Week 1 | January 13, 2018
The 2018 Legislative Session Kicks Off
House Speaker Richard Corcoran (R-Pasco County) and Senate President Joe Negron
(R-St. Lucie)
It’s that time of year again! Legislators, staff and advocates from across the state made the trek to Tallahassee as the 2018 legislative session opened on January 9, 2018. Legislative session kicked off with the two chamber leaders and Governor Rick Scott reflecting on the accomplishments of the past and outlining priorities for this session.

In his opening remarks, House Speaker Richard Corcoran (R-Pasco County) outlined his priorities, asserting “there are at least three things we absolutely must do. First, the Florida House will never support raising taxes on any person or any business - ever…. Second, the Florida House will not surrender a single penny of the state’s fiscal reserves…. Finally, we will continue the fight to ensure that every child in this state – regardless of gender, race, religion or income – has access to a world class education…”

In the other legislative chamber, Senate President Joe Negron (R-St. Lucie) articulated his priorities including higher education, water and environmental issues, hurricane preparedness, substance abuse, and school choice.

Governor Scott in his last State of the State Address laid out priorities within his 2018 legislative package: public safety, jobs, tax cuts, disaster preparedness and displacement, substance abuse, foster care and adoption, environment, and education.

Much of the focus of session will be on the state’s economy and budget. To date, approximately 1,300 member project budget bills totaling over $2 billion have been filed and many were taken up this first week of session. Changes to federal policy, the increased impact of the opioid crisis, and continued hurricane recovery will loom large as the session progresses.
Early Learning
Committee on Early Grade Success
Through the fall months, there was much work undertaken by the legislatively created Committee on Early Grade Success. The Committee’s work culminated in recommendations to guide the development of a coordinated early childhood assessment system for publicly funded programs. These recommendations were adopted by the legislative representatives from each body and bills have been filed in each chamber (see HB 1365 & SB 1822 below). The Committee’s full report can be read here .
HB 1365 by Rep. Erin Grall (R-Vero Beach) and its companion SB 1822 by Sen. Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) require the Office of Early Learning to adopt an observation-based child assessment system and establish the parameters for procurement and implementation of the assessment system. Neither bill has been referred to committees at this time.

School Readiness
Through the fall months, there was much work undertaken by the legislatively created Committee on Early Grade Success. The Committee’s work culminated in recommendations to guide the development of a coordinated early childhood assessment system for publicly funded programs. These recommendations were adopted by the legislative representatives from each body and bills have been filed in each chamber (see HB 1365 & SB 1822 below). The Committee’s full report can be read here .
A bill relating to Early Learning Coalitions, SB 1532 , was filed by Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) with the House companion, HB 1175 by Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (R-Eustis) that authorizes an early learning coalition to terminate a contract with certain School Readiness program providers related to health and safety violations. SB 1532 has not yet been referred to committees. HB 1175 has been referred to two committees and is awaiting action in the PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee.

Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) filed SB 1150 relating to the distribution of School Readiness program funding and has been referred to three committees. The bill would require the Office of Early Learning to develop a formula for the allocation of funding for School Readiness under certain requirements; and authorizes the office to adjust allocations for specified purposes.
Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program
SB 1738 by Sen. Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) and HB 1297 by Rep. Kamia Brown (D-Ocoee) prohibit a private prekindergarten provider from participating in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program or the School Readiness program for five years if they have been cited for four or more violations relating to the supervision of children within a two-year period. Both have not yet been referred to committees.
Sen. David Simmons (R-Longwood) filed SB 1546 which authorizes each early learning coalitions to administer an in-home, technology-based academic prekindergarten program as part of the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program. The bill has not yet been referred to committees.

Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) filed SB 1150 relating to the distribution of School Readiness program funding and has been referred to three committees. The bill would require the Office of Early Learning to develop a formula for the allocation of funding for School Readiness under certain requirements; and authorizes the office to adjust allocations for specified purposes.
Child Care Tax Credit
SB 236 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) and the House companion, HB 809 by Rep. Nick Duran (D-Miami) provide tax credit for baby changing tables in restaurants. The bill authorizes a sales and use tax credit for restaurants purchasing and installing baby changing tables on their premises. SB 236 was reported favorably in Commerce and Tourism on January 9, 2018 and has two committees remaining.  HB 809 has been referred to three committees.
SB 56 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) and the House companion, HB 163 by Rep. Janet Cruz (D-Tampa) exempt the sale of human use of diapers, baby wipes, etc. from the sales and use tax. SB 56 is awaiting action in its second committee of reference, Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax. HB 163 has been referred to two committees and is awaiting action in the Ways and Means Committee.
Education
Books for Babies
SB 1146 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) and its House companion, HB 543 by Rep. Bob Cortes (R-Altamonte Springs) require the Office of Early Learning to establish the Books to Babies Pilot Project in Seminole and Orange Counties to provide resources to parents relating to emergent literacy skills. 
SB 1146 has been referred to three committees. HB 543 has been referred to three committees and is awaiting action in the PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee
Early Childhood Transition Team

SB 1334 by Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Lady Lake) and the House companion, HB 1135 by Rep. Loranne Ausley (D-Tallahassee) require schools designated as one of the 300 lowest-performing elementary schools to include an Early Childhood Transition Team in their required school improvement plans; and require the team to develop a transition plan that contains certain elements. SB 1334 has been referred to three committees. HB 1135 has been referred to three committees and is awaiting action in the PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee.


Early Childhood Music Education

SB 654 by Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) extends the scheduled expiration of the Early Childhood Education Pilot Program. The bill has been referred to three committees.


Year-Round School

SB 668 by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and House companion, HB 587 by Rep. Wengay Newton (D-St. Petersburg) authorize a district school board to create a year-round school program for any school within its district that is one of the 300 lowest-performing schools in the state and authorize a specified number of hours in a summer program or a year-round school program. SB 668 has been referred to three committees. HB 587 has been referred to three committees and is awaiting action in the PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee.


Human Trafficking Education

SB 96 by Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) revises the required health education in public schools to include information regarding the dangers and signs of human trafficking and establishes procedures for opting out of instruction with parent permission. The bill has been referred to four committees and is awaiting action in its third committee, Appropriations.
Child Care Facilities
SB 486 by Sen. Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) and the House companion, HB 305 by Rep. Bruce Antone (D-Orlando) creates the "Child Safety Alarm Act"; requires vehicles used by child care facilities and large family child care homes to be equipped with a reliable alarm system that prompts the driver to inspect the vehicle for children before exiting the vehicle. Both have been referred to three committees of reference and neither have been heard in their first committee.

SB 1520 by Sen. Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) and the House companion,
HB 1129  by Rep. Bob Cortes (R-Altamonte Springs) require certain organizations offering child care through after-school programs to be licensed as child care facilities. SB 1520 has not yet been referred to committees. HB 1129 has been referred to three committees and is awaiting action in the Children, Families, and Seniors Subcommittee.
Health
Florida Kidcare Program
SB 108 by Sen. Daphne Campbell (D-North Miami Beach) and HB 293 by Rep. Nicholas Duran (R-Miami) propose to create a Kidcare Operational Efficiency & Health Care Improvement Workgroup to maximize the return on investment and enhance the operational efficiencies of the Florida Kidcare program. SB 108 is scheduled to be heard in the Governmental Oversight and Accountability on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. HB 293 was reported favorably in the Health Innovation Subcommittee on January 10, 2018.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

SB 434  by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) and its House companion, HB 407 by Rep. Bob Rommel (R-Naples) would require the Agency for Health Care Administration, in consultation with the Department of Children and Families, to establish a pilot project licensing facilities to treat infants who suffer from neonatal abstinence syndrome and to provide for data collection and research. SB 434 is awaiting action in its last committee of reference, Appropriations. HB 407 has been referred to three committees and awaiting action in the Health Innovation Subcommittee.


