Capitol Connection
2021 LEGISLATIVE SESSION: WEEK 2
The 2021 Florida Legislative Session is well underway. These seven weeks move quickly in Tallahassee, and we appreciate your interest in monitoring issues that may impact Florida’s children and families. The Florida Children’s Council hopes that the content provided in this digest and the subsequent issues will help inform your advocacy efforts until session ends (sine die) on April 30th.
 
Each week the Capitol Connection will provide a brief summary of relative events from the executive and legislative branches. The update will also include information on legislation that has moved that week and provide updates on presentations, press conferences and conversations that may be of interest.
 
The first column lists the bill number, name and sponsor and provides a hyperlink to the bill's text and history. The numbered circles represent the number of committees of reference for each bill, and the final column provides a brief description of the bill(s). Here is a key to help guide you in your review of where each bill is:
This week the Senate and House Committees met for Week Two of the 2021 Legislative Session. This session saw more than 2000 bills filed; therefore, we expect to see bills moving through committees much later into the session than usual. While this week was light in terms of significant bill movement, we did see several child welfare bills move through their committees of reference. Senate Bill 80, a massive omnibus bill overhauling the state’s child welfare provisions unanimously passed its third and final committee in the Senate and is heading to a floor vote. Additionally, two more child welfare bills, Senate Bills 92 and 96,are now in their last committee stop.

The House Judiciary Committee committee considered HB 7005, related to COVID-19 liability claims. This bill would protect health care providers and long term care facilities from negligence claims brought on related to COVID-19. The bill passed with a 15-5 vote in its second and final committee of reference. In the Senate, a similar bill (SB 74 by Senator Brandes) was amended onto SB 72 during the Senate Rules committee and will now be placed on the Special Order Calendar.

On Thursday, the Internet Sales tax bill (HB 15), which closes a loophole that allows many online businesses to not collect sales tax on internet sales passed its first committee in the House and is headed to the Commerce Committee as its second and final stop. This bipartisan bill is expected to bring in about $1 billion to Florida’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund annually until the Trust Fund is replenished to pre-pandemic levels. The Senate companion (SB 50) has already passed all committee stops and is on the Special Order Calendar. 

In other news, Governor DeSantis announced that he had selected Adrian Lukis as his new Chief of Staff. Lukis is the current Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor and previously served as a Senior Advisor to former House Speaker Jose Oliva. The position of Chief of Staff became open when former Chief of Staff Shane Strum resigned to accept a position as CEO of Broward Health.

Below are links to news articles published this week that may be of interest to you.


Until next week!

Sincerely,
The Florida Children’s Council
Economic Self-Sufficiency
Sen. Perry
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Rep. Aloupis
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These comparable bills require the Auditor General to perform audits of specified programs to determine fiscal cliffs created by requirements to participate. HB 1349 requires that the University of Florida coordinate with the Office of Early Learning to conduct analysis on certain assistance programs.
Early Learning
Sen. Stewart
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These identical bills titled the "Child Safety Alarm Act" require certain vehicles to be equipped with a reliable alarm system to ensure safety of children being transported to child care facilities, require 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.
These similar bills move 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.
Out-Of-School Time Programs
Rep. Trabulsy
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These similar bills require summer camp personnel to be background screened and summer camp programs to register with DCF, as well as meet minimum health & safety regulations, and allows DCF or a local licensing agency to enforce these regulations.

To read staff analysis of SB 1096, click here.
Healthy Development
Committee on Children, Families & Elder Affairs and Rep. Rouson
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These similar bills provide that peer specialists are essential element of coordinated system of care in recovery from substance use disorder or mental illness. They revise background screening requirements for certain peer specialists, revise requirements for certification as peer specialist, and require DCF to develop training program for peer specialists.

To read staff analysis on SB 130, click here.
These identical bills require a home inspector to include certain information relating to swimming pools in their report, require new residential swimming pools meet additional requirement in order to pass final inspection & receive certificate of completion, require that certain pool safety features meet specified standard, and they prohibit property owner from transferring ownership of parcel that includes swimming pool unless certain requirements are met.
Rep. Bartleman
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These similar bills increase the income eligibility limit for coverage under the Florida Kidcare program, and require applicants to provide specified documentation if the Florida Kidcare program is unable to verify eligibility according to federal requirements. The bills authorize the Agency for Health Care Administration to seek federal waiver approval or submit state plan amendments as necessary and require the agency to examine graduated family contribution rates for newly qualifying families under the Kidcare program.
Sen. Book
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This bill extends the duration for which a woman can receive services under Medicaid for postpartum care to one year after birth.
Rep. Brown
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This bill subject to a Federal waiver extends the duration women may be able to utilize Medicaid after birth to one year.
Rep. Bartleman
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These identical bills remove the requirement that AHCA establish penalties or waiting periods for reinstatement of coverage, removes provisions relating to children who are not eligible to receive premium assistance, revises the limitation for eligibility for continuous coverage, and require applicants seeking coverage to provide documentation if eligibility cannot be verified using reliable data sources.
Children With Disabilities
These similar bills require the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to provide specified written information to persons applying for certain waiver services and require the agency to provide a certain disclosure statement along with such information.

