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Legislative Link
A legislative update provided by the United Way of Florida
 
ISSUE #1                                                                                             MARCH 7, 2014
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Greetings!  Welcome to your 2014 Legislative Link

 

The Legislative Link will arrive in your inbox every Friday during Session, updating you on issues of interest to United Ways and our partners.  Highlighting legislative activities that took place during the week, the Legislative Link will focus on the spectrum of health, human service and non-profit issues.  We hope you enjoy it, learn from it, and have a great 2014 Session!

AndTheyreOffAnd They're Off!

2014 Session starts fast out of the blocks.


The 2014 Florida Legislative Session officially began on Tuesday, but shot out of the gates on Monday as 10 Committees met to consider more than 30 bills, while liberal "Moral Monday" protesters and a conservative "Americans for Prosperity" rally vied for attention.

On Tuesday, the session officially started with the Governor's State of the State Address.  Immediately afterward, the full Senate passed out a package of sexual predator bills sure to please voters in November.

The speedy session start highlights legislative leaders' intent to not only grapple with numerous issues, but to address them quickly and end session as scheduled on May 2, so members can hit the campaign trail.  While all sessions are political, the politics of the 2014 Session will be intensified, as the entire Cabinet, the Governor, all 120 members of the House, and half of the Senate (20) are up for election in November.

Priority2014IssuesFlorida's United Ways: Priority 2014 Issues

 

Florida's 32 United Ways strive daily to solve the most pressing education, income, health, and safety net challenges facing our communities.  Our work extends deep into the fabric of our communities and expands to embrace every opportunity to improve the lives of our neighbors and those we serve.

During the 2014 Session, we will focus on two 2014 Florida United Way Consensus Legislative Agenda priorities:  Early Learning and Access to Health Care.

While we will focus on these critical issues, we will also join our community partners in their advocacy efforts to improve the quality of life for all Floridians; pursuing issues that - together with our Consensus issues - are fundamentally important to improving the health and well-being of our communities, today and tomorrow.  Read more.

I learned a long time ago that "minor surgery" is when they do the operation on someone else, not you.

-- Bill Walton, Portland Trail Blazers

FLRateofUninsuredFlorida Has Nation's Second-Highest Rate of Uninsured

 

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

CountyUninsuredNumbersSee Your County's Uninsured Numbers

 

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

ItsYourMoneyGovernor Scott's "It's Your Money" Proposed Budget

 

Each year, the Governor submits a proposed budget for the next fiscal year to the Legislature.  Although it identifies the Governor's priorities for funding, it is just that, a proposal; the Legislature can use all or parts of it, or toss it in file 13.


In February, Governor Scott's Office of Policy and Budget presented his It's Your Money Tax Cut Budget proposal for 2014-2015 to House and Senate budget committees.  Those committees will craft their own budgets in coming weeks and the Legislature will pass its final 2014-2015 state budget during the last days of the 2014 Session.  The Governor's budget provides a mix of increased funding for services, tax cuts, and eliminating government waste.  Read more.

HouseEdEarlyLearningHouse Education Committee Passes Early Learning Bill

 

The House Education Committee is again taking the lead in addressing Florida's early learning system.  Building on last year's good bill, the Committee has passed HB 7069


The 75-page bill is focused primarily on shoring up health and safety standards applicable to providers of early learning services.  Although these standards are the foundation for a true quality system, the bill does not go beyond them to address other important quality issues.  However, it is a good start because health and safety standards applicable to the many different types of early learning providers vary widely, and many children today are in early learning settings that do not comport with acceptable minimum standards.  Read more.

If 27 years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are. -- Nelson Mandela, 13th International AIDS Conference, 2000

MoreMoneyMore Money for Next Year!

 

The only bill the Florida Legislature is constitutionally required to pass each session is a state budget.  Unlike the federal budget, it must be balanced; we can't spend more than we bring in.


Next year, state economists project our resurgent state economy will generate an additional $1.3 billion of General Revenue (GR).  For the first time since 2005-2006, the Legislature will have over $27 billion to invest in state services and to give back to taxpayers.  Read more.

TanningSalonsMore Tanning Salons than McDonald's in Florida

 

In December, the Miami Herald reported that Florida has more than 1,261 registered tanning facilities, 868 McDonald's restaurants, and 693 CVS pharmacies.  This means the state has a tanning salon for every 15,113 people - about one every 50 square miles.  Read more.

