Friday, July 3, 2020

Ron DeSantis Signs Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act

Ron DeSantis at Desk

This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act” which eliminates barriers of entry to certain professions licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DPBR) by adding endorsement and reciprocity provisions, removing supplemental business licenses and corresponding license fees, reducing licensure education requirements, and eliminating other licensure and registration requirements.

“For two years, we’ve pushed for regulatory reforms in Florida’s occupational licensing system to remove unnecessary barriers for individuals pursuing their professional aspirations,” said DeSantis when he signed the bill on Tuesday.“Today, with legislative and public support, we’re delivering on those reforms with a comprehensive and meaningful bill that will save thousands of Floridians both time and money for years to come.”

DBPR Sec. Halsey Beshears said, “Governor DeSantis has been on the frontline of regulatory reform from day one, and with legislative action this year on HB 1193, Florida is now taking bold steps to reduce the regulatory burdens facing hardworking Floridians. The Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act is a major milestone in bringing common sense to occupational licensing standards, and I am confident it will be the foundation of new opportunities for many Floridians who are considering their own career paths.”

State Sen. Ben Albritton, R-Bartow, and state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, championed the proposal in the Legislature.

“All of the congratulations for streamlining Florida business regulations should go to Governor DeSantis,” said Albritton. “This is even more evidence that he cares about Floridians in a huge way. His leadership in this area is unparalleled!”

“Today, Governor DeSantis signed into law the Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act— a piece of legislation stripping away unnecessary and onerous regulation, while keeping Floridians safe. As the largest occupational license deregulation bill in our state’s history, this law cuts bureaucratic red tape, eliminate excessive licensing laws and paves the way for future entrepreneurs. Thank you Governor DeSantis and Senator Albritton for your steadfast leadership on this important issue,” Ingoglia said.

The impacts of the “Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act” include the following:

ENHANCING ENDORSEMENT & RECIPROCITY OPTIONS

  • Requires the Department to enter into reciprocal licensing agreements with other states for several professions and get Floridians to work.
  • Requires the Department to post on its website the existence of reciprocal license agreements or which jurisdictions have substantially similar licenses with license requirements and examination.
  • Endorses all current and active out-of-state barber and cosmetologists licenses in Florida.
  • Adds endorsement of building administrators, inspectors, and plans examiners, or the equivalent certification of another state or territory of the U.S.
  • Adds a category of home inspector licensure by endorsement for applicants who maintain an insurance policy as required by this state and have held a license for at least 10 years in another state or territory.
  • Removes examination requirements for landscape architects applying for endorsement, requiring only that they hold a license by another state or U.S. territory.
  • Provides licensure by endorsement for electrical and alarm system contractors who have been licensed in another state for at least 10 years.
  • Allows licensure of veterinarians by endorsement if they successfully completed a state, regional, national, or other exam that is equivalent to or more stringent than the examination required by the board.

REMOVING DUPLICATIVE BUSINESS LICENCES AND LICENSE FEES

  • Eliminates separate business licenses for architects, geologists, and landscape architects who already hold an individual license in order to remove unnecessary barriers to entry.
  • Allows yacht and ship brokers to maintain one license tied to their principal place of business without requiring additional licenses for each branch office.

REDUCING LICENSURE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS

  • Reduces pre-licensure and continuing education hours in order to alleviate the cost barrier to certain professions.
  • Removes the continuing professional education requirement for applicants applying for licensure by endorsement as a certified public accountant.
  • Reduces the number of training hours required to be eligible for barber licensure from 1200 to 900 and specifies that the 900 training hours must be in sanitation, safety, and laws and rules.
  • Reduces program certification requirements from 1,000 to 600 hours.
  • Reduces amount of hours needed for licensure for specialists. Nail specialists reduced from 240-180 hours, facial specialists reduced from 260-220 hours, full specialists reduced from 500-400 hours.
  • Lowers the continuing education requirement for cosmetologists from 16 hours to 10.
  • Reduces the required continuing education hours for renewal of an alarm system contractor license from 14 hours to 7 hours every two years, and 14-11 hours for electrical contractors.

