Propelled by a Miami Herald investigation that revealed stories of neglect at assisted living facilities, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill that would have eased some reporting requirements for those facilities.
One element of HB 4045 would have relieved the Agency for Health Care Administration of creating an annual report for some state agencies detailing a list of all assisted living facilities sanctioned or fined for violations, the numbers and class of violations, the penalties imposed and the current status of the case, according to a bill analysis. It would have also repealed a requirement that the facilities submit monthly reports to AHCA disclosing any liability claims made against them.
"Until a more deliberate examination of the regulation and oversight of assisted living facilities is conducted, I do not believe it is prudent to relax any reporting requirements for assisted living facilities," he wrote.
Scott said he will form a task force to examine statutes relating to ALFs and suggest ways to "improve the state's ability to monitor quality and safety."
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, passed the Senate unanimously and earned all but three lawmakers' favorable votes in the House. It was one of three Scott vetoed Monday.
He vetoed HB 689, sponsored by Rep. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach, because it conflicted with SB 2160, which offered more comprehensive requirements for offering online testing for learner's driver's license applicants, Scott wrote. The bill would have also required lessons on the dangers of using handheld communications devices at the wheel be included in driver's improvement curricula.
The last veto fell on HB 767, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Rooney, R-West Palm Beach. The bill would have granted boards of county commissioners to negotiate the lease of county real property for a period not more than five years, thereby avoiding a competitive bidding process.
"This bill has no fiscal impact to the state and should have a positive impact on counties," the bill analysis states.
In his message, Scott wrote that the state's current laws served the taxpayers well. "Competitive bidding is fundamental for protecting the taxpayers' money," he wrote.
Scott signed the following five bills into law:
HB 479 Medical Malpractice
HB 1463 Crisis Stabilization Units
HB 7005 Unemployment Compensation
SB 926 Liability/Employers of Developmentally Disabled
SB 1546 Charter Schools