Week 5 – April 5, 2015
Florida House of Representatives Florida Senate
Right at the midway mark for the 60 day session, the House and Senate debated and voted out their respective budgets in preparation for budget conference negotiations in the coming weeks. However, the two proposed budgets still contain an approximate $5 billion difference, as the Senate budget (SB 2500) includes $2.8 billion of federal funds for the expansion of health care coverage, and another $2.2 billion for continuation funding for the Low-Income Pool Program, a program scheduled to expire June 30. The House budget (HB 5001) does not include funding for health care coverage expansion or funding to extend the Low Income Pool (LIP) Program. These differences continue to set the stage for a budget battle that hinges on negotiations with the federal government on the LIP funding that some say may not even be resolved by the end of the regular session on May 1.
Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Chairman Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah)
A Healthy Florida Works
Just prior to passing the budget, Senate President Andy Gardiner dispatched emissaries to Washington, D.C. to meet with federal officials of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Chairman Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) and Senate President Pro-Tempore Garrett Richter (R-Naples) discussed the fate of the LIP and the Senate’s private insurance plan: “A Healthy Florida Works” to address health care coverage for the working uninsured. At midweek, Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Liz Dudek informed members that “talks between her agency and the CMS regarding LIP, are on hold for at least two weeks”. The delay may impact the upcoming budget negotiations and resolution on the budget.
Meanwhile, bills continued to be heard in their respective committees, several of which are of interest to Florida’s children and families. Time is of the essence as some committees met for the last time this week, and others will begin shutting down in the weeks to come.
EARLY LEARNING AND SCHOOL READINESS
Pre- and Post-Assessment for Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program
On April 2nd, SB 518 by Sen. Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) was reported favorably with unanimous support by the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee. The next and last committee stop before the floor is Appropriations. The bill would require pre- and post-assessment data to be included in the calculation of the kindergarten readiness rate for Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program providers and schools.
The identical House companion, HB 483 by Rep. Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville) is awaiting a hearing in the House Subcommittee on Choice and Innovation.
Literacy Jump Start Pilot Project
This bill would establish a pilot project in St. Lucie County to assist low-income, at-risk children in developing emergent literacy skills. SB 1116 by Sen. Abruzzo (D-Palm Beach) was reported favorably with unanimous support by the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee. The next committee stop is Senate Appropriations.
The companion bill HB 153 by Rep. Lee (D-St.Lucie) is awaiting full House action.
Licensing of Facilities that Offer Health and Human Services
SB 210 by Sen. Audrey Gibson (D-Duval) that revises regulation of child care services and the settings for those services was passed unanimously by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services on April 2, and now heads to the full Appropriations Committee. The bill creates a definition of “advertise” relating to child care services and revises the definition of “family day care home.”
The bill requires a family day care home to conspicuously display its license or registration in the common area of the home. A large family child care home is required to permanently post its license in a conspicuous location visible to parents, guardians, and the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Family day care homes subject to registration with the DCF must provide proof of a written plan to identity a competent adult who has met statutory screening and training requirements, and to serve as a designated substitute for the operator of the home in an emergency. Additionally, family day care homes, subject to registration, must provide proof of screening and background checks for the operator, household members, and the designated substitute.
Under the bill, certain restrictions on the advertising of child care facilities which are currently applied to licensed or registered facilities, family day care homes, and large family child care homes, are also applied to facilities that are exempt from licensure under s. 402.316, F.S.
The House companion bill, HB 119, by Rep. Lori Berman (D-Palm Beach) is awaiting action in the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Early Steps Program
As the Appropriations Subcommittee chairs announced their respective budgets on the Senate floor this Thursday, Senator Rene Garcia stated that he had received many emails about the Early Steps program. He proudly noted that the Senate budget contains a $3.3 million increase, towards the additional $5 million request to adequately meet early intervention services of children with special needs. The House does not include increased funding for Early Steps.
