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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Physician assistants and advanced registered nurse practitioners won another round Wednesday in their battle to gain expanded drug-prescribing powers, with a House health committee backing the proposal.

Similar bills are moving in the House and Senate that would allow physician assistants and advanced registered nurse practitioners to prescribe controlled substances, an idea that doctors’ groups have long opposed.

The House Health & Human Services Committee on Wednesday approved a proposal (HB 281), filed by Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park. Pigman, who is a physician, and other supporters point in part to a lack of doctors in rural parts of the state.

But critics warn against allowing physician assistants and nurse practitioners to prescribe addictive painkillers.

“Don’t make access more available,” said Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa. Pigman’s bill is now ready to go to the full House.

A Senate version (SB 614), filed by Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, was approved Tuesday by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”