ELIMINATING OTHER LICENSURE AND REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS

  • Removes all provisions relating to the licensure of interior designers, although it allows for certification on an optional basis.
  • Eliminates the registration and regulation of labor organizations by the Department.
  • Removes registration requirements and licensure requirements for hair braiding, hair wrapping, and body wrapping by the Department.
  • Eliminates the licensure requirement for timekeepers and announcers under the jurisdiction of the Florida State Boxing Commission.

REFORMING REQUIREMENTS IN OTHER REGULATED PROFESSIONS

  • Re-defines “one and two family dwelling inspector” as “residential inspector.”
  • Clarifies the limited types of veterinary medical services that are already permitted by rule, which include microchipping, vaccinations, immunizations and parasitic control.
  • Includes completion of the (PAVE) Program for graduates of foreign schools of veterinary medicine that are not accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association to qualify for licensure as a veterinarian.
  • Allows cosmetologists or specialists performing services in connection with a special event to no longer be required to be employed by a licensed salon or be required to make an appointment for a special event through a licensed salon. Also properly licensed individuals may offer hair shampooing, hair cutting, hair arranging, nail polish removal, nail filing, nail buffing, and nail cleansing services outside of a licensed salon.
  • Raises the dollar amounts of the construction licensing exemption for handyman jobs to $2,500.
  • Reduces the number of members on the Florida Building Commission from 27 to 19 members.

CREATING COST SAVINGS FOR FLORIDIANS AND THE STATE OF FLORIDA

  • Reduces expenditures to applicants and license holders by approximately $1,466,318 over the next two fiscal years.
  • Reduces expenditures to the state by approximately $58,680 over the next two fiscal years.

 

Majority of Americans Say Confederate Statues Should Stay, Poll Shows

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In recent weeks, several Florida cities have supported taking down Confederate monuments even as a new poll shows a majority of Americans are not favor in removing them.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has already removed Confederate monuments and has ordered the removal of others at local public parks.

Last week, on a 3-2 vote, the St. Augustine City Commission ordered the removal of a Confederate statue that had been erected in 1872. Florida school districts continue to look at renaming schools named after Confederate leaders.

But a new poll by Harvard CAPS/Harris taken for The Hill finds that most voters do not support these measures.

The poll shows that 58 percent say the statues should stay and 42 percent saying they should be removed.

When it came to physically destroying statues, 71 percent said that local governments need to step in and stop groups from desecrating monuments.

Mark Penn, the polling director for the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll, said that most of the respondents agree that racism and police reform should be addressed but they do not want to take down monuments.

“Americans opposed tearing down statues, even Confederate ones, and they particularly oppose them being torn down by protesters rather than defended by the authorities,” Penn told The Hill.

In the same poll, 69 percent said CEOs and news editors should not lose their jobs if they publicly criticize the Black Lives Matter protests and movement.

A strong majority–77 percent–said it was wrong for HBO to remove the 1939 Civil War-era film Gone with the Wind but 23 supported that decision.  Black Lives Matter activists called upon HBO Max to remove the film. The company now notes, when the movie will be aired, HBO Max will add “multiple historical contexts,” as part of the movie.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 1,886 registered voters was conducted June 17-18. It is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and the Harris Poll.

 

Reach Ed Dean at ed.dean@floridadaily.com.

Rick Scott Wants Answers on How States Are Spending CARES Act Funds

Rick Scott

Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act at the end of March, sending more than $150 billion in economic relief to state and local governments to help them cover the costs caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Now U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., wants a better handle on just where that money is going.

The entire CARES Act package came to more than $2 trillion, including the stimulus payments sent to taxpayers. This week, Scott called on the states to report back to the federal government on what they got.

“State and local governments across our nation have received more than $1 trillion in taxpayer money to address the coronavirus pandemic. The public deserves information on exactly how this money is being allocated, which is why my colleagues and I requested details from each U.S. governor. I thank those states that have been forthcoming with this information, but am very disappointed in the lack of response and transparency from the majority of states. The more information we have, the better off we are, especially in a crisis. I’m calling on every governor to work with us to protect taxpayer dollars, and respond as quickly as possible,” Scott said.