Florida KidCare Program
SB 294, sponsored by Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) that would allow children of lawfully residing immigrants, who have been residing in the United States less than five years to be insured under the Florida KidCare program, passed 2 committees unanimously in the Senate. The federal government permits states to cover those in a 5-year waiting period, if the state elects to do so. The bill specifies that the statutory changes do not extend Healthy Kids or Medicaid eligibility to undocumented immigrants. The fiscal impact for the 2015-16 fiscal year in recurring state General Revenue funds is down from $14.5 million last year to $4.8 million.
The House companion, HB 829 by Rep. Mike LaRosa (R-St. Cloud) was never heard in its first hearing in the House Health Innovation Subcommittee which met for the last time last week as House leadership explained their objections to any legislation that expanded Medicaid. However, Senator Garcia has pledged to continue to working on the Senate bill which he plans to pass and send to the House for action.
Newborn Health Screening
SB 632 by Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) directs the Department of Health to establish requirements for newborn adrenoleukodystrophy, a test administered to newborns which identifies the presence of adrenoleukodystrophy, a disease of the central nervous system that is inherited as an X-linked recessive trait and characterized by blindness, deafness, tonic spasms, and mental deterioration. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Banking and Insurance Committee on April 7.
The House companion, HB 403 by Rep. Mike LaRosa (St. Cloud) is awaiting action in the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee.
Child Abuse Death Review (CADR)
The House Subcommittee on Children, Families, and Seniors chaired by Rep. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) passed HB 7121 (formerly PCB CFSS 15-02) on child welfare and is now awaiting action by the Health and Human Services Committee. The bill addresses issues related to implementation of SB 1666 that passed in 2014.
HB 7121 addresses the increased volume of cases reviewed through the Child Abuse Death Review (CADR) process and better aligns it with the newly created Critical Incident Rapid Response Team (CIRRT) process, clarifies the roles of the two types of committees within the CADR process, and imposes specific reporting requirements. It also permits the Secretary of DCF to deploy CIRRTs in response to other child deaths, in addition to those with verified abuse and neglect in the last 12 months. Further, the bill requires more frequent reviews and reports by the CIRRT advisory committee. The bill also requires multi-agency staffing to be convened for cases of alleged medical neglect, clarifying that the staffing shall be convened only if medical neglect is substantiated by the child protection team. In addition, HB 7121 implements the Florida Institute for Child Welfare Report (FICW) interim report recommendations by clarifying legislative intent to prioritize evidence-based and trauma-informed services.
The Senate companion, SB 7078 by the Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs, passed the Committee unanimously on April 2.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse
The Senate Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs passed SB 7068 on April 2 which would change the way mental-health and substance-abuse services are administered, coordinate them with primary health care and seek to increase Medicaid funding for them.
“The bill will lead to more continuity and less fragmentation of services,” Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Chairman Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, said in a prepared statement. “People suffering from mental illness and substance abuse will receive more effective treatment, and the service delivery system will be more accountable to the taxpayers who fund these important efforts.”
HB 7119 by the Children, Families, and Seniors Subcommittee passed the committee favorably on March 31 and now heads to the Health and Human Services Committee. The bill makes changes to the statewide system of safety-net prevention, treatment, and recovery services for substance abuse and mental health (SAMH) administered by the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
DCF currently contracts with seven managing entities that in turn contract with local service providers to deliver SAMH services. The bill updates statutes that provided DCF initial authority and guidance for transitioning to the managing entity system. The bill makes changes to providing services and enhances operation of this outsourced approach by:
Allowing managed behavioral health organizations to bid for managing entity contracts when fewer than two bids are received;
Requiring care coordination, specifying to services that shall be provided within available resources, and prioritizing the populations served;
Requiring DCF to develop performance standards that measure improvement in a community’s behavioral health and in specified individuals’ functioning or progress toward recovery;
Specifying members for managing entities’ governing boards, and requiring managed behavioral health organizations serving as managing entities to have advisory boards with that membership;
Allowing managing entities flexibility in shaping their provider network while requiring a system for publicizing opportunities to join and evaluating providers for participation; and
Deleting obsolete statutes regarding the transition to the managing entity system.
