Rep. Steve Crisafulli District 51 Legislative Update
By Steve Crisafulli // March 2, 2014
2014 Legislative Session Begins Next Week
The Legislature spent three weeks in February making our final preparations for the upcoming 2014 Legislative Session, which begins next week in Tallahassee.
The 60-day session runs from March 4 – May 2 and will see the Legislature address a full range of issues, including improving our economy, balancing the state’s budget, providing tax relief to families, expanding educational opportunities for students, passing a Florida GI Bill to show support for our veterans, protecting our children from dangerous sexual predators, reforming our pension system, and providing funding to address critical water quality and quantity issues across the state.
Our state faces many challenges, and I am optimistic we will have an extremely productive Legislative Session that addresses these challenges and improves the quality of life for our families.
Please remember my office is always open any time you would like to meet. As always, I appreciate hearing the issues you face so that I may better serve you in the district or in Tallahassee.
LEGISLATION TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN ADVANCES IN THE HOUSE
Earlier this month, the House Appropriations Committee voted in support of several bills to protect our children from sexually violent predators.
HB 7013 will require the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to notify victims and the Department of Corrections (DOC) of the release of all persons in the custody of DCF- not just those committed as sexually violent predators.
HB 7025 strengthens the registration requirements applicable to sexual predators and offenders to bring those requirements further in line with the federal Adam Walsh Act.
HB 7017 ensures that the probationary period of an offender in DCF’s custody pursuant to the Jimmy Ryce Act does not begin until the person is released from DCF’s custody.
HB 7019 closes a loophole by creating a process by which persons sentenced to a term of imprisonment in a jail can be referred to DCF for civil commitment.
HB 7027 increases the penalties for specified sexual battery and lewd or lascivious offenses against children, increases to 50 years the minimum mandatory sentence for dangerous sexual felony offenders, requires the court to impose a split sentence in which an offender convicted of specified sexual offenses is sentenced to 2 years of community supervision after serving his or her term of imprisonment, and creates a new sentencing multiplier for specified adult-on-minor sexual offenses.
HB 7021 raises standards and increases accountability in the DCF evaluation process for determining whether an offender meets criteria for commitment to the Sexually Violent Predator Program.
In the House K-12 Subcommittee, HB 7031 was passed to remove all references to the Common Core Standards in Florida law. These references were placed in law last year, when our state was going down a different path. We have changed course and our statutes are being amended to reflect this change.
This is being done to make it clear Florida’s standards and assessments are unique to our state and not to be confused with the standards of Common Core.To be clear – the Florida Legislature supports Florida educational standards for Florida students.
The Florida Legislative leadership was among the first to advocate for our state to withdraw immediately from PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers), a testing regime aligned with Common Core. The new assessment for our students will accurately reflect where our students stand according to the standards we have set.
We are proposing standards which are designed to equip Florida’s students to be college and career ready when they graduate from high school, and the new standards will reflect the educational needs of Florida’s students.
Another important concern is safeguarding student-specific data. Recently, the Education Appropriations Subcommittee passed CS/HB 195, relating to Education Data Privacy.
The bill proposes which information may or may not be collected and prohibits the disclosure of confidential and exempt education records and prevents disclosure of such records to federal government agencies unless required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), federal law, or a court order or subpoena.
For regular updates on House District 51, be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@SteveCrisafulli). Please do not hesitate to contact me at 321-449-5111 if you have any questions or concerns. My door is always open.