Scott paired up with U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., in sending a letter to each of the governors asking them a multitude of questions including what percentage of the funds have they already used and for details on how the money they distributed to each of its counties and cities was spent. Scott has focused on states running deficits, wanting to ensure that federal tax dollars would not be used to bail these states out after poor decision making during the legislative process.

The Florida Republican is also asking governors if they have used the Federal Reserve’s Municipal Liquidity Facility. This is a series of bond funding mechanisms that allow states to borrow money in the short term as they manage lulls in cash flow. The object is to try and ascertain which states are either spending too much money or borrowing too much money.

Scott and the other senators also about Medicaid expenditures, including whether or not those are rising and what states are doing to control Medicaid costs. Scott resisted adding more than 800,000 Floridians without health insurance to the Medicaid rolls while he was governor because he was concerned about the long term burden to state taxpayers.

So far, the senator’s letters have garnered little in the way of responses. Scott’s press office told Florida Daily that, so far, less than 10 states have responded with the information he and the other senators have requested.

 

Reach Mike Synan at mike.synan@floridadaily.com.

Jimmy Patronis: Florida Recovered Record Amount of Unclaimed Property in 2019-20 Fiscal Year

jimmy patronis

On Wednesday, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced that the Division of Unclaimed Property recovered a record amount in the 2019-20 fiscal year which ended on Tuesday.

Patronis announced that the division recovered more than $328 million, up $6 million from the 2018-19 fiscal year.

“Since I took office in 2017, our Division of Unclaimed Property has returned more than $971 million back to Floridians, and I’m thrilled that we are on track to reach $1 billion very soon! This past year has been a challenge, as our staff has been teleworking for much of it. Despite these challenges, I’m extremely pleased that the Division persevered and was able to break the annual record and return a significant amount of money back to Floridians. As COVID-19 continues to impact our communities, this money is critical to helping Florida’s economy. I encourage all Floridians to search now for unclaimed property at FLTreasureHunt.gov,” Patronis said on Wednesday.

“Unclaimed Property is a financial asset that is unknown or lost, or has been left inactive, unclaimed or abandoned by its owner. The most common types of unclaimed property are dormant bank accounts, unclaimed insurance proceeds, stocks, dividends, uncashed checks, deposits, credit balances and refunds. Unclaimed property also includes contents from abandoned safe deposit boxes in financial institutions. Unclaimed property assets are held by business or government entities (holders) for a set period of time, usually five years. If the holder is unable to locate, re-establish contact with the owner and return the asset, it is reported and remitted to the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Unclaimed Property,” the CFO’s office noted.

After serving in the Florida House and on the Public Service Commission, Patronis was named to the CFO post by then Gov. Rick Scott when Jeff Atwater resigned the post to work for Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Patronis was elected in his own right in 2018 when he beat former state Sen. Jeremy Ring.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

Marco Rubio, Ted Yoho Champion the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act

Hong-Kong-police-tear-gas-protestors

With China continuing to crack down on Hong Kong, two Florida Republicans on Capitol Hill are backing a new proposal to let protesters enter the U.S. as refugees.

On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced the “Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act” this week with the support of U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Mary., Bob Menendez, D-NJ, Jeff Merkley, D-Oreg., and Todd Young, R-Ind. The bill “would provide those Hong Kongers who peacefully protested Beijing’s corrupt justice system, and have a well-founded fear of persecution, to be eligible for Priority 2 Refugee status” and is in “response to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) actions to implement its Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”

Besides granting Hong Kong protester Priority 2 Refugee Status, the bill would also waive immigration intent for non-immigrant visas and let refugees who have their citizenship revoked by the Chinese regime stay in the U.S. The bill would end in five years.

“The world witnessed the courage of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists, who last year took to the streets to defend their autonomy from China’s authoritarian grip,” Rubio said on Tuesday. “Following last night’s implementation of Beijing’s National Security Law, the U.S. must help Hong Kongers preserve their society at home and find refuge for those who face persecution for exercising the rights once guaranteed under the Joint Declaration. Through the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act, our nation would offer a safe-haven to many Hong Kongers who have tirelessly fought against tyranny.”