Perinatal Mental Health

SB 138 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) and HB 937 by Rep. Jeanette Nunez (R-Miami) create the "Florida Families First Act" and would require the Department of Health to create public service announcements to educate the public on perinatal mental health care, as well as revise components that are included in the postpartum evaluation and follow-up care provided by birth centers to include a mental health screening and the provision of certain information on postpartum depression. SB 138 is scheduled to be heard in Health Policy Committee on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. HB 937 has been referred to three committees and is awaiting action in the Health Innovation Subcommittee.

Children in Motor Vehicles

SB 92 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) and the House companion, HB 115 by Rep. Emily Slosberg (D-Delray Beach) prohibit a parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for a child younger than a specified age from leaving the child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle for any length of time. SB 92 has been referred to four committees. HB 115 has been referred to three committees and awaits action in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

SB 728 by Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) requires operators of motor vehicles to provide appropriate child restraints for children younger than the age of six. SB 728 has been referred to three committees.
Child Welfare
Child Immunization
SB 1680 by Sen. Bill Montford (D-Quincy) and the House companion, HB 1045 by Rep. Cary Pigman (R-Sebring) revise provisions relating to the communicable disease prevention and control programs under the Department of Health; deletes a provision that allows the parent or guardian of a child to refuse to have the child included in the immunization registry; and revises school-entry health requirements to require that students have a certificate of immunization on file with the department’s immunization registry. SB 1680 has not yet been referred to committees. HB 1045 has been referred to three committees and is awaiting action in the Health Quality Subcommittee.
SB 1558 by Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami) and the House companion HB 1343 by Rep. Amy Mercado (D-Orlando) relating to school health immunization, revise child immunization requirements to include a vaccine for human papillomavirus. SB 1558 and HB 1343 have not yet been referred to committees.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse

HB 1377 by Rep. David Silvers (D-West Palm Beach) and the similar Senate companion, SB 1790 by Sen. Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach) require DCF to create a workgroup to provide recommendations for revising Baker Act; requires workgroup to submit report to specified entities & Legislature; provides duties of receiving facility administrator & court when persons younger than age 18 are admitted for voluntary mental health services or transferred to voluntary status. HB 1377 has not yet been referred to committees. SB 1790 has not yet been referred to committees.

SB 270 by Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) and the House companion, HB 947 by Rep. Bobby Payne (R-Palatka) relate to involuntary examination and involuntary admission of minors. The bill authorizes a designated law enforcement agency to decline to transport a minor 14 years of age or younger to a receiving facility for mental health or substance abuse evaluation if the parent or guardian of the minor agrees to transport the minor to the receiving facility; and requires the examination of a minor 14 years of age or younger to be initiated within eight hours after the patient’s arrival at the receiving facility. SB 270 has been referred to three committees. HB 947 has been referred to two committees and awaiting action in the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee.

SB 202 by Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota)   revises the criteria for involuntary admission for behavioral health services due to substance abuse by allowing for involuntary admission for an individual who had to be resuscitated through pharmacological agents designed to reverse the effects of a substance. The bill has been referred to four committees.

CS/SB 450 by Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) and the House companion,
HB 1327 by Rep. Kathleen Peters (R-St. Petersburg) establish screening requirements for peer specialists working in mental health programs and facilities. The bill requires the Department of Children and Families to develop a training program for peer specialists and give preference to trainers who are certified peer specialists and requires peer specialists to meet the requirements of a background screening. CS/SB 450 was reported favorably in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services on January 10, 2018 and now heads to its final committee. HB 1327 has not yet been referred to committees.
Early Childhood Court Program
SB 1442 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) and the House companion, HB 1351 by Rep. Bobby Payne (R-Palatka) establish the Early Childhood Court in statute and provides resources for supporting the program. The legislation would also require the Florida State University Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy to hire a statewide clinical consultant and assemble a clinical oversight team. The proposed policy includes provisions for the Florida Institute for Child Welfare to conduct an evaluation of the program’s impact in consultation with the Department of Children and Families, the office, the center, and a specified organization. Both bills have not yet been referred to committees.

