Crisafulli Reports On Recent Florida House Activities

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DISTRICT 51 LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FOR APRIL 27, 2013

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TALLAHASSE, FLORIDA – We had a full schedule of floor action and budget conference negotiations this week.

We passed many good bills on the House floor, and we are working hard to reconcile the remaining differences between the House and Senate budget proposals ahead of the end of the 2013 Legislative Session next week.

MAJOR LEGISLATION PASSED THIS WEEK

• HB 7169 – Florida Health Choices Plus

On Friday, the House passed our alternative to Medicaid expansion – the Florida Health Choice Plus Program. This program allows eligible adults living in poverty, including parents and certain adults with disabilities, the ability to receive access to a range of health care coverage options. Between Florida Health Choices Plus and the federal health care exchange, over 525,000 Floridians will be able to receive health care coverage.

The Florida Health Choices Plus program is a responsible, free market solution that rejects the federal government’s “all or nothing” approach of Medicaid expansion. Florida Health Choices Plus will strengthen the safety net by providing quality health care for Floridians in need without relying on federal dollars.

• CS/SB 2 & CS/SB 4 – Ethics

CS/SB 2 and CS/SB 4 were also passed this week and have been sent to the Governor for his signature. These bills institute some of the most important ethics reforms in our state in many years. This legislation will raise the standards public officials are held to in a number of ways. The bills will allow for more transparency of candidates by placing financial disclosures online, give the Commission on Ethics more authority to collect fines, require state officers to abstain from voting on matters that benefit them directly, mandate ethics training for constitutional officers, place greater restrictions on public employment while in office, prohibit officials from accepting gifts from political committees, and prevent legislators from lobbying for 2 years after leaving office.

• CS/CS/CS/HB 569 – Campaign Finance

CS/CS/CS/HB 569 was also passed through the House this week and sent to the Governor his his approval. This bill will reform Florida’s campaign finance laws, making the system more transparent and accountable. The bill eliminates Committee of Continuous Existence, increases the frequency of campaign finance reporting, prohibits candidates from “double-dipping” if they switch races, and modifies the amount an individual can contribute to a candidate per election to: $3,000 for statewide and Supreme Court candidates and $1,000 for other candidates.

• HB 7083 – Death Penalty

HB 7083 makes important reforms to the death penalty process in our state. HB 7083 still respects the rights of a defendant to make claims of innocence and bring new evidence forward, but the bill limits frivolous post-conviction appeals, restoring justice to victims and the victims’ families.

• HB 1325 – Victims of Human Trafficking

HB 1325 ensures human trafficking victims are able to get on with their lives by allowing judges to expunge convictions for offenses committed while a person was a victim of human trafficking.

• CS/SB 354 – Ad Valorem Tax Exemptions

CS/SB 354 was passed to provide a tax exemptions for improvements to military base housing, which will help improve the quality of life for our brave servicemen and women and their families.

• SB 1832

In the House Appropriations Committee this week, I sponsored an amendment to SB 1832 that deleted a proposed tax increase on businesses in Florida and that will also lower vehicle registration fees on a graduated basis over the next five years. This amendment received unanimous, bipartisan support. I sponsored this amendment because I don’t want to raise taxes on job creators; I want to strengthen our economy and provide relief to Florida’s hardworking families.

Brevard Schools Receive Top Marks from US News and World Report

U.S. News and World Report released their list of the Top 100 high schools in the nation earlier in the week. Brevard county had two schools listed in the Top 100 in the country – West Shore Jr./Sr. in Melbourne (#48) and Edgewood Jr./Sr. in Merritt Island (#93).

The report also listed the Top 100 schools in Florida, and Brevard was recognized four times. West Shore Jr./Sr. High School (#6), Edgewood Jr./Sr. High School (#10), Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School (#25), and Bayside High School (#85).

We are all proud of the outstanding schools we have here in Brevard County, and I congratulate each of these schools for receiving such high honors.

CLICK HERE to view the U.S. News and World Report story here.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns at 321-449-5111 or Steve.Crisafulli@MyFloridaHouse.gov


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