“As the people of Hong Kong continue to face Beijing’s tightening grip on their autonomy, freedoms and basic human rights, the United States must hold its torch high and proud for the tired, the poor and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” Menendez said. “We are introducing this bipartisan legislation to reiterate to the Chinese Communist Party that we stand resolutely with Hong Kong and its residents, and we will ensure they don’t fall through the cracks of our broken immigration system just because they were forced to flee for standing up for their rights.”

The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

U.S. Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, introduced the companion bill in the U.S. House with the support of a host of cosponsors from both sides of the aisle including U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., who leads Republicans on the U.S. House Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee.

“The United States has been and will continue to be, a country that welcomes the oppressed and mistreated from brutal authoritarian regimes. The people of Hong Kong were guaranteed freedoms and liberties that are now being taken away by a communist regime that has experienced neither. Communism cannot survive where free thought is allowed,” said Yoho on Tuesday. “It is our country’s moral obligation to provide a safe haven for these people, and I am honored to stand with my colleagues in Congress in supporting the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act to provide that pathway. They will be welcomed to join and assimilate into America as so many successful ethnic groups have.”

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs and the Judiciary Committees.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

Ashley Moody Releases Military Consumer Protection Resource Guide

Ashley Moody

On Wednesday, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody recognized the beginning of National Military Consumer Protection Month with the release of her 2020 Military Consumer Protection Resource Guide.

The guide offers information about common scams targeting military members, veterans and their families.

“Florida’s military members risk their lives to protect our safety and freedom. It is my hope that our Military Consumer Protection Resource Guide will help protect them and our great veterans against scammers trying to exploit their bravery and sacrifice. In addition to our resource guide, my office has a designated team of attorneys and investigators dedicated to quickly reviewing complaints submitted by service members and veterans to ensure our military members are protected from unscrupulous business practices and fraudsters,” Moody said.

Moody invites all service members and veterans to review these general tips to help avoid military-related scams:

  • Beware of scammers using misleading photos or language to imply false association with a branch of the military;
  • Verify the authenticity of an email or text that appears to be from a military branch. Phishing schemes use manipulated messages that falsely appear to be from a military branch or the U.S.
  • Department of Veterans Affairs in an effort to target service members, veterans or family members;
  • Ensure any military charity soliciting funds is registered with the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at FDACS.gov/ConsumerServices; and
  • Place an active duty alert on credit reports at no cost. An active duty alert requires businesses to take additional steps before granting credit in the name of active-duty personnel serving overseas.

To download the Attorney General’s Military Consumer Protection Guide, click here.

 

 

 

 

Ron DeSantis Signs the Clean Waterways Act

Florida Water Quality

On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “Clean Waterways Act” from state Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Melbourne, and Rep. Bobby Payne, Palatka.

The new law carries a wide range of water quality protection provisions aimed at minimizing the impact of known sources of nutrient pollution, realigning the state’s resources to enhance the protection of Florida’s environment, and strengthening regulatory requirements.

“Our children and future generations serve as a stark reminder of what’s at stake when discussing the importance of creating a clean, healthy, and stable environmental foundation for their future,” said DeSantis. “We have seen overwhelming support in our efforts to protect and conserve our waterways and natural resources, and while there is still plenty of work to be done, I look forward to building upon our recent successes.”

“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, this legislation is a historic step forward for the state of Florida, which provides a cohesive and multifaceted approach to protecting Florida’s waters. My Department’s priority is to continue creating tools to promote collaboration among federal, state, and local partners when working towards our shared goal of protection and the preservation of natural resources in Florida,” said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Sec. Noah Valenstein. “SB 712 serves as an essential step in our mission, and I look forward to joining Governor DeSantis and our state’s top leaders in our continued efforts to protect Florida’s future.”

