State Capital Briefs (Lunch Edition): January 26, 2016 The News Service of Florida
A Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill that would allow advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe controlled substances, though they would face some restrictions. The bill (SB 676), sponsored by Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, was approved by the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. Lawmakers have long debated proposals about whether to expand drug-prescribing powers, particularly about whether advanced registered nurse practitioners should be able to prescribe controlled substances. The bill, in part, would allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe seven-day supplies of what are known as Schedule II controlled substances, which the federal Drug Enforcement Administration website says include such drugs as Vicodin and OxyContin. Also, it would largely prevent them from prescribing psychotropic drugs for children under 18. The bill also would require the creation of a state committee that would recommend controlled substances that nurse practitioners would be barred from prescribing or only allowed to prescribe under limited circumstances, according to a Senate staff analysis. House Republican leaders have pushed to expand drug-prescribing powers for advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants. A bill (HB 423), sponsored by House Health Quality Chairman Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, is ready to go to the full House.