Capitol Report

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

Capitol Report: What’s NOT Being Discussed in Tallahassee

This week concludes the last of six committee weeks in advance of 2022 legislative session, which begins early on January 11 rather than March. Our overall takeaway from the committee meetings so far is there was more about children’s issues that wasn’t calendared for public discussion than what was. Two developments in particular were not brought publicly to the attention of legislators by the Florida Department of Children & Families.   Is DCF Playing Politics With Unaccompanied Children? The first was Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) refusal to issue a license decision to Lutheran Services of Florida so it could continue its Sarasota shelter for 60 unaccompanied immigrant children. It wasn’t ...Read More

By |December 2, 2021|Breaking News, Capitol Report|

Capitol Report: Highlights of Committee Meetings Focused on Children

The Florida Legislature will convene for its 2022 session on January 11. This early start has pushed “Committee Weeks” into the fall of 2021. Six are scheduled. The first meetings took place the week of September 20. The Capitol was re-opened to the public. American Children’s Campaign was represented by Roy Miller, Michael Sonntag, and Tom Griffin with Smith, Bryan and Myers. Committee hearings were monitored and reported by the Policy Team of apprentices under the direction of Amanda Ostrander. Most committee hearings were introductory in content, with executive branch agencies providing updates on their work and priorities since the close of the 2021 session in May. Of special interest were presentations ...Read More

By |September 29, 2021|Breaking News, Capitol Report|

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|


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, American 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|