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            United Gazette
                                         Weekly News from the Capitol
Issue: #1March 10, 2014
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: 2014 Session Begins, United Gazette Returns!
Welcome back to the United Gazette, your quick connection to what's happening each week in Tallahassee. Once again, the Gazette will arrive in your mailbox every Monday during the 2014 Florida Legislative Session. It will showcase activities and key bills concerning the education, health, financial stability and nonprofit issues important to Florida's United Ways and their communities. Enjoy it, learn from it and have a great 2014 Session!
Quick Links
Florida United Ways' 2014 Priority Agenda

Florida's 32 United Ways are working together to solve our most pressing education, income, health, and safety net challenges.  Our 2014 Florida United Ways Consensus Legislative Agenda has two statewide priorities:

  • Quality early learning opportunities; and
  • Access to affordable health care.

We will advocate for these priority issues during Session, and also support our community partners in their advocacy efforts to improve the quality of life for all Floridians.  Read more.



Early Learning Bill Passes First Committee


The House Education Committee is again taking the lead in addressing Florida's early learning system. With leadership from Chair Maureen O'Toole (R-The Villages), the Committee passed HB 7069, strengthening health and safety standards, licensing, training and minimum qualifications for early learning providers.  The bill also includes a 2-year pilot to study the impact of English/ Spanish Voluntary Prekindergarten assessments for children who are English Language Learners.  Read more.


Florida's Uninsured:  Second-Highest Rate in US


Kaiser Health News reports that Florida has the nation's second-highest rate of uninsured residents younger than 65 - about 3.8 million people, close to 25 percent of the state's population - including more than 500,000 younger than 19.  Read more.

How many residents in your county are uninsured and what is the "coverage gap?"  Check out this interactive county map to learn more.  (Healthcare for Florida Now, March 5, 2014)


Bills to Watch This Week:


CS/HB 409 Offenses Against Vulnerable Persons (Passidomo, R-Naples) will be heard in the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee this week. The bill strengthens protections against identity theft and financial exploitation for elders and disabled adults.


CS/HB 159 Establishment of Mental Health First Aid Training (Berman, D-Boynton Beach) will be heard this week in the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee. The bill requires DCF to establish evidence-based training programs in schools and other community settings to help the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.


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.