I'm working as hard as I can to get my life and my cash to run out at the same time.  If I can just die after lunch Tuesday, everything will be perfect.
-- Doug Sanders, professional golfer
BillsHeardBILLS HEARD THIS WEEK
(Portions excerpted from Legislative staff analyses.)

IdentityTheftIdentify Theft

 

CS/HB 151 creates the "Keeping I.D. Safe (KIDS) Act" authorizing representatives of minors younger than 16 years of age to place a security freeze on the minor's consumer credit report.  The purpose is to thwart criminals from stealing the personal information of the minor (i.e., "stealing their identities") to defraud businesses and individuals, thereby destroying the minor's credit.


Last Action: 03/06/14 SENATE Favorable with CS by Regulatory Affairs Committee.

CannedFoodCanned or Perishable Food Distributed Free of Charge

  

SB 160 adds public schools to the list of defined donors protected from civil and criminal liability when they donate food to charitable organizations. 


Last Action: 03/06/14 SENATE On Committee Agenda - Judiciary, 03/11/14, 1:30 PM, 110 S.

JuvenileJusticeEdProgsJuvenile Justice Education Programs

  

CS/HB 173 makes multiple changes to provisions of law governing accountability, deliverance, and review of programs that provide educational services to students within the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).  Among many others, the bill revises accountability of juvenile justice education programs 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. 
  • Requiring DOE in consultation with DJJ, district school boards, and providers to adopt rules for objective and measurable student performance measures and program performance ratings for the delivery of educational services by prevention, day treatment, and residential programs.  
  • Requiring DJJ in consultation with DOE to publish by March 1 of each year a report on program costs and effectiveness, educational performance of students, and recommendations for modification or elimination of programs or program activities. 

The bill revises provisions related to juvenile justice programs by:

  • Requiring the State Board of Education to adopt rules for student assessment that determine the areas of academic need and strategies for appropriate intervention and instruction for students in detention facilities and requires a research-based assessment be administered that will assist students in determining educational and career options and goals. 
  • Requiring DOE and DJJ to provide oversight and guidance on how to implement effective educational transition planning and services. 
  • Requiring prevention and day treatment programs to provide career readiness and exploration opportunities, as well as truancy and dropout prevention intervention services. 

Last Action: 3/04/14 HOUSE Favorable with CS by Education Committee.

UnaccompaniedYouthUnaccompanied Youth

  

CS/SB 260 establishes the legal authority for an unaccompanied youth who is also a certified homeless youth, to consent to certain medical procedures and care without a parent's permission.


The unaccompanied youth must be at least 16 years old and may consent to medical, dental, psychological, substance abuse, and surgical diagnosis and treatment, including preventative care.  The youth may consent for himself or herself or his or her child if the youth is unmarried, the parent of the child, and has actual custody of the child.


Last Action: 03/04/14 SENATE Favorable with CS by Judiciary Committee.

FoodDesertsFood Deserts

  

SB 426 provides an income tax credit for grocery businesses that sell nutrient-dense food items in areas designated as food deserts.


Food deserts are defined as urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food.  Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options.  The lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.


Last Action: 03/03/04 SENATE Favorable by Agriculture Committee.

BullyingBullying

  

CS/SB 548 creates a criminal statute penalizing bullying and aggravated bullying.  The newly-created statute provides a second degree misdemeanor for bullying and a first degree misdemeanor for aggravated bullying.  Cyberbullying is included in each new crime.  The elements of these two new offenses and the definitions provided in the bill are the same as the elements and definitions in the stalking statute.


Last Action: 03/05/14 SENATE Favorable with CS by Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice.

DJJDepartment of Juvenile Justice

  

CS/SB 700 amends juvenile justice statutes to enhance the state's focus on serious juvenile offenders, adopt measures to reduce recidivism, and increase care of juvenile offenders in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).


To provide an increased focus on serious cases and public safety, the bill, among others:

  • Requires DJJ to notify a law enforcement agency and the victim of a juvenile offender who has escaped or absconded while in custody during commitment;
  • Authorizes the court to order juvenile offenders who commit technical violations of probation into a diversion program; and  
  • Waives fingerprinting requirements for children committing offenses that may only result in a civil citation.

