2019 Legislative Session | Week 9
The 2019 Legislative Session finally adjourns Sine Die on Saturday, May 4th - a one-day extension from the regularly scheduled end date. The only bill considered on Saturday is the State's Budget - SB 2500. Bills passed by both Chambers by Friday, May 3rd have been sent to the Governor to be signed into law. All other bills, except the budget, that did not make it through both Chambers by Friday, have officially lost their chance at passage for this legislative session.

Below is a side-by-side of the current and proposed budget in areas related to children and youth:
There were many different priorities at the forefront for Legislators this session including Hurricane Michael recovery, school safety, child welfare, criminal justice reform and others. Below you will find a list of all of our tracked bills for this session that were passed and have been sent to the Governor.
Child Welfare
 SB 124 - Sen. Bean
HB 115 - Rep. Sirois
(Laid on the Table)

 Dependent Children - This bill authorizes the court to receive & consider information provided by the Guardian ad Litem Program & child's attorney ad litem if the child is under jurisdiction of dependency court, adds requirements related to transferring dependent children from DJJ facilities & grants additional authorizations to the GAL Program.
 SB 262 - Sen. Albritton
HB 421 - Rep. Roach
(Laid on the Table)

 Proceedings Related to Children - This bill revises several provisions of chapter 39 to expedite permanency. The bill changes noticing requirements to parents regarding their responsibility to comply with case plans, it limits the number of continuances available, it expedites services referrals and it increases reporting requirements. One of the key changes of the bill is the requirement that a parent notify the court of barriers to compliance with case plans - an amendment was filed which removes the requirement that a dependency hearing be held every 60 days after hitting the one-year mark without reaching permanency.
   SB 1650 - Sen. Albritton
(Laid on the Table)
HB 7099 - Children, Families & Seniors

Child Welfare - This bill comes from recommendations of DCF staff as part of the Paths Forward Initiative to mitigate the loss of the IV-E waiver and to prepare for the implementation of the Families First Act. This bill better positions the state during this transition period and reduces the funding gap resulting from the loss of the IV-E waiver from $90 million to $24 million.
   SB 1432 - Sen. Baxley
(Laid on the Table)
HB 1209 - Rep. Buchanon
Caregivers for Children in Out-of-Home Care - This bill creates a bill of rights for foster parents and requires the Department of Children and Families to provide for mediation with foster parents and adopt rules to implement the bill of rights. Additionally, the bill provides a procedure for caregivers when the caregiver believes the goals are not being met and such failure is harmful to the child or is inhibiting the caregivers's ability to meet the child's needs.
Early Learning
      SB 1456 - Sen. Perry
(Laid on the Table)
HB 1027 - Rep. Aloupis

Office of Early Learning - This bill requires the Office of Early Learning to establish both formal and informal pathways for early learning teachers in the school readiness program to ensure access to specialized professional development.
K-12 Education
            SB 1480 - Sen. Stargel
(Laid on the Table)
HB 807 - Rep. Aloupis

Civics Education - This bill requires all instructional materials for school civics education courses be reviewed by the Joint Center for Citizenship and approved by the Commissioner of Education. It also provides that the hours a student devotes to certain approved programs such as YMCA Youth and Government, American Legion Boys/Girls State and others, shall count towards the service work requirement for the Bright Futures Scholarship Program.
Juvenile Justice
            HB 7125 - Rep. Renner

Public Safety - This omnibus public safety overhaul bill contains many provisions that reform the criminal justice system. Of note, in juvenile justice, the bill makes previously mandatory drivers license suspensions for juveniles up to the discretion of prosecutors, it modifies the youthful offender provisions to make eligibility based on age at the time of the offense rather than at the time of sentencing, and it changes required direct filings to the adult system to also be discretionary. This bill encompasses the substance of many individual bills, a Senate companion has not been filed at this point, however there are many public safety bills moving through the process that can become vehicles.
Health & Safety
            SB 354 - Sen. Montford
(Laid on the Table)
HB 213 - Rep. Massullo

Immunization Registry - The bill revises provisions relating to the Immunization Registry by requiring health care practitioners to report vaccination data to the immunization registry for children birth to 18 unless a guardian refused to have the child included in the registry by meeting certain requirements. The Senate adopted an amendment requiring that consent to treatment forms contain a notice stating that parents/guardians may refuse to have their child included in the registry.
            SB 76 - Sen. Simpson
(Laid on the Table)
HB 107 - Rep. Toledo

Wireless Communications While Driving - This bills makes texting while driving a primary offense punishable as a moving violation and also bans the use of a handheld wireless communications device in school zones or work zones when workers are present.
            SB 7030 - Education Committee

Implementation of Legislative Recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Commission - Builds upon the school safety and security foundation established in SB 7026 (2018) and strengthens accountability and compliance oversight authority. This bill contains provisions which modify the guardian program, increase mental health funding and provide greater accountability for school safety.
This week was also the first week of National Foster Care Month. Governor Ron DeSantis issued a proclamation designating May as a time to celebrate foster parents for answering the call to love and care for our most vulnerable children and raise awareness for the need for additional Foster families in Florida. There are nearly 24,000 children who have been removed from their homes in Florida because they cannot safely remain with their parents. Foster parents, therapeutic foster parents, relative and non-relative caregivers provide safe and loving homes for these children and give them a strong foundation from which to build a happy and successful life. For more information about becoming a foster parent or learning more about how you can help, click here .
For more information, please contact:
Donovan Lee-Sin, Public Policy & Community Engagement Officer at
donovan@thechildrenstrust.org or 305.571.5700 ext. 316.