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Crist vetoes HMO increase bill and landlords bill

Gov. Charlie Crist late tonight announced that he has vetoed four bills, including a controversial measure that gave a rate increase to Medicaid HMOs and repealed a state law that mandated how much Medicaid plans must spend on providing mental health services to Medicaid patients.

Crist also vetoed a bill dealing with cosmetology, a bill that changes how much landlords can charge tenants who break leases, and a measure that would have raised boat vessel registration fees $2 in order to pay for derelict vessel removal.

The bill dealing with Medicaid HMOs, SB 1116, was one of the so-called conforming bills that accompanied the $71.5 billion budget that Crist signed into law today. But this bill was changed behind closed doors in the waning hours of the session to give Medicaid HMOs a $5 million rate increase starting in January. Crist also faulted the bill for ending a current requirement that Medicaid health plans provide at least 80 percent of money they receive for mental health care on direct services to patients.

"Even more disturbing is that many of these provider driven provisions were not discussed in an open forum,'' Crist wrote in his veto message.

Crist, who still rents an apartment in St. Petersburg, said he vetoed the bill dealing with landlords because the "impact" on those who can least afford it would be too great. The bill, HB 1277, would have allowed landlords to charge additional fees to tenants who want to break their leases early.

To read the veto message on the Medicaid bill: Download VETOSB1116.pdf

To read the veto message on the landlords bill: Download VETOHB1277.pdf

To read the veto message on the cosmetology bill: Download VETOSB920.pdf

To read the veto message on vessel registration:Download VETOSB1104.pdf