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            United Gazette
                                         Weekly News from the Capitol
Issue: #2March 18, 2013
A weekly update during the Florida Legislative Session, highlighting how United Way is working to make our community a better place to live.
Top News: Medicaid Expansion
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 regarding the proper role of government and costs of implementation have set the stage for a legislative showdown.  At stake: a million uninsured Floridians and billions of federal dollars.  Read more.
Quick Links
2013 Priority Agenda Issue: Homelessness
In 2012, Florida's Council on Homelessness reported:
  • Over 56,000 school-aged children in Florida were identified as homeless in the 2010-11 school year;
  • An additional 54,000 adults are homeless on any given day, giving Florida the third largest number of homeless persons in the country;
  • Floridians who have families and lost their jobs make up the fastest growing homeless population; and
  • Department of Children and Families reported only about 10,000 emergency shelter beds and an additional 14,000 transitional shelter beds available to serve this population.
Consumer Finance Loans


Florida ranks 47th among states in the financial stability of its residents. More than half of Floridians have little or no savings to fall back on in the event of a job loss, health crisis or other emergency, according to the Assets and Opportunities Scorecard. Unfortunately, legislation is moving forward that would make it harder for these Floridians to regain their financial footing.  HB 425 by Rep. Tom Goodson (R-Titusville) increases interest, fees and penalties on consumer finance loans, a type of unsecured loan primarily used by low and middle class consumers, many living paycheck-to-paycheck. Read more.

Florida KidCare: Presumptive Eligibility

Increased access to health care for children through expanded eligibility for KidCare (Florida's Children's Health Insurance Program) is a priority for Florida United Ways.  HB 689, by Healthy Families Subcommittee Chair Gayle Harrell (R-Port St. Lucie), would permit Federally Qualified Health Centers and state health clinics to immediately enroll children presumed to be eligible for the Florida KidCare Program, while their applications are processed.  Presumptive eligibility provides children critical immediate treatment and follow up care.  The bill had its first hearing in the House Healthy Families Subcommittee last week and passed unanimously. The companion bill, SB 548 by Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice), has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.  Read more.

Bills to Watch This Week:


HB 253 Protection of Vulnerable Adults by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, (R-Naples) introduces a new standard to determine a vulnerable adult's need for adult protective services.  Currently, a vulnerable adult must lack the 'capacity to consent' before protective actions may be initiated.  The bill eases the standard to require only that the vulnerable adult's ability to consent is 'impaired' before protective actions may be taken.  Approximately 6,000 additional vulnerable adults per year would be protected under the Department of Children and Family's Adult Protective Services program as a result of this change.  Next stop for the bill: House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

Questions or Comments?
If you have questions or comments regarding the United Gazette and how United Way is working in Tallahassee to support your community, contact Ted Granger or Jess Scher.