Capitol Connection
The 2022 Florida Legislative Session officially began on Tuesday, January 11th. The next eight weeks will move quickly in Tallahassee, and we appreciate your interest in monitoring issues that may impact Florida’s children and families. The Florida Alliance of Children’s Councils & Trusts hopes that the content provided in this digest and the subsequent issues will help inform your advocacy efforts until session ends (sine die) on Friday, March 11th. 

Each week 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.

To conclude Week 1 of regular session, please find below a list of bills that we are currently monitoring. Moving forward, we will only include bills that were considered and/or acted upon during that week. 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:
Opening Day & State of the State Address
The 2022 60-day legislative session opened on Tuesday, January 11th. House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, and Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, spoke to both chambers followed by the State of the State address by Governor Ron DeSantis. 

Speaker Sprowls challenged his chamber asking “What are you willing to risk?” stating:

“This Session, in this House, we are going to be looking at the risk portfolio of our state. Some risks are concrete and specific, like the deficiencies in our state's cybersecurity infrastructure. Some risks are massive and omnipresent, like the array of problems created by the threat of hurricanes. Some risks are more existential, like what our shared values and beliefs are as Floridians.” 

Read the Speaker’s full opening remarks here.

President Simpson’s remarks focused on children stating:

 “ My grandchildren have also lit a fire of urgency in me to do all I can to provide them with a solid foundation for their futures.

To me, that’s the true measure of success. Not just taking care of today, but also focusing on tomorrow and the world we will leave to future generations. Last year, I talked a lot about sowing and reaping: The basic law of farming. I had high hopes we would pass laws and make investments that would endure beyond our years in Tallahassee.”  

The President also outlined a list of changes he would like to see to better support Florida’s child welfare system. 

Read the President’s full opening remarks here.

Governor Desantis stated that “Education represents a major pillar of Florida’s future. I’m happy to note that Florida is again ranked number three for K-12 achievement in the latest Education Week Quality Counts rankings. We have worked hard to keep schools open, increase teacher compensation, promote workforce education and protect the rights of parents.” 

Read the Governor’s full State of the State address here.

Legislative committees also met this week to continue taking up bills. On Tuesday, January 11, the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs passed SB 948 by Senator Lauren Book, D- Plantation, out of its first committee stop. This bill creates a statewide Office of Child Representation and renames an existing section of Florida Statute as the “Guardians Ad-Litem, Guardian Advocates, and Attorney for the Child”. On Wednesday, January 12, the House Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee passed HB 195 and 197 by Represntative David Smith, R- Winter Springs, out of its first committee stop. These bills must be passed together in order to take effect and require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to expunge nonjudicial arrest records of minors who successfully complete diversion program for specified felony offenses. Lastly, on Thursday, January 13, the House Early Learning & Elementary Education Subcommittee passed HB 235 by Representative Rene Plasencia, R- Titusville, out of its first committee stop. This bill prohibits school personnel from using mechanical restraint on students with disabilities.  

As always, we are excited to continue to work alongside our communities, stakeholders, and elected leaders to ensure effective policy is passed that best support our children and families. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out. 


The Florida Alliance of Children’s Councils & Trusts
Healthy Development
Early Learning
Juvenile Justice
Child Protection
K-12 Education
Children With Disabilities
Economic Self-Sufficiency
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