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            United Gazette
                                         Weekly News from the Capitol
Issue: #9May 6, 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: Sine Die
The 2013 Florida Legislative Session ended on schedule Friday. Successes for United Way priorities include: extra funding for early learning; homeless services; and home and community care for frail elders.  In addition, foster kids' lives will be 'normalized' and foster care will be extended from age 18 to 21; teachers across the state will receive pay increases. A Wrap-Up edition of the Gazette, highlighting key issues, will be published next week.
Quick Links
United Way Priority Agenda Issue: Early Learning Bill Passes

In the last hours of the 2013 Session, CS/HB 7165, the early learning bill developed by the House Education Committee and Chair Marlene O'Toole (R-The Villages), bounced back and forth between the House and Senate.  The House finally passed the bill, with several Senate amendments, putting a new early learning law on the books.  More in next week's 'Wrap-Up' issue.



Foster Care Bill Passes


Each year, thousands of children leave state dependency systems because they turn 18 and are no longer eligible for care. Research shows they experience many difficulties as they enter adulthood. The Florida Legislature has now passed CS/SB 1036, allowing young adults to remain in foster care until they are 21 and increasing their opportunities to have better and more productive lives.  Read more.

National Study: High-Quality Pre-K Funding Falls Farther Behind


A national report on state pre-K funding shows a steady decline over the past decade in per-child funding, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) State of Preschool 2012 Yearbook.  This is the first year since NIEER started tracking pre-K funding in 2002 that per-child spending has dropped below $4,000.  Florida's Voluntary Prekindergarten budget for 2013-14 is just $2,383 per child, well below the national average.


Bills to Watch This Week:


Florida Election CodeCS/HB 7013, by the Ethics and Elections Subcommittee and Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, passed on the last day of session, extends early voting for up to 14 days and  extends minimum and maximum early voting hours; gives counties more discretion to select multiple voting sites; allows voters who registered late to vote; limits the number of words in ballot summaries; and requires the supervisor of elections to notify absentees if their ballot is unsigned.  It also provides that the primary dates will be on the first Tuesday that the major political parties' rules allow for allocating delegates without penalty.

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.