Legislative Connection

Legislative Connection – Bill Update Edition – March 20-24

Welcome to The Children’s Campaign’s Legislative Connection – Bill Update edition. These editions focus on the movement of legislation pertaining to children and provide information about bills heard and/or scheduled to keep you up-to-date or allow you to take action. To track our priority legislation in real-time, please visit our Legislative Center. Bill Updates: SB 60 has made it through its path in the Senate without ever receiving a negative vote. The bill by Senator Bean (R- Jacksonville) makes the Keys to Independence program permanent, providing children in the foster care system with the access and means to obtain their...

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Legislative Connection – Bill Update Edition

The Children’s Campaign is pleased to provide you with the first Legislative Connection – Bill Update edition of the 2017 session. These editions focus on the movement of legislation pertaining to children, providing you with information about bills that were heard and/or scheduled to keep you up-to-date or so you can take action. If you would like to track our priority legislation in real-time, visit our Legislative Center. Bill Updates: HB 581 and SB 1016 According to House staff analysis, 229,311 food stamp (SNAP) recipients in Florida will lose eligibility based on the income and asset limit changes. Children would...

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Unusual Session Begins

If it weren’t for the unusual opening day speeches by Florida’s top leaders, it would have been easy to become distracted from the official start of legislative session to watch a viral live feed of a pregnant giraffe, the fearless girl statue challenging the Wall Street bull or Wolverine’s return to the movie theatre. But, alas, there was enough theatrics in Tallahassee to make the unusual interesting. In his State of the State address, Governor Rick Scott, when not feuding with House Speaker Corcoran over Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, promised to “wake up every day fighting for Florida because...

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Budget Talks Continue as Governor Weighs In

While media articles scream about the deepening rift between the House Speaker and Governor the past two weeks, mostly over business incentives and tourism marketing, committees heard presentations on the Governor’s $83.5 billion “Fighting for Florida’s Future Budget,” a $1.5 billion increase over the previous year. Senate and House leaders however, have outlined a different approach, based on Legislative Budget Commission projections suggesting the state will experience a $1.3 billion shortfall in the next two years at a time when the overall health of the economy continues to improve. Governor Scott’s plan includes: tax cuts for businesses and additional investment in...

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Money and Children’s Issues Collide at the Capitol

The Governor this week released his proposed 2017 state budget at a time when his executive agency staff were presenting a spending reduction plan at the request of House leaders. The mini-drama highlighted the deep divide over philosophy and priorities between the two branches of government, which exists at this point in the process. The conflict has spilled its way onto the pages of most traditional and some social media. Caught in the middle are children’s programs and services. Largely missing from either branch in its preparation or budget exercise was a well-formulated expression of the IMMEDIATE and ACTUAL unmet...

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Good Start for Children’s Policy in 2017

While some observers have said in the news it’s been a slow start to legislative session, several issues important to The Children’s Campaign have already been filed this year, including civil citation, children prosecuted as adults, expanding eligibility for juvenile records expunction and Keys to Independence (opportunity to take action later in this publication). In addition, issues that ultimately affect children and families such as the budget, and the impact of Medicaid and Managed Medical Assistance Program are being dissected. While much activity is occurring, the first committee week of the new year was slow for actual meetings. In fact,...

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So Far, House and Senate Leadership Appear Far Apart in Session Priorities

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, new leadership took the helm of the Florida Legislature. Juvenile justice is a top priority of Senate President Joe Negron, specifically not criminalizing adolescents for youthful mischief. This could portend more rigorous reviews of civil citation laws in an effort to increase utilization rates. Statewide, the numbers remain below 50% but the differential is great – in some areas they approach 90%. In other areas, they lag in the 20’s and 30’s or are barely used at all. Not yet mentioned specifically (but important for the continued reform of juvenile justice) are services to children...

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2016 has become the Year of the Child

Session delivers positive results While the Chinese zodiac may recognize 2016 as the year of the Monkey, it has become the year of the child, thanks to a productive legislative session in Florida.  More victories were achieved than anyone thought possible, exceeding the most optimistic views held at the start of session.  Child advocates like The Children’s Campaign and our partner organizations and individuals work diligently year-round to bring forward positive changes for kids during the 60-day window comprising Florida’s policy making season. Currently, several priority bills benefitting children have already been signed into law, and some are still awaiting...

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A Banner Year for Children?

Leadership is huddling about budget issues which heralds the end of session quickly approaching. How will the story of the final week read? Will the bills that have made it all the way through the process just need to pass the finish line be successful? Will legislators come to an agreement on the hot button budget issues before the white handkerchief drops? There is potential for this to be a banner year for children. Already, good children’s bills have completed the legislative process and are being presented to the Governor: expunction and confidentiality of juvenile records, removing the ability to...

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Final Days for Children’s Issues

Nine days remain in the 2016 Session.  Tension is growing over major unresolved budget issues – especially education – and disagreement between the two chambers and the governor’s office over his tax cut and economic incentives plans.  Scott received $400 million of his tax cut plan – he requested $1 billion – and at this time none of his $250 million economic plan.  Children’s policy issues and appropriations are moving forward, hoping not to get caught in the crossfire. Budget conferences started this past weekend and while some issues were quickly resolved, almost all education funding including VPK, school readiness...

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