million can be offset by Medicaid, according to a staff analysis. AHCA Secretary Justin Senior told committee members that about $25 million of the $66 million Medicaid tab would be borne by the state.

The 2,951 assisted living facilities in the state would have to spend more than $243 million to comply with the requirements.

The rule requires legislative approval under a 2010 law that requires legislative ratification of any rule increasing costs of doing business by more than $1 million over a five-year period.

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