Child Welfare

SB 1278 by Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) deletes a provision listing the order of preference of permanency goals; and provides that the best interest of the child is the court’s sole consideration, rather than the primary consideration, in determining a permanency goal for a child in the dependency system. The bill has been referred to three committees.

SB 774 by Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) and the House companion, HB 505 by Rep. Rick Roth (R-Palm Beach Garden) and Rep. Patricia Williams (D-Ft. Lauderdale) revise the types of information relating to the identity and location of a child’s legal father that fall within the scope of a court inquiry at a shelter hearing or a hearing regarding a petition for termination of parental rights. The bill provides for certain unmarried biological fathers to receive notice of dependency hearings and requires notice of a petition for termination of parental rights to be served on an unmarried biological father identified under oath or by a diligent search of the Florida Putative Father Registry. SB 774 has been referred to three committees. HB 505 has been referred to three committees and awaits action in the Civil Justice and Claims Subcommittee.

SB 998 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) and the House companion,
HB 799 by Rep. Kristin Jacobs (D-Coconut Creek) require the Department of Children and Families to adopt or amend licensing rules for child-placing agencies to include specific requirements to prevent the separation of siblings. SB 998 has been referred to three committees. HB 799 has been referred to three committees and is awaiting action in the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee.

SB 1072 by Sen. Perry Thurston (D-Ft. Lauderdale) and the House companion, HB 1125 by Rep. Barrington Russell (D-Lauderhill) require court costs for all adoptive parents who adopt children in the custody of the Department of Children and Families to be waived rather than reimbursed by the department. SB 1072 has been referred to three committees. HB 1125 has been referred to three committees and awaits action by the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee.

SB 1514 by Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) and SB 1360 by Sen. Doug Broxson (R-Pensacola) and HB 1079 by Rep. Colleen Burton (R-Lakeland) focus on a wide breadth of modifications to the child welfare system including:

  • DCF establishing rules and procedures for granting exemptions from criminal history and other records checks required for persons being considered for placement of child
  • Revising equity allocation formula for community-based care lead agencies
  • Requiring child care personnel screening to include out-of-state criminal history records and sexual predator and sexual offender registry searches
  • Revising offenses that disqualify certain child care personnel from specified employment
  • Requiring the DCF to establish a certain exemption process and to adopt rules and procedures for the documentation necessary for exempting household members who have disabilities from being fingerprinted before a child is placed in the home
  • Requiring the department to take all the necessary steps to recover financial assistance provided to non-relative caregivers under certain circumstances
  • Authorizing the court to make certain determinations regarding placement of a child with a guardian

SB 1514 has not yet been referred to committees. SB 1360 has been referred to three committees HB 1079 has been referred to three committees and awaits action by the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee.

HB 1105 by Rep. Ben Albritton (R-Bartow) provides for name of child's guardian ad litem or attorney ad litem to be entered on court orders in dependency proceedings. The bill requires the court to advise parents during adjudicatory hearing of actions required to achieve reunification and modifies mandatory timeframes for dependency hearings and enter orders. HB 1105 has been referred to three committees and awaits action by the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee

Public Assistance

SB 508 by Sen. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) and the House companion HB 751 by Rep. Dane Eagle (R-Cape Coral)   require CareerSource Florida, Inc., to submit in a detailed annual report certain information on individuals subject to mandatory work requirements who receive temporary cash or food assistance. The bill requires the Department of Economic Opportunity to work with program participants in developing strategies to overcome obstacles to compliance with work activity requirements and creates the TANF Reemployment Pilot Program in Pinellas County. SB 508 has been referred to four committees. HB 751 has been referred to three committees and awaits action by the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee.