The bill was developed based on recommendations by DEP and a variety of environmental leaders including Blue-Green Algae Task Force. DeSantis developed the task force as part of Executive Order 19-12, reforming Florida’s environmental and water policy in his first 48 hours as governor.

Comprised of five nationally and internationally recognized scholars from institutions across the state, the task force has a broad range of expertise ranging from hydrology to chemical ecology of algae. Based on transparent discussions and deliberations, the task force developed recommendations, which ultimately provided the framework for the Clean Waterways Act. This legislation focuses on remedial action and improvements to regulations regarding septic and stormwater systems, wastewater infrastructure, as well as Agricultural Best Management Practices.

“We have an incredible opportunity, through our collective action, to demonstrate to other states in our country and other nations around the world that sound stewardship of natural resources and sustained economic prosperity go hand in hand,” said Florida Chief Science Officer Dr. Tom Frazer. “The passage of the Clean Waterways Act and its signing today by the governor is a demonstrable pledge by the leaders of our state that clean water is a top priority. That bodes well for Florida’s future.”

“I’m so thankful for the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and for signing Senate Bill 712,” said Mayfield. “This comprehensive legislation addresses the most serious sources of pollution contributing to blue-green algae blooms in our waterways including septic tanks, wastewater treatment facilities, stormwater runoff and agriculture.”

“I am extremely excited that Governor DeSantis has signed SB 712/HB 1343 – ‘The Clean Waterways Act.’ Senator Mayfield and I worked on this legislation extensively for years. Senator Mayfield attended the water forum I hosted in Palatka, along with fifteen other members of the Florida Legislature, four state agencies, and the Secretary of DEP, Noah Valenstein,” said Payne. “This legislation is the most comprehensive water policy in years and will put us on the right track to improve water quality throughout the state.”

Some of the new law’s primary components include:

  • Regulation of septic tanks as a source of nutrients and transfer of oversight from DOH to DEP.
  • Contingency plans for power outages to minimize discharges of untreated wastewater for all sewage disposal facilities.
  • Provision of financial records from all sanitary sewage disposal facilities so that DEP can ensure funds are being allocated to infrastructure upgrades, repairs, and maintenance that prevent systems from falling into states of disrepair.
  • Detailed documentation of fertilizer use by agricultural operations to ensure compliance with Best Management Practices and aid in evaluation of their effectiveness.
  • Updated stormwater rules and design criteria to improve the performance of stormwater systems statewide to specifically address nutrients.

 

Ron DeSantis Signs FinTech Legislation From Jimmy Patronis, Jamie Grant, Travis Hutson Into Law

Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis cheered Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signing of a bill creating Financial Technology sandbox within the Office of Financial Regulation for facilitating technological innovation.

Last year, DeSantis and Patronis announced their plan to pursue legislation to create a regulatory sandbox for FinTech companies in Florida. A “regulatory sandbox” strikes the balance of ensuring a stable market that protects consumers while creating an environment where companies are provided flexibility to operate and provide new types of products and services.

“Thank you to Governor DeSantis for signing this important piece of legislation today. Also, a big thank you to the bill sponsors, Representative Jamie Grant and Senator Travis Hutson, for their hard work and support to get this bill passed. As someone who’s run a small business, I know just how beneficial it is to our communities to attract high paying, technology-focused jobs. FinTech’s opportunities for Florida are limitless and the more we can do to create a regulatory environment that allows businesses to innovate and test new technologies, the more effective we’ll be at attracting technology jobs and investment to Florida communities,” Patronis said on Tuesday.

“I was honored to work with Governor DeSantis, CFO Patronis and many others to get these reforms and innovations passed into law. Revolutionizing the way we protect and use state data is critical to our future and a reality only because of the unselfish teamwork that made this bill a reality. I cannot wait to see the Florida Digital Service transform the way government delivers services and the FinTech environment flourish here in Florida,” said state Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa.

“Thank you to Governor DeSantis for signing the FinTech legislation today. Ensuring Florida remains a top destination for companies seeking opportunities to grow is one of my top priorities, and I was honored to sponsor this important bill,” said state Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Palm Coast.

