November 25, 2015
The 2016 Florida Legislative Session begins January 12, 2016, but pre-session legislative committee meetings have been occurring since September 2015. The FCCB has released the Legislative Bill Report on its website. Bills of particular interest that have already seen committee movement include:
SB 248 (Garcia)/HB 89 (Diaz, J.)
. Under current law, immigrant children are forced to wait five years before becoming eligible for Florida KidCare, our state's health insurance program for children from low-income families. This measure establishes immediate eligibility for qualified, lawfully-residing immigrant children. Undocumented immigrants are excluded from the program. SB 248 has passed two of its three committees of reference, Health Policy (7-0) and Appropriations Subcommittee on Health & Human Services (8-0). HB 89 waits to be heard by its first committee of reference.
SB 672 (Gaetz, D.)/HB 7011 (Education Appropriations Subcommittee)
. These bills expand the Personal Learning Account Program to include eligibility for students with autism spectrum disorder and muscular dystrophy. The program was created by lawmakers during the 2014 session to allow students with disabilities the option to apply for scholarship funds to cover a wide range of education-related costs such as tuition and fees at private schools, instructional materials or tutoring services. SB 672 passed Education Pre-K-12 (10-1) and is on the agenda for its final committee of reference, Appropriations, 12/02/15, 10:00 am. HB 7011 has been referred to the Education Committee.
SB 118 (Hutson)/HB 9 (Trujillo):
. This proposal creates a state level felony and increases the penalty for the illegal reentry of undocumented persons. The FCCB advocates for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level and keeping local policing separate from immigration enforcement as a means to promote family unity and human dignity. Michael Sheedy, FCCB executive director, sent a
to Chairman Carlos Trujillo, the bill's sponsor, expressing FCCB's concerns. HB 9 passed the Civil Justice Subcommittee (9-4). Its Senate companion, SB 118, has yet to be heard in committee.