SB 1160 by Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) and the House companion, CS/HB 693 by Rep. Frank White (R-Pensacola) authorize changes to public assistance policy and federal food assistance waivers to conform to federal law & simplify administration. The bills require DCF to impose resource limit for households receiving food assistance, subject to federal approval and requires CareerSource Florida, Inc., to contract with vendor to develop pilot program to increase employment for persons receiving temporary cash assistance. SB 1160 has been referred to four committees. CS/HB 693 awaits action by the Appropriations Committee.

SB 1232 by Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Lady Lake) pertains to public assistance fraud and revises the maximum reward paid to persons providing certain information leading to the recovery of certain fraudulent public assistance payments and directs state-retained shares of recovered public assistance over payments to be held in the Federal Grants Trust Fund. SB 1232 has been referred to three committees.

Human Trafficking

SB 596 by Sen. Perry Thurston (D-Ft. Lauderdale) and the House companion, HB 159 by Rep. Barrington Russell (D-Lauderhill) and Rep. Robert Asencio
(D-Miami) require the Department of Legal Affairs to develop human trafficking awareness campaigns and to develop and operate a hotline to receive reports of potential human trafficking activity. Both have been referred to three committees and have yet to be heard in their first stop.

HB 167 by Rep. Ross Spano (R-Riverview) and the Senate companion, SB 1044 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) "Civil Action for Victims of Human Trafficking and Prevention of Human Trafficking Act" provide civil cause of action for victims of human trafficking against trafficker or facilitator and provides procedures and requirements for bringing claim and receiving damages. HB 167 is awaiting action in its final committee of reference, Judiciary. SB 1044 has been referred to two committees.  

SB 338 by Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee) requires the Division of Hotels and Restaurants of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, in consultation with the Attorney General and state and national lodging associations, to adopt by rule one or more educational programs to train employees in the identification and reporting of suspected human trafficking activity. This bill is similar to HB 167 and SB 1044. SB 338 has been referred to three committees.

SB 228 by Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee) requires each region of the Department of Children and Families and each community-based care lead agency to establish a plan to recruit providers capable of offering specialized services to commercially sexually exploited children and to increase the service capacity of existing providers in order to develop the necessary capacity to meet the needs of commercially sexually exploited children. SB 228 has been referred to three committees.

SB 1784 by Sen. Daphne Campbell (D-North Miami Beach) requires the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking to recommend specified identifiers or a screening tool by a specified date to assist emergency room health care personnel in recognizing victims of human trafficking; and requires the Department of Health to post the screening tool and certain information provided by the council on its website. The bill has not yet been referred to committees.

PCB CRJ 18-03 is a House committee bill relating to Human Trafficking that provides a mandatory minimum sentence for certain human trafficking offenses, expands the definition of an adult and prohibits assessing certain fees and costs to victims of human trafficking seeking criminal records expungement. The bill will be heard by the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on January 16 th .
Child Protection

HB 487  by Rep. Bobby Olszewski (R-Orlando) and SB 634 by Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) prohibits a child who has suffered sexual exploitation from being placed in a generic shelter setting when safe-harbor or trauma-informed housing is not available and requires the Department of Children and Families to assemble a team of specified experts to determine the safest placement for the child. HB 487 has been referred to three committees and awaits action in the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee. SB 634 has been referred to three committees.

SB 1724 by Sen. Victor Torres (D-Kissimmee) and the House companion,
HB 1399 by Rep. Bruce Antone (D-Orlando) expand the definition of the term “harm” to include the infliction of certain mental injury on a child and expands mandatory reporting requirements for child abuse, abandonment, or neglect to include child psychological abuse. The bill also requires the Board of Psychology within the Department of Health to revise the continuing education requirements for renewal of a license to practice psychology to include child psychological abuse. SB 1724 and HB 1399 have not yet been referred to committees. 

HB 417 by Rep. Evan Jenne (D-Hollywood) and its Senate companion, SB 1212 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) provide an exemption from public records requirements to certain identifying and location information of current or former directors, managers, supervisors, and clinical employees of child advocacy centers that meet cerain standards and requirements including members of a child protection team, and their spouses and children. HB 417 was reported favorably by the Oversight, Transparency and Administration Subcommittee on January 10, 2018. SB 1212 is scheduled to be heard in Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.