 

Orlando Getting DHS Funds to Help Boost Security

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Three Central Florida Democrats in the U.S. House--Val Demings, Stephanie Murphy and Darren Soto–announced on Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will send funds to Orlando to help prevent terrorism.

Orlando will be getting $3.5 from DHS through its Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). After being left out of the program, Orlando has been getting UASI funds since 2018.

“The safety and security of our community is my top responsibility in Congress, and I am excited to announce that Orlando will be receiving the maximum possible security grant available to us. As a member of the Homeland Security Committee, Orlando’s re-inclusion in the UASI program has been a highlight of my work in Congress and we will continue to advocate for this critical funding,” said Demings who served as Orlando’s police chief.

“After being a part of every level of community safety in Orlando, from midnight patrols to Chief of Police, I have seen how important this federal support is as we work to stay proactive against possible threats. COVID-19 may be the health and safety priority of today, but this grant will help protect us against the threats of tomorrow. We should all be glad that Orlando will have the best possible community safety measures in place,” Demings added.

“The Orlando-area is a growing region and a popular tourist destination, making it a potential target for terrorist activity,” said Murphy. “That’s why for years I’ve fought alongside my colleagues to ensure the federal government provided additional resources to help keep our community safe. I’m proud that this year we’ve once again increased this funding and we will keep working to ensure Central Florida law enforcement agencies and nonprofits have the support they need to fight terrorism.”

“Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of Central Floridians. As our community continues to grow, we are extremely grateful to receive this increased funding that will aid us in enhancing our law enforcement’s preparedness and prevention methods. The people of Orlando have felt firsthand the impact of extreme tragedies perpetrated by those seeking to create panic and fear, and we are certain this funding will help eliminate such instances wherever possible. This will also help protect the many families who are just beginning to visit Orlando again as a result of the pandemic,” said Soto.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

Marco Rubio, Elizabeth Warren Want to Know More About How America Relies on Other Countries for Drugs

prescription drugs

This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., teamed up on the “U.S. Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Review Act,” a proposal which would have the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the U.S. Treasury Secretary and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) study how the U.S. relies on foreign countries for drugs and DNA analysis

Rubio weighed in on the bill on Tuesday.

“More than a year ago, I warned that our nation has critical vulnerabilities and supply chain risks in key sectors of our economy, including in pharmaceuticals, as a result of decades of lost industrial capacity to China,” Rubio said. “The coronavirus pandemic has made it painfully clear that we must take decisive action to rebuild our nation’s medical manufacturing sector. This bipartisan bill would ensure policymakers have the necessary information to address our supply chain vulnerabilities, the consequences of foreign investment in U.S. pharmaceuticals, and reduce our overreliance on China for pharmaceuticals.”

“To defeat the current COVID-19 crisis and better equip the United States against future pandemics, we must take control of our supply chain and rely less on foreign countries for our critical drugs,” Warren said. “Our bill will require a study to show the effects of this overreliance and identify the tools we need to confront it head-on.”

Rubio’s office stressed the importance of his proposal and the dangers of relying on other countries.

“The United States relies heavily on foreign nations for its supply of drugs and pharmaceutical products. Today, experts estimate up to 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), the requisite component of drugs used in generic drugs, are imported from abroad. This overreliance leaves our supply chain of critical drugs used by millions of Americans vulnerable to disruption — whether by accident or by design,” Rubio’s office noted. “This overreliance stems, in part, from foreign investment in the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain. While not all foreign investment is problematic, experts have warned that significant foreign control of U.S. based pharmaceutical companies could stymie domestic capacity and exacerbate the nation’s overreliance on foreign nations for its APIs, raw ingredients, and finished drugs. Despite the risks posed to the United States, the nation lacks detailed information on the nature of this investment.”

Back in March, Rubio introduced the “Strengthening America’s Supply Chain and National Security Act” with Warren as a cosponsor.  The bill would have the U.S. Defense Department study how dependent it is on foreign drugs and determine if it represents a security threat. The bill would also have drugmakers to provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with information on how dependent they are on APIs from other countries. U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., is the sponsor of the companion measure in the U.S. House.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.