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            United Gazette
                                         Weekly News from the Capitol
Issue: #6April 14, 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: Budget Conference Delayed


The Legislature is taking a Passover/Easter break this week, delaying the start of the budget conference until April 21st. Meanwhile, both policy and budget committees have concluded their work and, with the exception of budget conference, Rules Committees and last-minute policy or appropriations committees, legislators will spend the last two weeks of session voting on floor bills.  One major issue remaining to be resolved is child welfare. The omnibus bills, SB 1666 and HB 7169, will be heard in Week 8, when legislators return.

Quick Links
ACTION ALERT:  Child booster seats save lives.  Please call or email Chair Joe Negron (R-Stuart) and other members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and ask them to support CS/SB 518 (sponsored by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami).
Florida Chamber Announces New Business Alliance for Children
At last week's Children's Week

Business Leaders Luncheon, Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, announced that the Chamber Foundation is creating a Florida Business Alliance on Early Education.  More than 150 Florida business leaders and other stakeholders attended the luncheon, which was hosted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Council of 100, Florida TaxWatch, the Children's Forum, Children's Movement of Florida and United Way.  Neuroscientist Dr. Pat Levitt and Governor Rick Scott called early learning a workforce development priority, underscoring the message that the first years of life are the foundation for a strong economy.    


Homeless Challenge Grants Revised


The 2013 Homeless Assessment Report (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) found that five states, including Florida, counted for more than half of the U.S. homeless population.  Last week, the House Appropriations Committee passed CS/CS/HB 979 Homelessness, amending the Affordable Housing Planning and Community Assistance Act to support temporary shelter for the homeless and to address the issues contributing to homelessness. 


Caring for Traumatized Children


When young children are abused or neglected and taken away from their families to protect them, should they be kept with their siblings in group homes or should they be separated from their siblings and placed with foster parents, who can provide a more nurturing and supportive environment?
When children have been victims of human trafficking should they be locked in a facility to keep them from running away?


These two issues dominated legislative discussions last week on two separate bills.  Read more.


Two Middle Class Incomes Don't Add Up to a Home


A recent analysis of housing affordability concludes that for a family earning two median incomes, only 41 percent of homes currently for sale in 40 U.S. cities are within their means (i.e., less than 28% of gross monthly income). Check out the housing profile for a defined geographic area in Florida through the Florida Housing Data Clearinghouse databank.



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, United Way of Florida, or Jess Scher, United Way of Miami-Dade.