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Issue 10   |  March 20, 2020

Top News: Sine Die, 2020 Legislative Session Adjourns
Flanked by House Speaker Jose Oliva and Senate President Bill Galvano, Gov. Ron DeSantis updates the state's coronavirus response. (WCTV via CNN)

On day 66 of the 2020 Legislative Session, the Florida Legislature convened for less than two hours Thursday to unanimously adopt a record $93.2 billion fiscal year 2021 budget. 
The budget (HB 5001), which takes effect July 1, was approved in a 10 4-0 vote by the House and a 32-0 vote by the Senate.  Prior to entering the chamber, le gislators were screened for symptoms of COVID-19.  The budget earmarks $300 million for reserves to address the COVID-19 outbreak. The budget also includes $25.5 million requested by Governor Ron DeSantis from this year's budget and $27.3 million in federal assistance to combat the coronavirus.

Lawmakers stated that it is likely they will need to call a special session and reconvene in the coming months to address the economic impacts of COVID-19 and possibly make changes to the budget.
Below is the breakdown of the budget highlights that are important to the Florida United Way network:
Financial Stability:
  • HB 2115United Way of Florida - Income Tax Consulting & Preparation Assistance - $300,000
  • The Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust (Fully Funded) - $370 million
  • Teacher Pay $400 million for base teacher pay increases and $100 million for veteran teachers and other school workers
  • Base Student Allocation (BSA) -  An additional $340 million increases the BSA by $40 per student
  • Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) $17.7 billion, a 3.64% increase from FY 19-20
  • School Mental Health Funding - Additional $23 million for a total of $100 million
  • Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) $413.8 million, an increase from $402.3 million in 2019-2020
  • Medicaid $29.7 billion for Medicaid to serve 3.8 million adults and more than 600,000 children in KidCare.
  • Caretakers - $75 million in increased funding for higher salaries at nursing homes and long-term care providers 
  • State Opioid Response Grant - $81 million
  • Mental Health Services Through Telehealth - $4 million

Priority United Way Bills That Passed the 2020 Legislature*

  • 3,578 Bills and PCBs filed
  • 2,596 Amendments filed
  • 4,223 Votes taken
  • 40 Floor Sessions
  • 210 Bills passed both chambers

CS/HB 81: Healthcare for Children (Andrade; R-Escambia, Santa Rosa)  - Revising applicable provisions for the reimbursement of school-based services by the Agency for Health Care Administration to certain school districts; deleting a requirement specifying the use of certified state and local education funds for school-based services; revising a requirement for the agency's reimbursement of school-based services to certain charter and private schools; specifying the federal agency that may waive certain school-based provider qualifications, etc.   Enrolled.

CS/HB 171: Post-Secondary Education for Certain Military Personnel (Hattersley and Ponder) - Requiring the Board of Governors and the State Board of Education, in consultation with the Department of Veterans' Affairs, to create a process for the uniform award of postsecondary credit or career education clock hours to certain servicemembers and veterans of the United States Armed Forces; requiring certain postsecondary institutions to award uniform postsecondary credit or career education clock hours for specified courses taken and occupations held by individuals during their service in the military, etc.  Enrolled.

CS/CS/CS/HB 1339: Community Development and Housing ( Commerce Committee and Ways & Means Committee and Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee and Yarborough) - Authorizing a board of county commissioners to approve development of affordable housing on any parcel zoned for residential, commercial, or industrial use; amending the Florida Interlocal Cooperation Act of 1969 to authorize private entities to enter into specified loan agreements; revising the information required to be annually submitted by municipal budget officers to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research; renaming the Community Workforce Housing Innovation Pilot Program as the Community Workforce Housing Loan Program to provide workforce housing for persons affected by the high cost of housing, etc.  Enrolled.
CS/SB 7012: Substance Abuse and Mental Health (Appropriations and Children, Families, and Elder Affairs) - Providing additional duties for the Statewide Office for Suicide Prevention; requiring the Department of Transportation to work with the office in developing a plan relating to evidence-based suicide deterrents in certain locations; requiring that certain information be provided to the guardian or representative of a minor patient released from involuntary examination; requiring the maintenance of psychotropic medications to specified defendants under certain circumstances, etc.  Enrolled.

* Governor signature pending

Click for Updates on all Florida United Way Priority Bills.
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Questions or Comments?
Contact Rick Owen, United Way of Florida or Heather Davidson, United Way of Broward County