Capitol Report2021-02-17T02:06:29-05:00

End of Session Capitol Report

Victories for Kids, Modest Improvements, and Missed Opportunities The 2021 Session came to a close with policymakers and Floridians looking toward the future and a new normal in a freshly vaccinated pandemic world. Our nation’s strife was reflected in session with highly partisan, first-introduced bills flying through the process with party divided votes. Policymakers passed measures impacting voter laws, social media censorship, trans children’s rights, and alcohol-to-go all while grappling with the appropriate use of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars. Despite the polarizing issues, some significant victories for children in our 2021 Policy Playbook/ Legislative Agenda were achieved. There were also modest changes for kids that didn’t go far ...Read More

By |May 16, 2021|Breaking News, Capitol Report|

BUDGET TAKES CENTER STAGE

COVID Relief Itemized List Expected to be Released Noon, Sunday The conference process between the Senate and House began with an organizational meeting on Friday evening. Committees met for the first time on Saturday, at which time the Senate conferees made their first offer. The House is expected to respond to the first round sometime today. The committees have until the close of business on Monday to reconcile at which time unresolved differences will bump up to the Appropriations Chairs. As more numbers are reported, The Children’s Campaign will update this Capitol Report on our website. At this point in time, as a child advocacy organization, we can say with certainty that, ...Read More

By |April 18, 2021|Breaking News, Capitol Report|

Capitol Report: Good and Not-So-Good Child Welfare Discussions in Tallahassee

Legislative session passed the halfway mark at the end of last week. By this weekend it will be 60% complete. Bills that are moving are known, as well as bills that are stuck, waiting for work to be done over the summer in anticipation of an early start to the 2022 convening. Themes announced by the Governor, Senate President and House Speaker in the weeks preceding session and on opening day are playing out. Many remain in the ideologically and citizen divisive post national election drama. In addition to the policy-oriented legislation in play, more attention is now directed to the state budget. While preliminary budgets have passed both chambers, parts will ...Read More

By |April 6, 2021|Breaking News, Capitol Report|

Capitol Report: Child Welfare Continues to Dominate Committee Action

Debate over Federal Covid Dollars Waits in the Shadows Thinking back to the start of legislative session, advocates were alerted that Florida’s child welfare system would become a key topic of conversation. Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) made a point of it again in his session opening remarks as he has done with every major address to his assembly dating back months. House Speaker Sprowls signaled that the two leaders were in discussion with mention of foster care in his remarks as well. Governor DeSantis appears to be comfortable on the sidelines of child welfare policy, choosing instead to focus on issues emanating from the drama of 2020: anti-protest legislation; mail-in ...Read More

By |March 19, 2021|Breaking News, Capitol Report|

Capitol Report: Attention to Children’s Policy Issues Remains Questionable

Legislative session begins today and will run for 60 days. Access to the capitol remains restricted. Unless testimony in person is specifically approved by the committee, the convention center nearby provides a meeting place for lobbyists and advocates who desire to watch the committee hearings and to testify via video feed. For grassroots advocates who in the past were able to walk the halls and buttonhole policymakers, their opportunities to be heard appear to be more limited.   Budget Presentations Dominated Committee Weeks Questions remain regarding the level of attention that will be paid to children’s policy concerns. Five committee weeks spanning January and February were long on budget presentations by executive ...Read More

By |March 5, 2021|Breaking News, Capitol Report|

Capitol Report: No Shortage of Conversations in Tallahassee About Children

In a welcome contrast to what appears to be widespread practice in Florida, the Legislative Committee meetings in Tallahassee took place the past two weeks with masks being worn throughout the capitol and in committee rooms. Access to elected officials was severely restricted. And an ancillary facility with social distancing was identified for citizens and advocates to monitor developments and to speak to committees by video. What wasn’t a contrast to previous years was the renewal of the annual debate about the status, quality and condition of child welfare services throughout Florida.   While other children’s issues were addressed in other committees – with passage of a juvenile expunction bill and raising the ...Read More

By |January 28, 2021|Breaking News, Capitol Report|