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 ...Read More

2021-03-19T13:58:07-04:00March 19, 2021|Breaking News, Capitol Report|

Florida Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Eliminate Court-Related Fines and Fees on Children

Debt-Free Justice for Children Act continues Florida Legislature’s criminal justice reform work  Elected officials and advocates from the Debt-Free Justice for Children Campaign announced recently the introduction of SB 1926 and HB 1391, also known as the Debt-Free Justice for Children Act, sponsored by Senator Audrey Gibson and Representative Tracie Davis. The legislation would promote education, public safety and hope by:   Eliminating administrative fees and fines on all young people in both the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems up to age 18.  Providing protection from fees and fines in the criminal justice system for cross-over youth eligible for continuing foster care up to age 21.  “Unpaid fines and fees ...Read More

2021-03-18T10:51:21-04:00March 17, 2021|Breaking News, Top Stories|

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 ...Read More

2021-03-05T14:34:05-05:00March 5, 2021|Breaking News, Capitol Report|