House Bill 497

This morning I watched the House Healthy Families Subcommittee hearing on HB 497.

The video from the hearing can be seen here: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/VideoPlayer.aspx?eventID=2443575804_2014031259&committeeID=2717

An amendment was filed last Friday afternoon which replaced the former House version of the bill and starts over with a fresh approach.

Word on the street is that House staff and other Representatives could not support Representative Hager¹s filed bill. Therefore, a new approach was taken and filed last Friday, which was apparently based upon an Orange County, California program and creates a voluntary certification program. The amended bill, as approved today, is attached, as is the subcommittee staff report. More information on the Orange County program can be found here: http://ocsd.org/about/info/services/sober

The California program states on its website: ³The sole purpose of the Certification Program is to provide access to quality residential facilities for the persons in need of drug-and alcohol-free recovery environments and to promote public safety.²

In contrast, the sponsors of the House bill, including members of the Subcommittee today, stated once again that ³those people do not belong in residential neighborhoods.²

They simply either don¹t get it, refuse to get it, or are practicing their testimony for their interview with the US Dept. of Justice.Š.

Anyway, I am withholding all comment on the House bill until there is further movement and discussion from the other elected members.

Meanwhile, a completely different approach is being heard by the Senate Committee on Community Affairs tomorrow, March 19th at 11am: http://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/Show/CA

You can watch the hearing here: http://thefloridachannel.org/ or follow my commentary from the cheap seats, at https://twitter.com/SoberLaw

At a minimum, I would consider the 2014 Legislative Session to be a success on this issue if the following 2 steps were taken: (1) a specific allocation of funds to Broward and Palm Beach counties to hire more staff and give raises to existing employees; and (2) an amendment to s. 397.415 relating to sanctions, to include that an allegation of kickbacks or patient brokering is sufficient for the Department to initiate a license revocation or suspension hearing under Chapter 120, Fla. Stat.

About Jeffrey Lynne

Jeffrey C. Lynne is a South Florida native, representing individuals and business entities relating to licensing, accreditation, regulatory compliance, business structure, marketing, real estate, zoning and litigation pertaining to substance abuse treatment facilities and sober living residences. Mr. Lynne has been recognized across the region as a leader in progressive public dialogue about the role that substance abuse treatment has within our communities and the fundamental need and right to provide safe and affordable housing for those who are both in treatment for addiction and alcoholism as well as those who are established in their recovery.

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