Incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, who will officially take the gavel tomorrow, will create a select committee on the the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” the federal health care law that he and other Republicans were banking on being repealed.
After two years of ignoring the law and President Obama’s re-election, GOP legislative leaders are scrambling to figure out how to comply with the law and meet deadlines dealing with health care exchanges, or marketplaces where small businesses and individuals can shop for health insurance. The exchanges are the cornerstone of the federal health care law and are part of the plan to provide health insurance to more than 30 million uninsured Americans nationwide.
Gaetz, R-Niceville, released proposed new rules that lawmakers will officially endorse tomorrow during the organizational session kicking off the 2013 legislative session.
Among other things, the new rules require each of the 40 members of the Senate to take a minimum of one hour of ethics training.
And the new rules prohibit senators from voting on a measure in which they have a conflict of interest. Under the old rules, senators had to disclose the conflict but were still permitted to vote on the matter.
Palm Beach County has two new state senators who will be sworn in along with other newly-elected members tomorrow. Democratic Sens. Joseph Abruzzo of Wellington and Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth, both former state representatives, join fellow Democrat Sen. Maria Sachs of Delray Beach. Clemens survived a heated primary against state Rep. Mack Bernard and Sachs defeated former state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, in a brutal race for a newly drawn Senate district encompassing parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties. Sen. Joe Negron, R- Stuart, is the lone GOP senator representing part of Palm Beach County.