Capitol Connection
This week the Senate and House met for the FINAL WEEK of the regular legislative session. With the ceremonial hanky dropping at 2:40 PM on Friday signifying “Sine Die” and the end of the regular legislative session. Throughout the last 60 days a significant number of bills crossed the finish line— including key priority bills for the Florida Children’s Council.
HB 419 by Rep. Grall, a 180 page omnibus bill that makes changes to the state’s early learning system passed on Monday with unanimous approval in both the House and the Senate. On Monday, we also saw the passage of HB 1349 by Rep. Aloupis on Assistance Programs, this legislation will allow for an analysis of the state’s public benefits programs to better understand usage and family composition to help inform future public policy. Additionally, SB 274 by Senator Perry passed the legislature on Tuesday and will provide juveniles with the opportunity for expungement of felony offenses from their records, after they successfully complete their diversion programs. Senator Book and Representative Dubose’s legacy legislation focused on Students With Disabilities in Public Schools also passed both chambers on Monday and will head to the Governor. 
In total 273 bills passed both chambers and are now enrolled out of the more than 3,000 bills that were filed. The legislature passed a $101.5 billion budget, inflated by the infusion of billions of Federal pandemic relief dollars, making this the largest budget ever passed by the Florida legislature. Information on the final approved budget is linked here. Following the official end of session Governor Desantis, Senate President Simpson, and House Speaker Sprowls provided remarks regarding their thoughts on the 2021 legislative session, the video can be found here. In addition, press availability with the Governor and the Senate President and House Speaker are linked.
The budget and all remaining enrolled substantive legislation will head to the Governor for his approval or veto. Once a bill is in the Governor’s possession he will have 15 days to act on the legislation, except for the budget, which the Governor must approve within 30 days. 

Below are articles from this week that may be of interest to you:
We hope that the Capitol Connection has been helpful to you over the last 60 days and look forward to releasing special editions of Capitol Connection throughout the year.
Until next time!

The Florida Children’s Council
Economic Self-Sufficiency
Rep. Aloupis
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.

To read staff analysis of HB 1349, click here.
Early Learning
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.

To read staff analysis of SB 252, click here.
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.

To read staff analysis of HB 419, click here.
Children With Disabilities
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.

To read staff analysis of SB 714, click here.
Early Learning & Elementary Education Subcommittee and Rep. DuBose & Rep. Plasencia
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.

To read staff analysis of HB 149, click here.
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.

To read staff analysis of SB 726, click here.
Child Protection
Sen. Book
Sen. Rodriguez
These comparable bills provide and revise provisions related to the child welfare system within DCF. HB 7039 was laid on the table and combined aspects of SB 92, SB 96, and SB 900 and addressed the central abuse hotline, reporting requirements, multiagency teams and investigations, protective investigations involving sexual abuse, access to records and confidentiality, institutional investigation requirements, child advocacy centers, training, living arrangements for young adults, foster home capacity.

SB 92 died on 2nd reading removing requirements from HB 7039 that communities develop an alternative plan for contracting with lead agencies. It also authorizes creation of a multidisciplinary legal representation program model for specified purposes; establishes a process for handling conflicts of interest by managing entities and lead agencies; and requires DCF to publish information on its website and submit reports to the Governor and Legislature.

To read staff analysis of SB 96, click here.
To read staff analysis of SB 900, click here.
Committee on Children, Families & Elder Affairs and Sen. Brodeur
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.

To read staff analysis of SB 80 click here.
Juvenile Justice
These bills remove the requirement that limits diversion program expunction to misdemeanor offenses. HB 166 passed, allowing SB 274 to take effect.

To read staff analysis of SB 274, click here.
To read staff analysis of SB 166, click here.
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.

To read staff analysis of HB 183, click here.
K-12 Education
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.

To read staff analysis of HB 3, click here.
Early Learning & Elementary Education Subcommittee and
Rep. Aloupis
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.

To read staff analysis of HB 7011, click here.
For more information, please contact
Donovan Lee-Sin, Chief Public Policy & Engagement Officer at