HB 7017 by Criminal Justice Subcommittee and Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (R-Eustis) and the Senate companion, SB 1214 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) authorize subpoenas in certain investigations of sexual offenses involving child victims & specifiy requirements and provide for separate offenses of transmission of child pornography. HB 7017 is awaiting action in the Justice Appropriations Subcommittee. SB 1214 has been referred to four committees.

SB 1650 by Sen. Bill Montford (D-Quincy) prohibits the Department of Children and Families from releasing the names of certain persons who have provided information during a protective investigation except under certain circumstances. The bill has not yet been referred to committees.
Juvenile Justice
Civil Citation
HB 489 by Rep. Sharon Pritchett (D-Miramar) and CS/SB 644 by Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee) requires establishment of civil citation or similar diversion programs for juveniles; specifies program eligibility, participation, and implementation requirements. HB 489 has been referred to three committees and awaits action by the Criminal Justice Subcommittee. CS/SB 644 awaits action by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice.
Rep.Sharon Pritchett
(D Miramar)
Direct Filing
HB 195 by Rep. Emily Slosberg (D-Delray Beach) and the Senate companion, SB 288 by Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee) require DJJ to collect specified information relating to the number of children eligible for direct filing of prosecution as adults and for those who actually are direct filed. HB 195 has been referred to three committees and awaits action by the Criminal Justice Subcommittee. SB 288 has been referred to three committees.
Rep. Emily Slosberg
(D-Delray Beach)
SB 234 by Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee) and the House companion,
HB 1229 by Rep. Cynthia Stafford (D-Opa Locka) require the Department of Corrections to submit a report to the Legislature by a specified date of each year on specified information regarding prisoners in the custody of the department who are of certain years of age. SB 234 has been referred to three committees. HB 1229 has not yet been referred to committees.  SB 1542 by Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee) is similar to SB 234 and HB 1229 and has not yet been referred to committees.

SB 392 by Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee) increases the age of a child at which a state attorney may, or is required to, request a court to transfer the child to adult court for criminal prosecution from 14 to 15 years of age. SB 392 has been referred to three committees. 

SB 1552 by Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee) is similar to SB 392 and SB 1298 by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and the House companion, HB 1417 by Rep. Lawrence McClure (R-Plant City) require that a prolific juvenile offender be held in secure detention until a detention hearing is held if the juvenile violated the conditions of non-secure detention. These bills also include language to increase the age of a child that is direct filed. SB 1552 has not yet been referred to committee. SB 1298 has been referred to three committees. HB 1417 has not yet been referred to committees.

Juvenile Facilities

SB 1004 by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and the House companion, HB 361 by Rep. David Richardson (D-Miami Beach) and Rep. Cynthia Stafford (D-Opa Locka) authorize certain elected and state officials (or their designees) to visit all state facilities housing juveniles which are operated or overseen by the Department of Juvenile Justice and prohibit the department from unreasonably withholding permission for visits to such facilities by certain persons. SB 1004 is scheduled to be heard in the Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. HB 361 has been referred to two committees and awaits action by the Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

Civil Rights
SB 936 by Sen. Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach) and the similar House bill, HB 509 by Rep. Sean Shaw (D-Tampa) create an exception to the suspension of civil rights upon the conviction of a felony for children convicted as adults and require children of certain ages who are convicted and sentenced to the Department of Corrections to be kept completely separated from adult offenders in the facility. SB 936 is scheduled to be heard in Governmental Oversight and Accountability on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. HB 509 has been referred to three committees and is awaiting action in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
Sen. Bobby Powell
(D-West Palm Beach)
Other Bills Affecting Children
Gun Bills

