Capitol Connection
The 2021 Florida Legislative Session is well underway. These eight 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. Given that it is the halfway point of the legislative session, bills that have not had any movement have been removed from the summary.
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 chambers met for Week Four of the 2021 Legislative Session. Activities this week included the House of Representatives announcing a plan to reduce maternal mortality rates and improve health outcomes for new mothers and infants by extending maternal Medicaid benefits from the two months in current law to a full year following delivery. To read the full press release from the House of Representatives click here. Both chambers also previewed their budget recommendations for fiscal year 2021-2022 through their respective appropriations subcommittees. On Friday, SB 2500 was filed outlining the Senate’s complete budget recommendations. Other items of note were actions in the Senate to abolish the Constitutional Revision Commission through SB 204, and issues relating to Economic Self-Sufficiency, Early Learning, Juvenile Diversion, and Managed Care Plans.
On Thursday, Governor DeSantis announced beginning Monday, March 29, all individuals age 40 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Beginning the following Monday, April 5, all individuals age 18 and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. To read the governor’s announcement click here

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


Until next week!

The Florida Children’s Council
Economic Self-Sufficiency
Sen. Perry
Rep. Aloupis
These comparable bills require the Auditor General to perform audits of specified programs to determine benefits 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.

To read staff analysis of HB 1349, click here.
To read staff analysis of SB 414, click here.
Early Learning
Sen. Stewart
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 HB 1287, click here.
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
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
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.
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. HB 117 has been placed on the calendar for 2nd reading.

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
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. HB 149 has been placed on the calendar for 2nd reading.

To read staff analysis of HB 149, click here.
To read staff analysis of SB 192, 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.
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
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. SB 80 is currently in House Messages.

To read staff analysis of HB 1473, click here.
To read staff analysis of SB 80 click here.
Sen. Book
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.

To read staff analysis of SB 1920 click here.
Juvenile Justice
Rep. Smith, D.
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. HB 93 has been placed on the House calendar.

To read staff analysis of HB 93, click here.
To read staff analysis of SB 274, click here.
Committee on Health Policy and Sen. Rouson
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.
K-12 Education
Sen. Burgess
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.
To read staff analysis on SB 1372, click here.
Early Learning & Elementary Education Subcommittee and
Rep. Aloupis
Sen. Rodriguez
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.

To read staff analysis on HB 7011, click here.
To read staff analysis on SB 1898, click here.
For more information, please contact
Donovan Lee-Sin, Chief Public Policy & Engagement Officer at