State Capital Briefs: Friday, January 5, 2018
STATE CAPITAL BRIEFS (EVENING EDITION): FRIDAY, JANUARY 5, 2018
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

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SENATE BILL WOULD BOOST CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE
Health-insurance policies would be required to provide coverage for FDA-approved contraceptive drugs without imposing deductibles, coinsurance or co-payment requirements under a bill filed Friday by state Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation. The proposal (SB 1718) also would require insurance companies and HMOs to provide follow-up services, including insertion or removal of contraceptive devices, without additional cost-sharing requirements. The bill would provide an exemption from the mandate for religious employers and “closely held for profit entities” that oppose the coverage due to the owners' “sincerely held religious beliefs.” To qualify as a closely held entity, 50 percent of the ownership interest would need to be held by five or fewer people or must have a “substantially similar” ownership structure. Additionally, the company could not be publicly traded. The bill, filed for the legislative session that starts Tuesday, would direct the Florida Department of Health to establish rules to establish the exemption process for businesses. The Trump administration in October issued a pair of rules that rolled back a mandate that women have access to birth control without additional out-of-pocket costs. A House version of Book's bill had not been filed Friday.

JUSTICES TO HEAR ASBESTOS DISPUTE IN MARCH
In a dispute that has drawn attention from business and trial-lawyer groups, the Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments March 6 in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by a man who said he suffered mesothelioma because of exposure to asbestos in cigarette filters and other products. The Supreme Court split 4-3 in July on whether to take up the case and issued an order Friday setting the date for oral arguments. Plaintiff Richard DeLisle went to the Supreme Court after the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Crane Co., a manufacturer accused of exposing DeLisle to asbestos in gaskets. The appeals court ruling came after DeLisle had won an $8 million verdict in the Broward County case. Along with exposure in the gaskets, DeLisle alleged exposure in filters of Kent cigarettes he smoked in the 1950s. R.J. Reynolds is a successor company to the manufacturer of Kent cigarettes. The appeals court ruled that testimony of three of DeLisle's expert witnesses should not have been admitted in circuit court.

NEW LAWMAKER MCCLURE READY FOR RE-ELECTION RUN
Less than three weeks after winning a special election in a Hillsborough County House district, Republican Lawrence McClure is planning a re-election bid this fall. McClure, who defeated three other candidates Dec. 19 to replace former Rep. Dan Raulerson, R-Plant City, opened a campaign account Friday for the November election, according to the state Division of Elections website. Unaffiliated candidate Shawn Gilliam of Plant City also has opened an account for the District 58 race. Meanwhile, Orlando Democrat Eduardo Dominguez opened an account this week to try to unseat Rep. Bobby Olszewski, R-Winter Garden, in Orange County's House District 44. Dominguez is the third Democrat to open an account for the race.


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1/5/2018

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