The bill requires DCF to contract for a study of the safety-net system, with an interim and final report submitted on specified topics. The bill also requires DCF and the Agency for Health Care Administration to report on options for increasing the availability of federal Medicaid SAMH services.
SB 7070 by Senate Appropriations is scheduled to be heard in Judiciary on April 7. The bill integrates provisions of the Marchman Act, which provides for a comprehensive continuum of accessible and quality substance abuse prevention, intervention, clinical treatment, and recovery support services, into the Florida Mental Health Act, more commonly known as the Baker Act. The bill provides that an individual may be held for an additional 48 hours beyond the current 72-hour time limit if a physician determines the individual would benefit from detoxification services. Under the bill, individuals that have been involuntarily admitted to a receiving facility or treatment facility within the immediate preceding 36 months may be ordered to involuntary outpatient placement. Individuals that meet specified criteria may be detained in a mental health or addictions receiving facility or a detoxification facility. A court hearing on the involuntary inpatient placement must occur within five court working days after the petition is filed. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is directed to create a Forensic Hospital Diversion Pilot Program in Alachua, Escambia, Hillsborough and Miami-Dade counties which is to be modeled after the Miami-Dade Forensic Alternative Center.
HB 465 by Rep. Ross Spano (R-Riverview), “Relating to Public Records/Human Trafficking Victims,” was placed on the House calendar on second reading on March 31 and now awaits full House action.
The Senate companion, SB 1106 by Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami) now awaits action in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice.
Other bills related to human trafficking include:
HB 467 by Rep. Ross Spano (R-Riverview), “Relating to Public Records/Human Trafficking Victims,” now awaits full House action.
SB 1108 by Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami), “Relating to Public Records/Identity of a Victim/Human Trafficking Offenses,” now awaits full Appropriations Committee action.
SB 1110 by Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami), “Relating to Public Records/Residential Facilities Serving Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking” now awaits full Appropriations Committee action.
Adoption and Foster Care
HB 7013 by Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) passed the House on March 11 and is in messages to the Senate. The bill creates a program to advance the permanency, stability, and well-being of children in the child welfare system by awarding incentive payments to community-based care lead agencies (CBC’s) for achieving specified adoption performance standards. CBC’s provide adoption-related services in the state pursuant to contracts with the Department of Children and Families (DCF). The bill allows home-schooling of adopted children and removes a statutory prohibition against adoption by same sex couples.
The Senate companion, SB 320 by Senator Don Gaetz (R-Destin), is scheduled for full Senate action on April 8. The Senate bill appropriates $10 million of recurring general revenue to fund and administer the programs created under the bill.
CS/HB 7111 by the Judiciary Committee and Health and Human Services Committee and Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) that passed the Judiciary Committee on April 2 provides what it referred to as “conscience protection” for private agencies whose “religious or moral convictions” do not permit the children in their care to be adopted by same sex couples. The bill is in response to passage of HB 7013 relating to adoption of foster children that included language repealing the current ban on adoption by same-sex couples.To date, there is no Senate companion to the bill.
HB 99 sponsored by Rep. Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed (D-Pompano Beach), was passed by the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee on March 31 and now heads to the Judiciary Committee. Rep. Eric Eisnaugle (R-Orlando) cast the single vote against the bill on the grounds that the bill should cap the number of civil citations allowed. He commented that the “bill goes too far. … At some point, there’s got to be consequences.” A representative of the retail industry also testified against the bill on the grounds that gangs would recruit youth into shoplifting rings as long as there were never any consequences for such actions. Rep. Clarke Reed pledged to look at the issue of capping the number of civil citations allowed.The bill was also amended to include language similar to SB 378. The bill requires law enforcement officers (LEOs) to issue a civil citation upon making contact with juveniles who admit having committed certain misdemeanors. Civil Citation Programs (CCPs) give law enforcement officers an alternative to arresting youth who have committed non-serious delinquent acts. Currently, under a CCP, a law enforcement officer has discretion to issue a civil citation to a juvenile who admits to having committed a first-time misdemeanor, assess not more than 50 community service hours, and require participation in intervention services appropriate to any identified needs of the juvenile. As of October 2014, CCPs were operational in 59 of Florida’s 67 counties.
