The bill (HB 139), filed by state Rep. Travis Cummings, had been passed unanimously by both chambers of the Legislature in the 2016 Legislative Session.
It created a grants program aimed at dentists to serve patients in counties with a shortage of dentists or in otherwise “medically underserved areas.” The grants, anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000, were to be administered by the Department of Health.
In his veto letter, Scott said he agreed that “maintaining good oral health is integral to the overall health of Florida families.” But he added he could not “support a program that does not place appropriate safeguards on taxpayer investments.”
Do you know how hard it is to get unanimous support for any bill in this day and age? Harder than finding a dentist in rural Florida.
A representative of the Florida Dental Association said the group was “disappointed” because the legislation “would have provided significant support for promoting dental care, economic development and job growth in underserved areas of Florida.”
“The challenges of accessing routine dental care have critically impacted the health and success of Florida communities, especially in rural areas,” said Joe Anne Hart, the FDA’s Director of Governmental Affairs. “The results are repeated visits to the emergency room for preventable dental problems, missed days of school due to toothaches, and lower GPAs and graduation rates.”