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Issue 2   |  January 24, 2020

Top News: Behavioral Health Takes a Lead Role in 2nd Week of 2020 Legislative Session
Representative Zika (R-Pasco) presenting HB 687 - Services for Veterans and Their Families

The 2nd week of the 2020 Legislative Session centered around a diverse list of issues ranging from a debate over local governments having the authority to regulate short-term rentals, to the need to place panic alarms in schools to increase school safety.  In line with the priorities of Governor DeSantis and the First Lady, many bills that were heard in the House and Senate centered on substance use prevention, mental health promotion and overall strategies to increase access to behavioral health services.  Representative Zika (R-Pasco) articulated the need to expand the capacity of 2-1-1 to include Veteran peer support for callers who are experiencing a crisis to the Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee.  Also with regard to substance use prevention, Naloxone in Schools by Senator Pizzo (D-Miami) and Tobacco and Nicotine Products by Senator Simmons (R-Seminole/Volusia ) were passed favorably in the Health Quality Subcommittee.  The bills, if ultimately passed by both houses, would allow for naloxone to be on school campuses in case of an overdose and would raise the purchase age of tobacco products including electronic cigarettes to the age of 21. This trend indicates legislators are committed to increasing awareness and implementing a holistic array of solutions to address the substance use and mental health issues that have been on the rise in Florida.
Priority United Way Bills Heard this Week

Week of January 21-24, 2020

CS/HB 687 Services for Veterans and Their Families   (Zika; R-Pasco) - Allows the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to create the Florida Veteran's Care Coordination Program to provide statewide, dedicated behavioral healthcare referral services to veterans. Should DCF establish the program, the bill provides that DCF may contract with the managing entities, who may then enter into agreements with Florida 2-1-1 Network participants in providing program services.   Passed by the Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on January 21.
CS/SB 372 Postsecondary Education for Certain Military Personnel  (Lee; R-Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk) - Requires creation of a uniform system to enable service members and veterans of the United States Armed Forces to earn academic college credit at public postsecondary educational institutions for college-level training, education, and experience acquired in the military. The bill delineates the minimum required procedures for evaluating military credentials and experience and awarding academic college credit based on such credentials and experience. Passed by the Appropriations Committee on January 23.
CS/SB 810 Tobacco and Nicotine Products (Jenne; D-Broward) - Revising the age limits for permits relating to cigarettes; revising age and time restrictions relating to the prohibition of smoking and vaping near school property; revising prohibitions on the sale of tobacco products from vending machines; requiring that the age of persons purchasing tobacco products be verified under certain circumstances, etc. Passed by the Health Quality Subcommittee on January 21.
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