To read staff analysis of HB 117, click here.
To read staff analysis of SB 714, click here.
Early Learning & Elementary Education Subcommittee and Rep. DuBose and Rep. Plasencia
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These similar bills require school districts to prohibit the use of seclusion on students with disabilities in public schools, require school districts to adopt positive behavior interventions, supports, certain policies and procedures, creates the Video Cameras in Public School Classrooms Pilot Program. Furthermore, the bills require 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.
These similar bills revise the timeline for development & implementation of individual education plan (IEP) for transition services for student with disabilities to postsecondary education & career opportunities. They revise requirements for IEP for transitions to postsecondary education & career opportunities.

To read staff analysis of HB 173, click here.
To read staff analysis of SB 726, click here.
Rep. Trabulsy
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Sen. Harrell
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These similar bills provide requirements for mandatory dyslexia screening for certain students & subsequent diagnosis of student. They establish a Dyslexia Task Force within DOE, provide requirements for such task force, remove requirement for district school superintendents to refer parents to home education review committee, and removes penalty for parents failing to provide portfolio to such committee.
Child Protection
These identical bills provide and revise provisions related to DCF, including community alliances, caregivers, family-finding program, kinship navigator programs, website requirements, contracts, managing entities, lead agencies, and child & family well-being system program. They require the Florida Institute for Child Welfare to submit reports.

To read staff analysis of SB 92, click here.
Committee on Children, Families & Elder Affairs and Sen. Brodeur
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These comparable bills require 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 HB 1473, click here.
To read staff analysis of SB 80 click here.
Rep. Book
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This bill specifies circumstances under which a court is required to appoint a guardian ad litem. It renames the Guardian Ad Litem Qualifications Committee as the Child Well-Being Qualifications Committee. It specifies that the executive director of the Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office may be reappointed. It creates the Statewide Office of Child Representation within the Justice Administration Commission. It specifies when the court is authorized or required to appoint an attorney for the child.
Juvenile Justice
Rep. Smith, D.
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These identical bills remove the requirement that limits diversion program expunction to misdemeanor offenses. HB 95 or its companion will have to pass in order for SB 274 or HB 93 to take effect.

To read staff analysis of HB 93, click here.
To read staff analysis of SB 274, click here.
Equity
Committee on Health Policy and Sen. Rouson
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These similar bills require the Office of Minority Health & Health Equity to develop & promote statewide implementation of certain policies, programs, & practices. They require a representative from each county health department to serve as minority health liaison, require the office to maintain specified information on its website, and require the office to serve as liaison to & assist certain federal offices.

To read staff analysis of SB 404, click here.
These identical bills establish the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion within EOG. They provide for appointment of Chief Diversity Officer, prescribe minimum qualifications for Chief Diversity Officer, and provide duties & responsibilities of Chief Diversity Officer.
K-12 Education
Sen. Burgess
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These similar bills establish New Worlds Reading Initiative under DOE, provide duties & responsibilities of administrator, provide requirements & procedures for participating entities, establish student eligibility requirements & options relating to book selection, require books be delivered at no cost to families, and authorize DOE to contract with third-party entity.

To read staff analysis on HB 3, click here.
Early Learning & Elementary Education Subcommittee and
Rep. Aloupis
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Sen. Rodriguez
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These similar bills revise requirements relating to improvement of student literacy skills. They require DOE, in consultation with Office of Early Learning, to implement coordinated screening & progress monitoring system for VPK program through grade 8, establish Reading Achievement Initiative for Scholastic Excellence Program within DOE, and revise requirements relating to specified reading instruction allocation. The bills revise requirements for certain instructional personnel & professional development program.
These similar bills revise requirements relating to improvement of student literacy skills. They require DOE, in consultation with Office of Early Learning, to implement coordinated screening & progress monitoring system for VPK program through grade 8, establish Reading Achievement Initiative for Scholastic Excellence Program within DOE, and revise requirements relating to specified reading instruction allocation. The bills revise requirements for certain instructional personnel & professional development program.
For more information, please contact
Donovan Lee-Sin, Chief Public Policy & Engagement Officer at