TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 18, 2020) — When the Florida House of Representatives convenes Thursday to vote on the 2020-21 statewide budget, all members will undergo an on-site health screening before being admitted to the chamber. This new procedure is the latest addition to a list of steps the Florida House is taking, consistent with CDC guidance, for mitigating risks associated with coronavirus. Beginning at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Rep. Cary Pigman, an emergency-medicine physician from Okeechobee, will work with a team of three volunteer nurse practitioners as they complete the screenings. The process will consist of a brief series of questions and use of a no-touch thermometer -- consistent with CDC guidelines. Any member who shows signs of a fever, other symptoms, or who may have had exposure to the virus will be asked to self-isolate. (They will be invited to submit a vote after roll call and comments explaining their vote in writing for inclusion in the House Journal.) A memo (below) with this information was distributed to Florida House members and staff on Tuesday. HB 5001, the 2020-21 General Appropriations Act (GAA) was published Sunday evening. In coordination with the Florida Senate, the House will convene at noon Thursday for the exclusive purpose of a vote on the following: HB 5001; HB 5003, Implementing the 2020-2021 General Appropriations Act; and, HB 5005, Collective Bargaining. The Florida House previously announced it will take the following precautionary steps, at a minimum:
canceling the traditional sine die ceremony to limit large gatherings
closing the House galleries to all visitors
encouraging all members of the public and House staffers to watch the proceedings live at thefloridachannel.org
encouraging members to travel alone -- without their district staffers -- and by car instead of plane, and also advising social distancing to protect themselves and others
Find all Florida House-related coronavirus news and updates at FloridaHouseMedia.gov.