Over a dozen separate gun bills have been filed, each specifying locations where concealed weapons and firearms will be allowed including certain institutions ( HB 113 ) ( SB 274 ), businesses and organizations ( SB 120 ), private school ( SB 240 ), K-12 schools ( HB 621 ), motor vehicles, residences, shelters ( HB 739 ), religious institutions ( SB 1048 ), among others. To date, one bill was heard and failed passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee, SB 134 Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) which proposed to authorize a concealed weapons or concealed firearms licensee to temporarily surrender a weapon or firearm if the licensee approaches courthouse security or management personnel upon arrival and follows their instructions. Others recommend mental health evaluation for applicants ( HB 269 ) ( SB 400 ), standard form to assess criminal history ( SB 334 ), and buyback program ( HB 997 ) There are also several gun safety bills filed:  SB 196 , SB 218 , SB 838 and SB 1476 .

Children with Unique Abilities

SB 146 by Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) and the House companion, HB 57 by Rep. Frank White (R-Pensacola) and Rep. Patricia Williams (D-Ft. Lauderdale) designate this act as the “Pro Bono Matters Act of 2018”; and require the payment of due process costs of litigation of all pro bono attorneys appointed to represent dependent children with certain special needs, subject to appropriations and review for reasonableness SB 146 was reported favorably in the Appropriations Committee on January 11, 2018. HB 57 was reported favorably in the Judiciary Committee on January 11, 2018.

HB 63 by Rep. Katie Edwards (D-Sunrise) and the Senate companion, SB 260 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) provide requirements for use of seclusion, restraint, and exclusionary and nonexclusionary time and requires continuing education and in-service training relating to students with certain disabilities. HB 63 was reported favorably in the PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee on January 10, 2018. SB 260 has been referred to 3 committees.

CS/HB 135 by Rep. Loranne Ausley (D-Tallahassee) and the Senate companion, SB 290 by Sen. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) require application for motor vehicle registration to include language indicating applicant is deaf or hard of hearing. CS/HB 135 was reported favorably in its last committee of reference, Government Accountability, on January 11, 2018.   SB 290 is awaiting action in its last committee of reference, Appropriations.

SB 242 by Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Lady Lake) and the House companion, HB 969 by Rep. Danny Burgess (R-Zephyrhills)   cite this act as "Gabe’s Act"; and revise the term “developmental disability” to include the disorder and symptoms attributable to Duchenne muscular dystrophy. SB 242 has been referred to four committees. HB 969 has been referred to three committees and awaits action in the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee.

SB 564 by Sen. Dana Young (R-Tampa) and the House companion, HB 399
by Rep. Amber Mariano (R-Port Richey) provide that parents seeking an individual education plan reevaluation may request a specified meeting and evaluation from the school district and specify that a school district may change a student’s matrix of services as a result of an individual education plan reevaluation. SB 564 was reported favorably by the Appropriations Subcommittee on PreK-12 Education on January 10, 2018.   HB 399 has been referred to three committees and is awaiting action in the PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee.

SB 1080 by Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Lady Lake) and the House companion,
HB 829 by Rep. Rene Plasencia (R-Titusville) and Rep. Mel Ponder (R-Ft. Walton Beach) pertain to the John M. McKay scholarship for students with disabilities. The bill provides for the calculation of the scholarship amount for students diagnosed with a disability by certain physicians or psychologists and provides for the adjustment of the scholarship amount under certain circumstances. SB 1080 has been referred to three committees. HB 829 has been referred to three committees and awaits action in the PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee.

SB 1286 by Sen. David Simmons (R-Longwood) revises the meaning of a rare disease within the definition of a “disability” for purposes of the Gardiner Scholarship Program to include those defined in the Orphan Drug Act of 1983. The bill has been referred to three committees.

SB 1788 by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) and the House companion, HB 1373 by Rep. Cyndi Stevenson (R-St. Augustine) prohibit the Agency for Persons with Disabilities from issuing a license to a new comprehensive transitional education program and prohibits the agency from renewing the license of an existing comprehensive transitional education program after December 31, 2020. SB 1788 and HB 1373 have not yet been referred to committees.
For more information, please contact: info@thechildre nstrust.org
or 305.571.5700