SPAC Week 3

Update from Tallahassee: Third Week of 2022 Legislative Session Survives the Cold

Freezing temperatures gripped most of Florida as the state Legislature finished the third week of the 2022 Regular Legislative Session.  
 
This past week, House Speaker Chris Sprowls joined Governor DeSantis and others at Riversink Elementary School in Wakulla County to highlight the New Worlds Reading Initiative. More than 81,000 students who are reading below grade level are enrolled in the program, and they receive one free, hard-copy book per month to help improve their reading skills. Speaker Sprowls mentioned his goal of improving literacy in his November 2020 Organization Session speech, and House Bill 3, which created the program, passed during the 2021 Regular Legislative Session. The governor’s office cited that research shows approximately 86% of students who struggle to read in grade 3 continue to struggle with literacy in grade 10. Nearly $200 million is dedicated to this initiative, and the program began distributing books to enrolled students in December 2021. The Junior Leagues of Florida supported HB3 in the 2021 Session. For more information on the reading program or to find eligibility, click here.
 
To highlight human trafficking prevention month, Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez hosted a roundtable discussion to discuss strategies to prevent human trafficking with Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Shevaun Harris, Citrus Health Network President and CEO Mario Jardon, and Kristi House CEO Amanda Altman. Secretary Harris noted, “The Department continues to work tirelessly to end the trafficking and provide a robust array of services to survivors so they can reclaim their lives.” In fiscal year 2020-2021, DCF reported receiving 2,289 allegations of human trafficking throughout the state of Florida, affecting 1,750 children. About 40 percent of victims in Miami-Dade County are minors, with ages ranging between 12-14 years old for girls, and 11-13 years old for boys. Some estimates project that a trafficker can make $150,000-$200,000 per child per year and average 4-6 children.

 

Bills to Watch

CS/SB 756: Public Records/Human Trafficking Victims by Sen. DiazHB 1439 - Prostitution, Lewdness, Human Trafficking, and Public Lodging & HB 1441 - Pub. Rec./Human Trafficking Victim Expunction by Rep. Toledo
The Senate version of the bill passed its second of three committees unanimously during the third week of Session. HB1439 also passed the Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee in week three. The bill is on the agenda to be heard in the House Commerce Committee on 02/01/22 at 12:30 PM. The Senate bill expands the public records exemption authorizing human trafficking victims to expunge a criminal history record related to offenses listed under the habitual violent felony offender designation if the victim was not found guilty of, or did not pled guilty or nolo contender to, such an offense. The bill also creates a new exemption from public records disclosure under s. 119.07(1), F.S., and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution for any petition filed by a human trafficking victim to expunge a criminal history record and all pleadings and documents related to the petition. The bill makes findings that the expansion of the exemption and the new exemption from public records disclosure are each a public necessity as required by the State Constitution. Two-thirds vote of both the House and the Senate is required for final passage.

SB 1770: Donor Human Milk Bank Services by Sen. Book / HB 1333 - Donor Human Milk Bank Services by McFarland
SB1770 passed its first committee of reference during week three. This bill will authorize the state agency AHCA to pay for donor human milk bank services as optional Medicaid service when a licensed physician or nurse practitioner has issued an order for an infant who is medically or physically unable to receive maternal breast milk or breastfeed or whose mother is medically or physically unable to produce maternal breast milk or breastfeed.

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