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Issue 8   |  April  24, 2017 

Budget: Sooner or Later?
Senate Budget Chair Jack Latvala speaks in the Senate Chamber.

On Monday, Senate budget chief Jack Latvala said budget negotiations might not be finished until July 1, when the state's new budget year begins.  By week's end, both he and his House counterpart, Representative Carlos Trujillo, were reportedly sounding more hopeful about completing their work by May 5, the scheduled end of the regular Session. But if budget negotiators don't begin meeting by this weekend, it will be virtually impossible to get the budget done on time.
Committee on Early Grade Success
Rep. Erin Grall presents her bill to the House Education Committee.

Legislation that will let parents, teachers and policy makers know whether the state's $1 billon investment in early learning is yielding expected results is finally on the move.  The bill, HB 1229 Committee for Early Grade Success (Grall, R-Vero Beach), is heading to the House floor after passing the Education Committee on Thursday. Its Senate companion SB 806 has been incorporated into the Senate's education train .
Cash Assistance: Penalties to Increase?
Rep. Eagle presents his Public Assistance bill in committee.

Floridians who receive temporary cash assistance and food stamps could face harsh penalties if they are unwilling - or even unable - to comply with work requirements.  Under CS/CS/HB 23 , which passed the House on Friday, monetary assistance and food benefits would also be reduced or eliminated for their children. Read more .
Financial Literacy for High School Students
Rep. Ahern in committee.

Legislation requiring students entering high school in 2017-18 to receive a half course credit in financial literacy,  HB 955 (Ahern, R-Seminole), now heads to the Senate, where its companion bill, CS/SB 392 is scheduled to be heard by the full Senate on Tuesday. Read more .
Access to Health Care
Rep. Cary Pigman on the House Floor.

The House Health & Human Services Committee narrowly agreed on a 10-8 vote to contentious legislation CS/HB 7011 some say expands access to care and lowers health costs. It allows advanced nurses who meet the requirements to practice independently, without the supervision of a physician, and regulates telehealth for in-state and out-of-state professionals. The bill also creates a tax credit for health insurers and health maintenance organizations that cover services provided by telehealth. Bill sponsor Cary Pigman said it was his compromise instead of "parity" or equal payments for telehealth and in-person appointments. Read more .
Bills to Watch

Week of April 24-28, 2017

CS/CS/HB 61   Emergency Services for an Unintentional Drug Overdose (Lee, Jr. L, D-Ft. Pierce): Requires hospital emergency department to develop best practices policy to promote prevention of unintentional drug overdoses; authorizes policy to include certain processes, guidelines, and protocols.
CS/CS/HB 139  Local Tax Referenda (Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill): Requires local government discretionary sales surtax referenda to be held on the date of a primary or general election and requires a specified percentage of votes for passage.
CS/HB 697  Federal Immigration Enforcement (Metz, R-Groveland): Designates act "Rule of Law Adherence Act"; prohibits sanctuary policies; requires state and local governmental agencies to comply with and support enforcement of federal immigration law; requires repeal of existing sanctuary policies.
CS/CS/SB 852  Human Trafficking (Garcia, R-Hialeah): Requires the Department of Children and Families or a sheriff's office to conduct a multidisciplinary staffing on child victims of commercial sexual exploitation to determine the child's service and placement needs; defining the term "commercial sexual exploitation"; adding human trafficking to the list of crimes requiring pretrial detention of the defendant.
CS/SB 1588  Military and Veteran Support (Latvala, J, R-Clearwater): Requires the Department of Veterans' Affairs to create a website to streamline the procedure for businesses applying for certification as a veteran business enterprise.
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Questions or Comments?
Contact Ted Granger, United Way of Florida, or Jess Scher, United Way of Miami-Dade.