News & Events
WEEK 2 – BILLS ON THE MOVE
With the conclusion of Week Two, the 2018 Session is in full swing and bills are on the move. Last week’s edition of Capitol Connection featured a comprehensive list of proposed bills relating to children, youth & families in Florida. As we progress through Session, the Capitol Connection will only include bills from the initial list that have moved or received action. This week saw many bills of interest to child advocates moving through the process.
During the first week of session and continuing into Week Two, the House focused on addressing the approximately 1,300 member project budget bills. According to Senate spokeswoman, Katie Betta, it is likely that the chairs of the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees will release their specific budgets next week. The Senate’s full budget is expected to be released during the fourth week of Session. Governor Rick Scott’s recommended budget for this fiscal year is the largest one in Florida’s history totaling $87 billion, and will likely be vastly different than the budgets proposed by the House and Senate (Peter Schorsch, Sunburn January 19, 2018).
A bill relating to Early Learning Coalitions, SB 1532, was filed by Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) with the House companion, HB 1175 by Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (R-Eustis) that authorizes an early learning coalition to terminate a contract with School Readiness program providers for a class I health and safety violation. SB 1532 has not yet been referred to committees. HB 1175 was reported favorably in the PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee on January 17, 2018.
Florida Kidcare Program
SB 108 by Sen. Daphne Campbell (D-North Miami Beach) and HB 293 by Rep. Nicholas Duran (R-Miami) propose to create a Kidcare Operational Efficiency & Health Care Improvement Workgroup to maximize the return on investment and enhance the operational efficiencies of the Florida Kidcare program. SB 108 was reported favorably in the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee on January 16, 2018 and HB 293 was reported favorably in the Health Innovation Subcommittee on January 10, 2018. Each bill has one committee stop remaining.
Perinatal Mental Health
SB 138 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) and HB 937 by Rep. Jeanette Nunez (R-Miami) create the “Florida Families First Act” and would require the Department of Health to create public service announcements to educate the public on perinatal mental health care, as well as revise components that are included in the postpartum evaluation and follow-up care provided by birth centers to include a mental health screening and the provision of certain information on postpartum depression. SB 138 was reported favorably in the Health Policy Committee on January 16, 2018. HB 937 has been referred to three committees and is awaiting action in the Health Innovation Subcommittee.
SB 1680 by Sen. Bill Montford (D-Quincy) and the House companion, HB 1045 by Rep. Cary Pigman (R-Sebring) revise provisions relating to the communicable disease prevention and control programs under the Department of Health. The bill proposes to delete a provision that allows the parent or guardian of a child to refuse to have the child included in the immunization registry and revises school-entry health requirements to require that students have a certificate of immunization on file with the department’s immunization registry. SB 1680 is scheduled to be heard in the Health Policy Committee on Tuesday, January 23, 2018. HB 1045 has been referred to three committees and is awaiting action in the Health Quality Subcommittee.
SB 774 by Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) and the House companion, HB 505 by Rep. Rick Roth (R-Palm Beach Garden) and Rep. Patricia Williams (D-Ft. Lauderdale) revise the types of information relating to the identity and location of a child’s legal father that fall within the scope of a court inquiry at a shelter hearing or a hearing regarding a petition for termination of parental rights. The bills provide for certain unmarried biological fathers to receive notice of dependency hearings and requires notice of a petition for termination of parental rights to be served on an unmarried biological father identified under oath or by a diligent search of the Florida Putative Father Registry. SB 774 is scheduled to be heard in the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee on Monday, January 22, 2018. HB 505 was reported favorably in the Civil Justice and Claims Subcommittee on January 17, 2018.
SB 1514 by Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) and SB 1360 by Sen. Doug Broxson (R-Pensacola) and HB 1079 by Rep. Colleen Burton (R-Lakeland) focus on a wide breadth of modifications to the child welfare system including:
- DCF establishing rules and procedures for granting exemptions from criminal history and other records checks required for persons being considered for placement of child
- Revising equity allocation formula for community-based care lead agencies
- Requiring child care personnel screening to include out-of-state criminal history records and sexual predator and sexual offender registry searches
- Revising offenses that disqualify certain child care personnel from specified employment
- Requiring the DCF to establish a certain exemption process and to adopt rules and procedures for the documentation necessary for exempting household members who have disabilities from being fingerprinted before a child is placed in the home
- Requiring the department to take all the necessary steps to recover financial assistance provided to non-relative caregivers under certain circumstances
- Authorizing the court to make certain determinations regarding placement of a child with a guardian
SB 1514 and SB 1360 have each been referred to three committees. HB 1079 was reported favorably by the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee on January 17, 2018.
SB 508 by Sen. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) and the House companion HB 751 by Rep. Dane Eagle (R-Cape Coral) require CareerSource Florida, Inc., to submit in a detailed annual report certain information on individuals subject to mandatory work requirements who receive temporary cash or food assistance. The bill requires the Department of Economic Opportunity to work with program participants in developing strategies to overcome obstacles to compliance with work activity requirements and creates the TANF Reemployment Pilot Program in Pinellas County. SB 508 has been referred to four committees. HB 751 was reported favorably by the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee on January 17, 2018.