SB 378 by Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) expands juvenile civil citation by allowing law enforcement to issue a civil citation to youth who have committed a second or subsequent misdemeanor. Civil citation is presently only available to youth who admit to committing a first-time misdemeanor. In addition, law enforcement will be authorized to issue a simple warning to the youth and inform the youth’s parents of the misdemeanor. CS/SB 378 also states that if an arrest is made, law enforcement must provide written documentation as to why the arrest is warranted. The bill passed the Senate Rules Committee on April 2 and now heads for full Senate action.
Criminal Information of Juveniles
CS/SB 1316 by Criminal Justice and Sen. Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee) was passed unanimously by the Criminal Justice Committee on March 30 and now heads to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice. The bill addresses the inconsistencies that exist between s. 85.04(1), F.S. (making the majority of juvenile records confidential), and s. 943.053, F.S. (allowing a juvenile’s criminal history information to be disseminated in the same manner as that of an adult), by:
Making the records of juveniles who have been found to have committed three or more misdemeanors confidential and exempt (currently they are not);
Ensuring that the list of juvenile records that are not confidential and exempt under s. 985.04(2), F.S., is identical to the list of juvenile records deemed to be not confidential and exempt under s. 943.053, F.S.;
Requiring the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to release juvenile criminal history records in a manner that takes into account the records’ confidential and exempt status; and
Specifying how FDLE must release juvenile criminal history records.
The bill expands existing public record exemptions and repeals them on October 2, 2020, unless reviewed and saved from repeal by the Legislature. It also provides a statement of public necessity as required by the State Constitution. The bill requires a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting in each house of the Legislature for final passage since it expands public records exemptions.
The House companion, HB 7103 by Criminal Justice and Rep. Sharon Pritchett (D-Miramar) was passed by the House State Affairs Committee on April 2, and now heads to the Judiciary Committee.
PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Students with Disabilities
SB 7022 entitled “Individuals with Disabilities,” passed the Senate unanimously on April 1 and now is awaiting House action. Part of the joint agenda, “Work Plan 2015,” announced by Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, the legislation seeks to enhance employment options available within state government for Floridians who have a disability.
CS/SB 7022 addresses the employment and economic independence of individuals with disabilities. Specifically, the bill:
Modifies the state’s equal employment policy to provide enhanced executive agency employment opportunities for individuals who have a disability;
Creates the Financial Literacy Program for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities within the Department of Financial Services to provide information and outreach to individuals and employers;
Creates the Employment First Act requiring an interagency cooperative agreement among specified state agencies and organizations to ensure a long-term commitment to improve employment for individuals who have a disability; and
Creates the Florida Unique Abilities Partner program to recognize businesses that employ or support the independence of individuals who have a disability. The bill makes several appropriations to implement the programs and activities required under the bill.
HB 7095 by the Committee on Education and Rep. Michael Bileca (R-Miami) entitled Florida Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts is now awaiting full House action. The bill increases the pool of eligible applicants by expanding the definition of autism to include all students on the autism spectrum disorder, and to include students who have muscular dystrophy. The bill increases the types of services available to participants, including:
Tuition and fees for part-time tutoring services provided by a certified teacher; a certified adjunct teacher; or an individual who demonstrates mastery of subject area knowledge.
Fees for an annual evaluation of educational progress for home education students.
Fees associated with use of an electronic payment system.
The bill strengthens accountability by:
Clarifying that funds must be expended for the student’s educational needs.
Outlining specific criteria for when payments to a personal learning scholarship account would cease, and when an account is closed and funds revert to the state.
Requiring review of all expenditures prior to reimbursement.
Authorizing the Commissioner of Education to deny, suspend, or revoke program participation or use of program funds in specified circumstances.
