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Last week the

Florida House repealed the

Legislature’s 2017 prohibi-

tion on smokable medical

marijuana in a 101-11 vote,

sending Gov. Ron DeSantis

the legislation he demanded

lawmakers adopt by March


Medical marijuana

flower buds and pre-rolled

cigarettes could be available

in licensed dispensaries by

mid-summer if DeSantis

signs the bill.

Governor Ron De-

Santis has signed the bill,

lifting a ban on the sale of

smokable medical marijuana

by licensed dispensaries.

After two months of

committee debate, conducted

as lawsuits challenging the

state’s nascent medical mari-

juana program churn through

courts, Wednesday’s floor

discussion featured little dis-


Lawmakers had little

choice, conceded bill spon-

sor Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-


Leon County Judge

Karen Gievers has ruled the

ban violates the 2016 voter-

approved constitutional

amendment that legalized

medical marijuana and De-

Santis has demanded legisla-

tors repeal the ban by March

15 or he’d drop the state’s

appeal of that ruling, essen-

tially legalizing smokable

medical marijuana with no


“If we do not pass

this bill, then the guardrails

we have placed around

smoking medical marijuana

will not exist,” Rodrigues

said. “The passage of this

bill is better than what will

result without it.”

The only real in-

trigue in Wednesday’s vote

was which chamber’s pro-

posal legalizing smokable

medical mari-

March 21, 2019 - March 27, 2019

From Island to Bay, News at Sea Level

Vol. 4 No. 27

On Vacation? Take us home with you! Read our digital Flipbook version at


Florida Revenue Projections Stable For Next Two Years

But Looming Slowdown Clouds Horizon

Florida state econo-

mists forecast stable rev-

enues for the next two fiscal

years but point to potential

troubles in the longer term

as uncertain national eco-

nomic trends muddy projec-


The state’s Revenue

Estimating Conference

(REC) meets periodically to

update revenues and finan-

cial data used by the Gover-

nor’s Office and the

Legislature. Its four mem-

bers represent the Gover-

nor's Office, Senate, House

and the Legislative Office of

Economic and Demographic

Research (EDR).

The REC late last

week estimated lawmakers

will have $33.5 billion in

general revenue during the

2020 fiscal budget year be-

ginning July 1. That is $7.4

million less than the REC

last forecast in December.

EDR Coordinator

Amy Baker, who leads the

REC, said the revenues are

expected to remain steady in

the coming year because

about $200 million in un-

spent reserves will “roll over

from the current year.”

“We’re going to add

approximately $200 million

to this year, and we’re going

to subtract approximately

$200 million from next

year” from the revenue fore-

cast, she said. “Which, for

legislative purposes, means

that they’re essentially at

zero – they’re back to where

they started from.”

According to the

REC’s revised update, rev-

enues are up by $201 million

this year but are projected to

decline by $208.7 million

next year.

While rolling un-

spent reserves into the Fiscal

Year 2020

Gov. DeSantis

Signs Bill Into

Law Ending Ban

On Smokable



Cont. pg 11

Cont. pg 5

Florida finished in a

four-way tie for first place

(Alaska, Florida, South

Dakota, Wyoming) in a new

study by the Tax Foundation

ranking which states have

the most business-friendly

income tax structures.

The state’s ranking

dropped one position from

its 2018 score, according to

the foundation’s analysis,

which is part of a wider

study titled “2019 State

Business Tax Climate


Forty-one states levy

individual income taxes that

are broad-based. The seven

that do not are Alaska,

Florida, South Dakota,

Wyoming, Nevada, Texas

and Washington. The two re-

maining states – Tennessee

and New Hampshire – tax

only investment income,

such as interest and divi-


Individual income

tax rates concern business

owners because states tax

sole proprietorships and cer-

tain classes of businesses

using their income tax codes,

according to the foundation.

States that scored well in the

analysis either had no in-

come tax or a flat tax with

low rates, while states with

highly progressive income

tax systems and high rates

received lower rankings, the

study said.


Florida Is The Best!

In State Income Tax Study

Eighteen Florida

hospitals were listed among

the top facilities in the na-

tion in a study of patient

care by



a company that aims to

help hospitals maintain cus-

tomer loyalty and provide

objective health informa-

tion to patients.

Delray Medical

Center in Florida was

among the hospitals on the

America’s 50 Best Hospi-

tals list. That list represents

the top 1 percent of hospi-

tals providing excellent pa-

tient care.

Hospitals on the

lists were rated on patient

outcomes for 32 medical

conditions and procedures.

Those honored

demonstrated quality care

consistently, allowing pa-

tients to be treated without

major complications, ac-

cording to



Patients who re-

ceived care at the hospitals

that made the lists received

on average a 27.1 lower

risk of dying than those

treated at other U.S. hospi-

tals, the study found.

Local hospitals that made

the list:

Cape Coral Hospital

Gulf Coast Medical Center,

HealthPark Medical Center


18 Florida Hospitals Ranked Among

Top In U.S.