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Legislative Link
A legislative update provided by the United Way of Florida
ISSUE #2                                                                                            MARCH 15, 2013
old and new capitol 
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ImagineImagine ... If we could ...


There are no silver bullets when it comes to solving the most intractable issues facing Florida's children and families.  People are so complex.  Family dynamics are so diverse.  But ...

There is a solution ... We know what works ... We know that home visiting programs can improve family functioning, resulting in school success, higher employment, and greater economic self sufficiency, among others.  And we know Healthy Families Florida has proven it can achieve unparalleled results

Read more

StarsalignedAre the Stars Aligned for School Readiness?


Advocates representing every major early learning sector working together.  A dedicated Committee Chair focused on the children and families we serve.  A Committee more well-versed in the issues than perhaps any has been.


Florida's K-12 education system will never overcome its most basic challenges if entering students are not prepared to succeed.  Do an amazing new coalition and committed, knowledgeable legislators hearken a brighter day for our children and their future - and the future of Florida? 

Read more.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.  -- Abraham Lincoln

MedicaidExpansionMedicaid Expansion ... THE 2013 Issue


Medicaid expansion could be the session's defining issue.  Governor Scott supports expansion.  The House opposes it.  The Senate is exploring a hybrid approach.  Issues revolving around the proper role of government and costs of implementation have set the stage for a legislative showdown.

Hanging in the balance are close to a million Floridians with no health care coverage and billions of federal dollars.  Read more.

Florida Third Poorest State

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a follow-up report to its most recent study on poverty rates in the United States.  The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM).  It does not reflect well on Florida.  According to the report, The Sunshine State is the third-poorest state in the nation, with about one of five Floridians (19.5 percent) living below the poverty level. 

PoorGetPoorerAnd the Poor Get Poorer


The cost of lending and borrowing are at historically low levels, and millions of Floridians continue their struggle to maintain self-sufficiency as we slowly emerge from the Great Recession.

Unfortunately, legislation is moving forward that would make it harder for low and moderate income workers to regain their financial footing by increasing interest and fees on loans that they tend to use more then higher wage earners

Read more.

Floridians on the Fiscal Cliff


According to the 2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard released in late January by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), Florida ranks 47th among all states based on the financial stability of its residents.  More than half of Florida residents are living on the edge of financial disaster with almost no savings to fall back on in the event of a job loss, health crisis or other income-depleting emergency, according to a report.
(Portions excerpted from Legislative staff analyses.)
FosterChildrenNormalcyFoster Children/Normalcy


CS/SB 164 amends foster care law to further the goal of normalcy in foster care living situations.

The bill directs a caregiver of a foster child to permit the child to participate in age appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.  It also grants immunity to the caregiver from liability for harm to the child which occurs during the activity if the caregiver acts as a reasonable and prudent parent in permitting the activity.

Last Action: 03/12/13 SENATE Favorable by Judiciary.

ProtectionofEldersProtection of Elders


HB 253 introduces a new standard for use by the Department of Children and Families and courts to determine a vulnerable adult's need for adult protective services in emergent and non-emergent situations.  Currently, a vulnerable adult must lack the capacity to consent before protective actions may be initiated or other sections of chapter 415, F.S., designed to further protect a vulnerable adult, become applicable.  The bill changes the standard to require only that the vulnerable adult's ability to consent is impaired before protective actions may be taken and the provisions of the chapter applied to an emergent or non-emergent situation.
Last Action: 03/13/13 HOUSE Favorable with CS by Healthy Families Subcommittee.
Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.  -- Marilyn Monroe
DDDevelopmental Disabilities Savings Program


HB 339 creates a Developmental Disabilities Savings Program (DDSP), a savings and investment program for families with children with developmental disabilities.  The bill recognizes that there is a need to provide sufficient access to educational, health, housing, employment and other support services for individuals with developmental disabilities once those individuals have become ineligible for previously provided services due to age.  This would include the services of public school systems which terminate enrollment once you reach the age of 22. Services from Medicaid and other sources continue to be eligible regardless of the person's age.  The DDSP intends for families to save money through payments to the DDSP for persons with developmental disabilities under the age of 22.  The savings could be used after the individual reaches the age of 22 to purchase services which are specified in the bill.

Last Action: 03/13/13 HOUSE Favorable with CS by Healthy Families Subcommittee.

ChildrensInitiativeChildren's Initiatives


Florida children's initiatives, previously called Florida Children's Zones, "assist disadvantaged areas within the state in creating a community-based service network that develops, coordinates, and provides quality education, accessible health care, youth development programs, opportunities for employment, and safe and affordable housing for children and families living within its boundaries."  There are currently three Florida children's initiatives: the Miami Children's Initiative, Inc., the New Town Success Zone, and Parramore Kidz Zone.  The Miami Children's Initiative, Inc. is the only initiative codified in statute.  In addition to other provisions, HB 411 codifies the New Town Success Zone and the Parramore Kidz Zone in statute.

