Dental Therapy Legislation Failed to Get Support

Feb 9, 2024
The Florida Dental Association (FDA) would like to thank everyone who contacted members on the Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee and asked them to VOTE NO on SB 684 and SB 686 by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg), which would have authorized licensure for dental therapists.
On Monday, March 18, the Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee heard from many groups and individuals who spoke in favor of SB 684, which included Drs. Frank Catalanotto, Jose Peralta and Carlos Piedra. Several FDA leaders traveled to Tallahassee to speak against the dental therapy legislation, which included Drs. Jolene Paramore, Dave Boden, Jay Walton, Chinara Garraway, Brittany Craig, Brad Cherry and several local dentists who attended the meeting and waived their time in opposition to the bill.

Sens. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart), Victor Torres (D-Kissimmee), Debbie Mayfield (R-Melbourne) and Tom Wright (R-Port Orange) were strong, vocal opponents against the dental therapy legislation expressing that lowering the standard of care is not the solution for Florida.

After an hour of discussion and debate, Sen. Brandes acknowledged that there was more opposition than support for his dental therapy bill and asked for his bill to be temporarily postponed in committee. No official vote was taken on the bill. At this time, SB 684 is not expected to be heard again in committee. Additionally, SB 686 was not considered by the committee.

On Tuesday, March 19, the House Health Quality Subcommittee workshopped HB 649 by Rep. Rene Plasencia (R-Titusville). Workshopping a bill means that the bill will be discussed in committee, but no official vote will be taken on the bill.

Drs. Paramore, Rudy Liddell, Gerald Bird and Zack Kalarickal spoke during the committee meeting and provided testimony on why dental therapy legislation is not needed in Florida. There were several speakers who spoke in favor of HB 649, which included Dr. Catalanotto and President of the Florida Dental Hygienists’ Association Alwyn Leiba, CRDH, Ph.D. After public testimony was heard, there was no discussion or debate on the bill and no vote was taken. HB 649 is not expected to be heard again in this committee.

Thank you again for contacting legislators on both House and Senate committees. You helped make a difference!

Please take a moment to send a quick “Thank You” to Sens. Mayfield, Harrell, Torres and Wright for opposing the dental therapy legislation and supporting the FDA’s position on maintaining the standard of providing quality, comprehensive dental care to all Floridians.

Please click on the names below to send a thank you note to:
Sen. Debbie Mayfield, vice chair
Sen. Gayle Harrell
Sen. Victor Torres
Sen. Tom Wright

Special Alert - March 22, 2019