Requiring that a high-risk child who reaches 6 years of age has documentation of an eligible disability in order to continue in the program.
Requiring the Auditor General to provide a copy of the annual operational audit to the Commissioner of Education.
The Senate companion SB 602 by Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Destin) passed the full Senate on April 1 and is now awaiting full House action. CS/SB 602 bill amends the Florida Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts Program (PLSA or program) by expanding the pool of eligible students, tightening program accountability requirements, streamlining program implementation, increasing the Department of Education’s (DOE) responsibilities for implementation of the program, and clarifying program implementation.
Specifically, the bill:
Expands student eligibility to include all students on the autism spectrum, per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), and to students who are, or will be 3 or 4 years old on or before September 1 and meet all other eligibility requirements. Establishes eligibility dates for existing students to renew and new students to apply for the PLSA program.
Requires that authorized expenditures be for educational purposes.
Authorizes expenditures associated with part-time private tutoring from persons meeting specified requirements (e.g., certified teacher and special skills)
Requires that interest accrued remain in a PLSA account for parents to use for authorized purposes.
Requires a licensed physician to approve specialized services before being provided by an approved provider.
Allows parents the ability to receive the scholarship funds before the beginning of the school year.
Requires an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization (SFO) to notify program participants of their annual ability to request a new or a revised matrix of services.
Authorizes the Commissioner of Education to determine the length of suspensions or terminations, and determine conditions for reinstating program eligibility.
Adds an option for parents to use PLSA funds on providers from outside the State of Florida who meet similar regulation or approval requirements to those applicable to in-state providers for specialized services.
Expands the authorized uses of program funds to include fees for specific specialized programs, fees for an annual evaluation of educational progress, training and maintenance agreements for digital devices, and transition services provided by life coaches.
Clarifies that kindergarten students approved via “high-risk” status must re-qualify under one of the other disability categories when he/she reaches age 6 in order to renew program participation.
Clarifies PLSA funds may be used toward enrollment at Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF) institutions.
Increases the number of students potentially eligible for a scholarship by including all students on the autism spectrum. An estimated 860 additional autism spectrum students could participate in the program under the expanded definition, which would cost an additional $8.6 million. An estimated 480 three and four year-olds could be eligible to participate in the program at an additional cost of $4.8 million. However, since scholarships awarded under the program are on a first-come, first-served basis, the number of students receiving a scholarship is limited by the funds appropriated in the General Appropriations Act.
OTHER BILLS AFFECTING CHILDREN
SB 176 by Sen. Greg Evers (R-Pensacola) eliminates the statutory prohibition against carrying a concealed weapon or firearm by concealed carry license-holders into any college or university facility. Current law specifically includes these facilities among the places where a concealed weapon or firearm license does not authorize the licensee to “openly carry a handgun or carry a concealed weapon or firearm.” The bill is awaiting action in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The House companion, HB 4005 by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) was passed by the House Judiciary Committee on a 12:3 vote and now heads for full House action.
CS/HB 19 by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) was passed by the House Judiciary Committee on a 12:3 vote on April 2, and now heads for full House action. The bill allows school superintendents, upon approval of the district school board, to create a school safety designee program through which the school superintendent may designate one or more individuals to carry a concealed weapon or firearm on school property. Weapons or firearms may only be carried in a concealed manner and must be on the individual’s person at all times while he/she is performing official school duties. The bill:
Requires school safety designees to possess a concealed weapon license.
Establishes criteria and training requirements which school safety designees must meet.
Requires a level 2 background screening for school safety designees who have not already had a level 2 background screening by the school board, and authorizes each school superintendent to require additional background screenings and mental health screenings for all school safety designees.
Requires district school board policies and procedures for emergencies and emergency drills to include active shooter and hostage situations, to be developed in consultation with a local law enforcement agency.
Requires each district school superintendent to provide recommendations to improve school safety and security to the first responding local law enforcement agency.
Requires school districts and private schools to allow first-responding law enforcement agencies to tour school campuses once every three years. Any recommendations relating to school safety and emergency issues based on a campus tour must be documented by the district or private school.
