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Cancer Treatment Fairness Act passes Fla. Senate

April 10, 2013
By SEN. LIZBETH BENACQUISTO , Lehigh Acres Citizen

I could not be more proud of my colleagues in the Florida Senate, who unanimously stood up for cancer patients across the state by choosing to co-sponsor and recently pass the Cancer Treatment Fairness Act.

Each day, 324 new Floridians will be diagnosed with cancer, and this bill will help create access to life-saving oral medications for those individuals.

Ensuring that Florida's patients have fair, equal access to the courses of treatment identified as the most effective in treating their specific illness is a priority. Health insurance policies must keep up with advancements in medicine in order to best meet the needs of those they serve.

The bill's House companion, HB 301 by Rep. Mayfield, is awaiting its final hearing in the House Health and Human Services Committee before a full House vote can occur.

Senate budget proposal moves to the floor

The Senate budget demonstrates our commitment to fiscally responsible planning for the future by prioritizing investments in education and economic development.

Our budget recognizes the ongoing challenges associated with economic recovery, as well as the uncertainty caused by instability in Washington. Unlike the federal government, here in Florida we have a constitutional responsibility to pass a balanced budget and to live within our means.

Florida's fiscal situation is improving, but the tough times over the last few years taught us many lessons.

Instead of spending all we have, we have made targeted investments, we have planned ahead and we have remained cautious by setting aside more than $2.9 billion in reserves.

Highlights of the budget

n Prioritizes investments in education ($1.2 billion increase in K-12), infrastructure and economic development (DOT and DEO).

n Saves $2.9 billion in reserves.

n No increase in taxes, fees or tuition at state colleges or universities.

n Returns universities to prior funding levels ($300 million).

n Funds 2013-14 portion of unfunded actuarial liability in FRS.

The Senate's budget proposal will be heard on the floor this coming Wednesday (today), and I look forward to the discussion with our colleagues in the House of Representatives about how to most responsibly allocate taxpayer dollars.

Legislature votes

to ban illegal gambling at Internet cafes

In Florida, gambling is illegal unless it is expressly legalized. However, more than 1,000 electronic sweepstakes establishments, that use the misleading name of "Internet cafes," currently operate in a grey area of Florida law.

For years these establishments have multiplied throughout Florida, while state attorneys and local law enforcement questioned their legality.

SB 1030 (HB 155) was taken up and passed by the Florida Senate after passing the House of Representatives earlier in the session. The measure clarifies current gaming laws concerning slot machines, charitable drawings, game promotions and amusement games.

I am proud that my colleagues in the Legislature voted overwhelmingly to ban these illegal, and oftentimes predatory, gambling establishments.

The bill was immediately certified to the governor, and he has pledged to sign the prohibition.

Contact Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto at 1926 Victoria Ave., Second Floor, Fort Myers, FL 33901, or (239) 338-2570.



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