Capitol Connection
SUMMER LEGISLATIVE UPDATES
Today is the last day of the state’s fiscal year marking an opportunity to report on changes in law that will go into effect tomorrow, July 1st. Below you will find a list of bills that were tracked by the Florida Children’s Council during the legislative session that have been acted upon by the Governor and may already be in effect or will go into effect tomorrow. Similarly, the state’s new $101.5 billion budget goes into effect, making it the largest in state history. It's bolstered by federal dollars and includes $22.8 billion for K-12 education, $625 million for Everglades restoration and water projects like combating sea-level rise, bonuses for teachers and first responders, plus places $9.5 billion in reserves. 

To read Governor DeSantis's press release, budget highlights and veto list, visit here.
 
Until next time!

Sincerely,
The Florida Children’s Council
Economic Self-Sufficiency
Signed on June 11, 2021

This bill requires an early learning coalition to give priority for participation in school readiness program to a parent that has an intensive service account or individual training account and requires the Office of Early Learning within DOE to coordinate with University of Florida Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies to conduct analysis of certain assistance programs.
Early Learning
Signed on May 4, 2021

This bill moves the Office of Early Learning to the Department of Education to create a state birth through 20 education system, revises VPK accountability to ensure parents get timely information on their child’s progress, creates a provider profile that families can use when selecting early learning providers, and creates a Pre-k through 3rd grade literacy and math progress monitoring system to look at child progression over time, to ensure timely interventions and promote early grade success.
Signed on June 21, 2021

This bill titled the "Child Safety Alarm Act" requires certain vehicles to be equipped with a reliable alarm system to ensure safety of children being transported to child care facilities, requires the Department of Children and Families to adopt by rule minimum safety standards for such systems and to maintain a list of approved alarm manufacturers and alarm systems. This law does not go into effect into October 1, 2021, and compliance is not required until January 1, 2022. The Department of Children and Families will provide guidance.
Child Protection
Signed on June 29, 2021

This bill requires the case record of every child under the supervision or in the custody of the Department of Children and Families, the department’s agents, or providers contracting with the department to include a case record face sheet, require the department to determine out-of-home placement based on priority of placements and other factors, establishes certain placement priorities for out-of-home placements, provides conditions under which a child may be removed from a caregiver’s home, requires the department or lead agency to make reasonable efforts to place siblings in the same foster, kinship, adoptive, or guardianship home when certain conditions are met. This law does not go into effect until October 1, 2021.
Children With Disabilities
Signed on June 16, 2021

This bill requires the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to provide specified written information to persons applying for certain waiver services and requires the agency to provide a certain disclosure statement along with such information.
Signed on June 21, 2021

This bill requires school districts to prohibit the use of seclusion on students with disabilities in public schools, requires school districts to adopt positive behavior interventions, supports, certain policies and procedures, creates the Video Cameras in Public School Classrooms Pilot Program. Furthermore, the bill requires continuing education and in-service training for instructional personnel teaching students with emotional or behavioral disabilities.
Signed on June 21, 2021

This bill revises the timeline for development & implementation of individual education plan (IEP) for transition services for students with disabilities to postsecondary education & career opportunities. It revises requirements for IEP for transitions to postsecondary education & career opportunities.
Juvenile Justice
Vetoed on June 29, 2021

These bills removed the requirement that limits diversion program expunction to misdemeanor offenses. HB 166 must be approved in order for SB 274 to be approved.
Equity
Signed on June 17, 2021

This bill requires the Office of Minority Health & Health Equity to develop & promote statewide implementation of certain policies, programs, & practices. It requires a representative from each county health department to serve as minority health liaison, requires the office to maintain specified information on its website, and requires the office to serve as liaison to & assist certain federal offices.
K-12 Education
Took effect upon signature on June 23, 2021

This bill establishes New Worlds Reading Initiative under DOE, provides duties & responsibilities of administrator, provides requirements & procedures for participating entities, establishes student eligibility requirements & options relating to book selection, requires books be delivered at no cost to families, and authorizes DOE to contract with third-party entity. 
Signed on May 4, 2021

This bill revises requirements relating to improvement of student literacy skills. It requires DOE, in consultation with Office of Early Learning, to implement coordinated screening & progress monitoring system for VPK program through grade 8, establishes Reading Achievement Initiative for Scholastic Excellence Program within DOE, and revises requirements relating to specified reading instruction allocation. The bill revises requirements for certain instructional personnel & professional development program.
For more information, please contact
Natalia Zea, Director of Public Policy & Community Engagement at