To reduce recidivism through recognizing the special needs of children and the need for transitional services, the bill, among others:

  • Authorizes intake personnel to incorporate mental health, substance abuse, and psychosexual evaluations as part of the intake process;
  • Establishes trauma-informed care as part of the DJJ model;
  • Encourages placement of children in their home communities to facilitate family and community support;
  • Enhances the transition-to-adult services offered and lifts the age restriction of youth clients eligible for service; and
  • Requires DJJ to focus on prevention services through providing academic and community support for at-risk youth.

Lastly, the bill requires DJJ to adopt a system to measure performance based on recidivism rates of providers and programs, and to annually report findings to the Legislature.


Last Action: 3/04/14 SENATE Favorable with CS by Judiciary Committee.

UniformFraudTransferActUniform Fraudulent Transfer Act

  

SB 856 amends the Florida Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act to expand the protection against a creditor's clawback action for charitable contributions received in good faith by qualified religious or charitable organizations.  The bill protects charitable contributions made by a debtor who makes such a contribution without receiving equivalent value in exchange for the contribution while the debtor was insolvent or became insolvent as a result of making the contribution.  The bill aligns this exemption with similar provisions in the Federal Bankruptcy Code.


Last Action: 03/06/14 SENATE On committee agenda-Banking and Insurance, 03/11/14, 4:00 PM 110 S.

MilitaryandVeteransAffairsMilitary and Veterans' Affairs

  

SB 860 contains numerous provisions relating to employment, education, services, and benefits for current and former military personnel.  Among others, the bill:  

  • Expands the scope of Florida National Guard Education Dollars for Duty program;
  • Creates the Florida Veterans' Walk of Honor and Memorial Garden, to be located on the Capitol Complex grounds;
  • Expands employment preference for positions in state, local and regional governmental entities, including the public education system, to all veterans, current members of the Reserves and the Florida National Guard, and the parents and spouses of service members who died in combat;
  • Creates a marketing campaign to promote Florida to retired and recently separated military; and
  • Creates the Veterans' Employment and Training Support (VETS) program to connect veterans and businesses, assist veterans in assessing employment skills, and provide veterans entrepreneur mentoring.

Last Action: 03/06/14 SENATE Favorable with CS by Appropriations Committee.

EmploymentofVeteransEmployment of Veterans

 

SB 970 authorizes, but does not require, a private sector employer to establish a voluntary veterans' preference in employment process for an honorably discharged veteran or the spouse of a service-disabled veteran.


Last Action: 03/05/14 SENATE Favorable by the Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Committee.

WHAT'S INSIDE
    

And They're Off!

 

Florida's United Ways: Priority 2014 Issues

 

Florida Has Nation's Second-Highest Rate of Uninsured

 

See Your County's Uninsured Numbers

 

Governor Scott's "It's Your Money" Proposed Budget

 

House Education Committee Passes Early Learning Bill

 

More Money for Next Year!

 

More Tanning Salons than McDonald's in Florida

 

 

BILLS HEARD THIS WEEK:

 

Identity Theft

 

Canned or Perishable Food Distributed Free of Charge

 

Juvenile Justice Education Programs

 

Unaccompanied Youth

 

Food Deserts

 

Bullying

 

Department of Juvenile Justice

 

Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act

 

Military and Veterans' Affairs

 

Employment of Veterans

 

United Way of Florida bills of interest, updated weekly.
  
QUICK LINKS

UNITED WAY OF FLORIDA

 

CHILDREN'S WEEK

 

CHILDREN'S MOVEMENT OF FLORIDA

  

FLORIDA CHILDREN'S COUNCIL

 

ONLINE SUNSHINE

 

ADVOCACY 101

 

LOBBY LAW FOR NONPROFITS

 

FIND YOUR UNITED WAY

 

Click on the link above, then enter your email into the "Newsletter Sign Up" box at the very bottom of the page to automatically receive the Legislative Link and information about childrens' issues.

  

Important

Session Dates

March 4

- First day of the 2014 Florida Legislative Session 
   

April 6-11

- Children's Week
  

May 2

- Last day of Session 

 

The only difference between me and General Custer is that I have to watch the films on Sunday.

-- Rick Venturi, Northwestern University football coach

 
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