Specifies that a district school board may commission one or more school safety officers on each school campus.
Specifies that the required training will be created and defined by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission which is administered by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
The Senate companion, SB 180 by Sen. Greg Evers (R-Pensacola) was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Education Pre-K-12 Committee on March 31, but was temporarily postponed.
Children and Youth Cabinet
HB 55 by Rep. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) which relates to the Children and Youth Cabinet, passed the full House on March 27 and is now awaiting full Senate action.
The Florida Children and Youth Cabinet (Cabinet) consists of the Governor and 14 members. These members include the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families, the Secretary of Juvenile Justice, the Director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Director of the Office of Early Learning, the State Surgeon General, the Secretary of Health Care Administration, the Commissioner of Education, the Director of the Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office, the Director of the Office of Adoption and Child Prevention, and five members appointed by the Governor who represent children and youth advocacy organizations. The bill creates one additional Cabinet position to be held by a superintendent of schools who is appointed by the Governor.
The Senate companion, SB 878 by Sen. Bill Montford (D-Quincy) is awaiting action in the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs.
OTHER BILLS OF INTEREST
Value Adjustment Boards
SB 972 by Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami) relating to Value Adjustment Boards (VAB) proceedings passed the Senate Finance and Tax Committee on March 31, and now heads to the full Appropriations Committee. The bill makes several changes to VAB proceedings:
Requires a petition to the VAB to be signed by the taxpayer, or be accompanied by the taxpayer’s written authorization for representation, which is only valid for one tax year.
Limits representation of taxpayers before the VAB to certain professionals.
Requires the property appraiser to notify the petitioner when the property record card is available online.
Limits a petitioner’s ability to reschedule a hearing to a single instance and for good cause only.
Changes the rate of interest for overpayments and underpayments from 12 percent to the prime rate.
Allows district school boards and district county commissions to audit VAB expenses.
Requires all VAB petitions to be resolved by the June 1 following the assessment year.
Establishes an enhanced review process by which the Department of Revenue may conduct a review of VAB proceedings for counties that receive 10,000 or more petitions in any one tax year.
The Revenue Estimating Conference has determined that this bill will have an indeterminate positive impact on local government (school district, county, municipal and special taxing district) revenues and will allow for more budget predictability on the part of such local governments.
The House companion CS/HB 695 – Ad Valorem Taxation by Rep. Bryan Avila (R-Hialeah) was scheduled to be heard in the House Appropriations Committee on March 31, but was temporarily postponed due to a large number of amendments filed to the bill. The bill will be heard on Tuesday, April 7.
In the photo: Sen. Anitere Flores with (from left): Jess Scher (UWMD) Iraida Mendez-Cartaya (MDCPS), Yolanda Cash-Jackson (Becker & Poliakoff) and Diana Ragbeer (The Children’s Trust)
The fifth week of session saw each chamber pass their respective budgets (HB 5001 and SB 2500). In the weeks to come, the House and Senate will commence budget conference committee meetings to negotiate the differences between the two budgets and pass a single budget for Fiscal Year 2015-2016.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
On Thursday, March 26 the US House of Representatives passed the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) Children’s Health Insurance Program/Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visitation (CHIP/MIECHV) Legislation on a vote of 392-37. The compromise extends the current CHIP program for two years, with no harmful changes as proposed by the Hatch-Upton-Pitts proposal. Further, the bill includes NO harmful offsets to Medicaid, CHIP or the ACA in the package, good news for kids.
The bill now moves to the US Senate where it will be voted on as soon as Senators return from recess in 1 weeks.
Call your Senate members immediately and urge them to support the renewal of CHIP and Home Visitation funding.
Children’s Week – April 12-17
Children’s WeekChildren’s Week www.childrensweek.org brings together many non-profits at the Captiol under “One Voice” to support children’s issues and advocate for the full spectrum of children’s services and needs. Local coordinators also plan and implement various events in their communities to symbolize the unity of Florida’s statewide child advocacy efforts.