March 8, 2016 
Dear Friends,
The eighth week of the 2016 Session has concluded. As House Committees and Subcommittees have finished meeting, we now spend our time on the House floor debating bills and voting on their final passage. While on the floor, we passed legislation to establish a dedicated funding source for Everglades restoration, help ensure that Florida remains the most veteran friendly state in America and we have also continued the budget conference committee process, which is necessary to finalize a responsible balanced budget for the next Fiscal Year.
The 2016 Session is in its final week. Whether in Tallahassee or back home, my team and I are proud to fight for District 120 year round. Please continue to reach out  with your ideas and concerns. We welcome your input to best represent our district.

Holly Raschein
State Representative, District 120
2016 Session Update
Supporting Agritourism
I'm dedicated to preserving our unique and diverse South Florida economy. To that end, I'm proud to have co-sponsored House Bill 59 - Agritourism. This bill makes statutory changes to support the fledgling agritourim sector in our economy.
Just what is agritourism? An "agritourism activity" is agricultural related activity consistent with a working farm, ranch or forest area that allows the general public to view or enjoy activities, including farming, ranching, historical, cultural, or harvest-your-own activities and attractions. Agritourism provides an increase and diversity in income for farmers supporting these activities. We have many agritourism activities in the Redland area of South Miami-Dade County, I hope you will check them out!
I believe agritourism is just a great idea all around. I'm proud that my colleagues in the Florida Legislature thinks so too. Everyone in the Florida House and Senate unanimously voted YES! 
Protecting our Fisheries
HB 1227 - Crustaceans modifies the administrative penalties for violations involving untagged lobster traps and untagged stone crab traps so that penalties for these similar violations are consistent across both fisheries. It also stiffens penalties for harvesting undersized lobster, targeting those individuals who egregiously disregard FWC rules. 
I am committed to protecting our fisheries, and am proud of the collaborative effort between our State Attorney, Catherine Vogel's office, the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen's Association and law enforcement with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who worked very closely with me on this bill.  It has passed the Senate, and we are poised to pass it in the House and send it to the Governor. 
Veteran Employment Bills
The House has passed several bills so far this Session that provide support for our veterans who choose to call Florida home. There are 1.6 million veterans who live in our state, and I believe we should do everything we can to help them.  I've highlighted two of these great bills below. 
House Bill 7105 , in my view, will help qualified veterans find work as civilians. Veterans have often been trained by our military in hundreds of occupations that are the same or similar to civilian occupations. However, receiving a license or certification in many of those occupations can require the veteran to retake and complete training and education standards, even though they already acquired highly relevant skills and experience while in the military. This bill would require the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the Department of Health, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to extend credit toward certain professional licenses for substantially similar military training, service, or education across a broad range of professions and occupational fields. The bill also identifies gaps and overlaps between licensure and military requirements and assists veterans who have been previously denied a license to become eligible.
HB 1219  passed unanimously by the House to help veterans find employment within the State of Florida. The bill requires state agencies to write a recruitment plan to hire veterans and ensure full use of veterans in the agency's workforce. In addition, the bill requires each veterans' recruitment plan to apply to the same veterans and veterans' family members that are included in the Florida law governing veterans' preference in appointment and retention. I am proud to support this great bill that will, in my view, not only help veterans find employment, but go a step further in making Florida the most veteran friendly state in America.
Our veterans have made many sacrifices to protect our freedoms, and I believe these bills are another important step in showing our appreciation and making Florida the most veteran friendly state in America.  
Mental Health Services in the Criminal Justice System
The House passed House Bill 439 in an effort to solve the pervasive problem of individuals with mental health issues overwhelming the criminal justice system. To address this issue, the bill authorizes each county to establish a treatment-based mental health court. The court would have the authority to order adult offenders with mental illness to participate in pretrial intervention and post-adjudicatory programs. The court would also be able to admit juvenile offenders with mental illness into delinquency pretrial mental health court programs.
 It is estimated that approximately 22,000 people in Florida's jail and prison systems suffer from serious mental illness. The majority of these individuals are charged with minor misdemeanors and low-level felony offenses that are often a direct result of their untreated mental health condition. Additionally, more than 70 percent of the juveniles referred to Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice have at least one mental health disorder.

I believe that by addressing the issues of mental health in this manner, we can effectively prevent these individuals from falling into a downward spiral of criminal recidivism and instead put them on a path to mental health treatment.

Fighting to Combat Human Trafficking and Aid Victims
The House passed House Bill 545, which is another step in Florida's fight against human trafficking. In recent years, the Florida Legislature has passed sweeping laws to combat this problem. In 2014, the Legislature passed laws to remove offenses that penalize minors for participating in prostitution, recognizing that these children are victims, not criminals. Despite these efforts, 39 minors were arrested for prostitution in the past year.
The bill officially prohibits all persons under the age of 18 from being prosecuted for prostitution. I firmly believe that minors cannot consent to prostitution and should be viewed as victims of human trafficking, not criminals. Under the bill, these minors forced into prostitution would be eligible for assistance from the Department of Children and Families as sexually exploited children.
The bill also cracks down on massage parlors that operate as brothels, adds human trafficking as a qualifying felony for first degree murder in the commission of a felony, increases penalties for knowingly renting space to be used for prostitution, and increases penalties for branding victims of human trafficking.
          Welcome to the Florida House!
House Page, Julie Powers
Julie, a student at Key Largo School, did a fantastic job as my page last week. On the 52nd day of Session Julie had the honor to open the day with the pledge of allegiance. She is a remarkable young lady!   
In This Issue
Contact Us
District Offices:

(305) 453-1202 phone

(305) 453-1204 fax

99198 Overseas Highway, Suite 10

Key Largo, FL 33037




(305) 242-2485 phone

43 North Krome Avenue, Suite 202

Homestead, FL 33030


Capitol Office:

(850) 717-5120 phone

319 The Capitol

402 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee, Fl 32399

Our Staff

Erin Muir
Legislative Assistant


Kate DeLoach

District Aide


Jesika Davis

District Aide

Join me as we distribute fresh nutritious food to those that need it the most.
         Saturday, April 16, 2016
          10:00am until 1:00pm
     Farm Share Distribution Center
           14125 SW 30th Street
           Homestead, FL 33033
For more information contact:
Jesika Davis (305) 242- 2485 or
Representative Holly Raschein | | | 99198 Overseas Hwy, Suite 10
Key Largo, FL 33037