SB 1232 by Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Lady Lake) and the House companion, HB 643 by Rep. Bobby Payne (R-Palatka) pertain to public assistance fraud and revise the maximum reward paid to persons providing certain information leading to the recovery of particular fraudulent public assistance payments. The bill also proposes to direct state-retained shares of recovered public assistance over payments to be held in the Federal Grants Trust Fund. SB 1232 is scheduled to be heard in the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee on Monday, January 22, 2018. HB 643 has been referred to three committees.
HB 7039 (formerly PCB CRJ 18-03) is a House committee bill relating to Human Trafficking that provides a mandatory minimum sentence for certain human trafficking offenses, expands the definition of an adult and prohibits assessing certain fees and costs to victims of human trafficking seeking criminal records expungement. The Senate companion, SB 1502 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) has been referred to three committees. HB 7039 was reported favorably by the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on January 16, 2018.
HB 417 by Rep. Evan Jenne (D-Hollywood) and its Senate companion, SB 1212 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) provide an exemption from public records requirements to certain identifying and location information of current or former directors, managers, supervisors, and clinical employees of child advocacy centers that meet certain standards. This exemption includes members of a child protection team, their spouses and children. HB 417 was reported favorably by the Oversight, Transparency and Administration Subcommittee on January 10, 2018 and now heads to its final committee, Health and Human Services. SB 1212 was reported favorably by the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee on January 16, 2018.
HB 7017 by the Criminal Justice Subcommittee and Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (R-Eustis) and the Senate companion, SB 1214 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) authorize subpoenas in certain investigations of sexual offenses involving child victims & specifiy requirements and provide for separate offenses of transmission of child pornography. HB 7017 was reported favorably by the Justice Appropriations Subcommittee on January 18, 2018. SB 1214 has been referred to four committees.
SB 1004 by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and the House companion, HB 361 by Rep. David Richardson (D-Miami Beach) and Rep. Cynthia Stafford (D-Opa Locka) authorize certain elected and state officials (or their designees) to visit all state facilities housing juveniles which are operated or overseen by the Department of Juvenile Justice and prohibit the department from unreasonably withholding permission for visits to such facilities by certain persons. SB 1004 was reported favorable by the Criminal Justice Committee on January 16, 2018 and now moves to its final stop in the Rules Committee. HB 361 has been referred to two committees and awaits action by the Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
SB 936 by Sen. Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach) and the similar House bill, HB 509 by Rep. Sean Shaw (D-Tampa) create an exception to the suspension of civil rights upon the conviction of a felony for children convicted as adults and require children of certain ages who are convicted and sentenced to the Department of Corrections to be kept completely separated from adult offenders in the facility. SB 936 is scheduled to be heard in the Criminal Justice Committee on Monday, January 22, 2018. HB 509 has been referred to three committees and is awaiting action in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
OTHER BILLS AFFECTING CHILDREN
Children with Unique Abilities
SB 146 by Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) and the House companion, HB 57 by Rep. Frank White (R-Pensacola) and Rep. Patricia Williams (D-Ft. Lauderdale) designate this act as the “Pro Bono Matters Act of 2018”; and require the payment of due process costs of litigation of all pro bono attorneys appointed to represent dependent children with certain special needs, subject to appropriations and review for reasonableness. SB 146 was reported favorably in the Appropriations Committee on January 11, 2018. HB 57 has been added to the Special Order Calendar for full floor action on January 24, 2018.
SB 242 by Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Lady Lake) and the House companion, HB 969 by Rep. Danny Burgess (R-Zephyrhills) cite this act as “Gabe’s Act”; and revise the term “developmental disability” to include the disorder and symptoms attributable to Duchenne muscular dystrophy. SB 242 was reported favorably by the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee on January 16, 2018. HB 969 has been referred to three committees and awaits action in the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee.
SB 564 by Sen. Dana Young (R-Tampa) and the House companion, HB 399 by Rep. Amber Mariano (R-Port Richey) provide that parents seeking an individual education plan reevaluation may request an IEP meeting and evaluation to change a student’s matrix of services. SB 564 was reported favorably by the Appropriations Committee on January 18, 2018. HB 399 has been referred to three committees and is awaiting action in the PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee.
SB 1286 by Sen. David Simmons (R-Longwood) revises the meaning of a rare disease within the definition of a “disability” for purposes of the Gardiner Scholarship Program to include those defined in the Orphan Drug Act of 1983. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Education Committee on Monday, January 22, 2018.
Children’s Week – January 21-26, 2018
Children’s Week brings together many non-profits at the Capitol under “One Voice” to support children’s issues and advocate for the full spectrum of children’s services and needs. Recognized widely by its ceremonious “Hanging of the Hands”, this year’s theme, “The Health and Well-being of All Children” recognizes that every person in this state can play a role in ensuring children are safe, healthy and ready to learn to achieve. Local coordinators also plan and implement various events in their communities bringing thousands of parents, children, legislators, professionals, community leaders and concerned citizens together to share valuable knowledge and information about children’s issues and symbolize the unity of Florida’s statewide child advocacy efforts.
Florida Children and Youth Cabinet Meeting – January 22, 2018
The Florida Children and Youth Cabinet is scheduled to meet on January 22, 2018 from 1-4 PM in the Governor’s Cabinet Meeting Room. The mission of the Cabinet is to ensure that the public policy of Florida relating to children and youth promotes interdepartmental collaboration and program implementation in order for services designed for children and youth to be planned, managed and delivered in a holistic and integrated manner to improve the self-sufficiency, safety, economic stability, health and quality of life of all children and youth in Florida.