Last Action: 03/13/13 HOUSE Favorable with CS by Healthy Families Subcommittee.

JJEducationProgramsJuvenile Justice Education Programs


CS/HB 441 makes changes to the provisions of law governing accountability, deliverance, and review of juvenile justice education programs that provide educational services to students within the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).   Among many others, the bill makes changes by:
  • requiring the Department of Education (DOE) in partnership with DJJ to develop a comprehensive accountability and school improvement process;
  • requiring DOE in collaboration with DJJ to monitor and report on the educational performance of students in commitment, day treatment, prevention, and detention programs; and

  •  requiring school districts and juvenile justice education providers, in collaboration with others to develop an individualized transition plan during a student's stay in a program.

Last Action: 03/12/13 HOUSE Favorable with CS by Choice & Innovation Subcommittee

You want a friend in Washington?  Get a dog.

 -- Harry S. Truman

SchoolSafetySchool Safety


SB 514 creates the School Safety Act to authorize a county to create an independent special district by ordinance to identify and assess the security and mental health referral needs of all schools served by the school board.

Funding would be through an annual ad valorem tax of up to 0.5 mills, if approved by a majority of the electors in the county voting in a referendum held for that purpose.  Funds collected are intended to be used to support improvements in services for county schools and students, rather than a substitute for existing resources or resources that would otherwise be available for security and mental health referral needs

Last Action: 03/12/13 SENATE Favorable by Education.

ReviewDOEAReview of Department of Elder Affairs


HB 601 directs the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) to conduct a review and evaluation of the Department of Elderly Affairs (DOEA) and its offices, divisions, programs, and functions.

Last Action: 03/13/13 HOUSE Favorable by Healthy Families Subcommittee.



CS/SB 626 defines and prohibits cyberbullying, and specifies the circumstances under which bullying, cyberbullying and harassment of any student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution is prohibited.  The bill requires the Department of Education (by October 1, 2013) and school districts (by December 1, 2013) to incorporate cyberbullying into their model policies on bullying and harassment. 

Last Action 03/12/13 SENATE Favorable with CS by Education.

SummerCampsSummer Camps


CS/SB 630 requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to license summer day camps and summer 24-hour camps.  The bill creates definitions and prohibits any governmental agency, jurisdiction, or authority from regulating, controlling, or supervising the religious curriculum of a summer day camp or summer 24-hour camp unless the health, safety, or well-being of the child is adversely affected.

On Tuesday, the Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee approved a substantial amendment to the bill that, among others the amendment defines owners, operators, employees, and volunteers who have any contact with children in summer day camps or summer 24-hour camps as "summer camp personnel" and requires them to be screened using the level 2 standards.

Last Action: 03/12/13 SENATE Favorable with CS by Children, Families, and Elder Affairs.

AllInclusiveCareElderlyProgram for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly


CS/SB 748 authorizes two additional Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) sites with up to 300 slots each.  One site is authorized to serve Duval, St. Johns, Baker, and Nassau Counties.  The second is authorized to serve Alachua, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Putnam, Suwannee, and Union Counties.

Last Action: 03/12/13 SENATE Favorable with CS by Children, Families, and Elder Affairs.

RestitutionJuvenileOffensesRestitution for Juvenile Offenses


Florida law authorizes a court with jurisdiction over a child that has been adjudicated delinquent to order the child to pay restitution to the victim for any damage or loss caused by the child's offense.  A parent or guardian may be absolved of liability for restitution in their child's criminal case if the court makes a finding that the parent or guardian has made "diligent and good faith efforts to prevent the child from engaging in delinquent acts."

CS/HB 785 amends the law to require, rather than authorize, the court to order a child and the child's parent or legal guardian to pay restitution. 

Last Action: 03/12/13 HOUSE Favorable with CS by Criminal Justice Subcommittee.


Imagine ... If we could ...


Are the Stars Aligned for School Readiness?


Medicaid Expansion ... THE 2013 Issue


And the Poor Get Poorer





Foster Children/Normalcy


Protection of Elders


Developmental Disabilities Savings Program


Children's Initiatives


Juvenile Justice Education Programs 


School Safety


Review of Department of Elder Affairs




Summer Camps


Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly


Restitution for Juvenile Offenses



United Way of Florida bills of interest, updated weekly.
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A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it.  -- Bob Hope


Session Dates

March 5

- First day of the 2013 Florida Legislative Session 

April 8 & 9

- Children's Week

May 3

- Last day of Session 


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