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 Legislative Link            #LiveUnitedFL
ISSUE 9 | MARCH 11, 2016
ItEndsTodayIt Ends Today
Legislators are on track to end the 60 day legislative session later today. As this Legislative Link went to press, bills were flying through both chambers in a mad rush to get priority issues off the table, and next year's $82 billion state budget awaited a final vote.
As a result, Legislators will accomplish their top session priority: adjourn on time. With elections before them, the coming months are too important to spend in Tallahassee.
But they may end up returning. It appears votes on the budget in both chambers will be lopsided, with enough "yeas" to easily over-ride vetoes by Governor Scott.  Even so, many are speculating the Governor may surpass the $461 million he vetoed last year because Legislators refused to come close on his request for $1 billion in tax cuts and $250 million for economic incentives. In the end, the tax cut package is about $400 million and no incentives are in the budget.
The Governor has seven days - next Wednesday - from budget passage to veto it.
This much-abbreviated Legislative Link will be followed in the near future - after the dust settles from the last days of frenetic lawmaking - with a comprehensive Wrap-Up Edition, highlighting key issues addressed and not addressed by the 2016 Legislature.
In the meantime, click here to view major budget items of interest to United Ways and our partners across the state.
QuickTakesQuick Takes - Status of Bills on the Last Day of Session
Entering the last day of the 2016 regular session, the following bills of interest to United Ways and our partners had either been passed or were still in position to be passed.  Because of the volume of amendments being made, it is difficult to determine the exact contents of some bills, so the list of bills below is a partial listing of those the contents of which are clear.  A comprehensive listing of bills of interest with session outcomes will be contained in the upcoming Wrap-Up Edition of the Legislative Link.  Please check the linked Bill Briefs to see exactly where each bill below is in the process):
Bills Passed by Both Chambers:
  • Creating pilot projects that provide personal devices to aid in search-and-rescue efforts for persons with special needs in cases of elopement (CS/SB 230).
  • Amends current law to require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to retain the criminal history record of minors only until they turn 21 in certain circumstances (SB 386)...Signed by Governor.
  • Provides that clergy, churches and religious organizations, and their employees may not be required to solemnize a marriage if the action would cause them to violate a sincerely held religious belief (SB 110)...Signed by Governor.
  • Permits an owner or operator of a market that sells fresh produce to be a Supplemental Nutrition Services Program (SNAP) retailer authorized to establish an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system to accept SNAP payments for the market's produce sellers (HB 103)...Signed by Governor.
  • Provides immunity from civil liability for breaking into hot cars to save a vulnerable person or domestic animal under certain circumstances (HB 131)...Signed by Governor.
  • Expands the total membership of the Children and Youth Cabinet to 16 by adding a superintendent of schools who is appointed by the Governor (HB 241)...Signed by Governor.
  • Authorizes five year olds to participate in the VPK program (SB 524).
  • Addresses numerous issues relating to human trafficking, including prohibiting persons under the age of 18 from being prosecuted for prostitution; providing that sexually exploiting a child in prostitution is human trafficking, and increasing penalties for knowingly renting space to be used for prostitution (HB 545)...Signed by Governor.
  • Allows judges to place the best interests of children in adoption cases above the biological parents' wishes (SB 590).
  • Authorizes the Agency for Health Care Administration to reimburse health care facilities under the Medicaid program for remedial dental services (remedial tasks) delivered by a dental hygienist when provided to a Medicaid recipient younger than 21 years of age (SB 580).
  • Authorizes private schools to establish transition-to-work programs for students participating in the John M. McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program, which will allow students to earn credits while working off-site (CS/HB 837).
  • Extends new CCDBG background screening requirements to all child care personnel regardless of whether their employer child care provider receives federal CCDBG funding (HB 1125).
  • Addresses the employment and economic independence of individuals with disabilities by, among others, modifying the definition of "developmental disability" to include Down Syndrome, modifying the state's equal employment policy to provide enhanced executive agency employment opportunities for individuals who have a disability, and creating the Employment First Act, which requires certain state agencies and organizations to develop an interagency cooperative agreement to ensure a long-term commitment to improving employment outcomes for individuals who have a disability. 
Bills Still In Play:
  • Comprehensive mental health bill that, among others, creates a coordinated system of care to be provided either by a community or a region for those suffering from mental illness or substance use disorder through a "No Wrong Door" system of single access points (SB 12).
  • Eliminating the five year waiting period for legally residing immigrant children to access health coverage through KidCare (HB 5101).
  • Establishes the Healthy Food Financing Initiative Pilot Program to provide financial assistance for development or expansion of grocery retail outlets that operate in under-served communities or low income or moderate income communities (HB 153).
  • Establishes the Florida Commission on Poverty, assigned to the Department of Economic Opportunity, to serve as an advisory board to the Governor and Cabinet, the Legislature, and appropriate state agencies and entities on matters relating to poverty (SB 556).
  • Requires income of undocumented immigrant family members to be included in the calculation of Temporary Cash Assistance Program (TANF) benefits (HB 563).
  • Deletes form Florida statutes the Florida State Employees' Charitable Campaign and requires DMS to conduct a study regarding the Campaign's future (HB 593).
  • A comprehensive child welfare bill that, among others, requires Community Based Care lead agencies to provide a continuum of care through direct provision, subcontract, referral, or other effective means, and extends court jurisdiction to age 22 for young adults with disabilities in foster care (CS/CS/HB 599).
  • Implements new CCBDG requirements to increase public information on, and background screening of, child care workers and delineates the roles and responsibilities of the Department of Health and local Early Steps offices (CS/HB 7053).


Session Dates

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