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Floridas DeSantis signed 18 bills into law from busy legislative session

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(The Center Square) — After a busy legislative session, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed 18 bills in the past week, including new initiatives for rural health care and economic development.

Senate Bill 644 creates a new hospital designation type, “rural emergency hospital,” and defines requirements for rural or critical access hospitals. The bill clarifies that these hospitals are required to provide emergency services and care for medical conditions following state law and are not required to provide care beyond 24 hours.

SB 566 provides additional protections for specified adults — a person 65 years or older or a vulnerable adult — who may be victims of suspected financial exploitation. The bill would allow financial institutions to delay disbursements or transactions of funds from an account belonging to a specified adult.

SB 808 amends Florida statutes to authorize firefighters, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, and correctional probation officers to receive medical treatment from a medical specialist of their choosing for a compensable presumptive condition, such as tuberculosis, heart disease, or hypertension.

SB 812 requires certain counties with over 75,000 residents — except Monroe County — and municipalities with 10,000 or more residents to create a program to expedite the issuance of residential building permits.

House Bill 141 amends the Regional Rural Development Grants Program to eliminate the requirement that grant funds received by a regional economic development organization be matched each year by nonstate resources. The bill also removes the requirement that the Department of Commerce consider the applicant’s need for assistance when approving a program participant.

HB 705 revises the definition of “public works project” in relation to current law, which prohibits the state or political subdivisions from imposing certain requirements, such as minimum wages and single-source hiring of contractors, for competitively bid public projects that use state-appropriated funds.

HB 1049 requires the seller of any residential property to inform the buyer, at or before signing a purchase agreement, of any flood risks to the property, including informing the potential buyer that homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.

HB 775 authorizes a parent to surrender an infant with medical staff or licensed health care professionals at a hospital after delivery. Parents can further surrender an infant by dialing 911 and requesting that an EMS provider meet the parent to take the infant into their care.