Rep. Steve Crisafulli 2015 Legislative Update Report

By  //  March 9, 2015

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2015 Legislative Session Begins

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TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – The 2015 Legislative Session began Tuesday in Tallahassee.

SEAL-OF-FLORIDA-2000As we celebrated the beginning of session, we also commemorated the 170th anniversary of Florida’s statehood.

Our remarkable state has come a long way since 1845, with our agriculture industry that helps feed with world, with the world’s busiest space port located in Cape Canaveral, and with the third largest population in the country.

This year’s joint legislative Work Plan agenda is bold and ambitious and will pave a stronger path for Florida’s future.

I look forward to a successful and productive Legislative Session.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me at info@stevecrisafulli.com to share your thoughts or questions about our work in Tallahassee.

House Passes Comprehensive Water Policy Legislation

This week, the Florida House passed its first bill of the 2015 Session, House Bill 7003 with large bipartisan support.

This bill develops a long-term, comprehensive approach to address Florida’s current and future water challenges.

ABOVE VIDEO: Rep. Steve Crisafulli, the new House Speaker, is from Merritt Island, a seventh-generation Floridian and a member of a prominent citrus family. A cousin, the late Doyle E. Carlton, served as governor from 1929 to 1933, while one of Crisafulli’s grandfathers, Vassar B. Carlton, was chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court. Crisafulli and his wife, Kristen, have two daughters.

Specifically, the bill builds upon the existing foundation of science-based assessments including total maximum daily loads, basin management action plans, water supply and resource development plans, minimum flows and levels, and recovery or prevention strategies to protect and restore priority springs and other waterbodies.

The bill will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.

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I was proud to support this important piece of legislation, which takes a thoughtful, long-term approach to solving the water challenges across our state.

Water is a precious natural resource, and our water policy legislation will ensure that Florida has an abundant, clean water supply to meet the needs of future generations and our natural systems.

Florida ABLE Program

Providing people with unique abilities with a pathway to economic independence is a major component of the Florida House and Senate’s Work Plan 2015 joint agenda.

This week, the House Children, Families, and Seniors Subcommittee passed a package of three bills, including House Bills 935, 937, and 939, which will implement the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014.

Providing people with unique abilities with a pathway to economic independence is a major component of the Florida House and Senate's Work Plan 2015 joint agenda. This week, the House Children, Families, and Seniors Subcommittee passed a package of three bills, including House Bills 935, 937, and 939, which will implement the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. (Steve Crisafulli Facebook image)

Providing people with unique abilities with a pathway to economic independence is a major component of the Florida House and Senate’s Work Plan 2015 joint agenda. This week, the House Children, Families, and Seniors Subcommittee passed a package of three bills, including House Bills 935, 937, and 939, which will implement the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. (Steve Crisafulli Facebook image)

Individuals living with a disability face unique financial challenges.

Disabilities may be life-long and may require significant expenditures for services and support over the lifespan of an individual.

Disabilities create barriers to finding and holding employment, which affects income and assets.

The Florida ABLE program created by these bills will assist individuals with disabilities and their families to save funds needed for future services without losing their eligibility for state and federal benefits.

House Bill 935 requires the Florida Prepaid College Board to establish a not-for-profit direct-support organization known as “Florida ABLE, Inc.,” which will create Florida’s ABLE program.

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Similar to the tax-advantaged college savings plans that allow families to responsibly save for their children’s education, the ABLE program will establish a tax-exempt investment plan for beneficiaries, who may use the funds to pay for qualified disability expenses.

House Bill 937 will hold money in individuals’ accounts and funds needed to run the program.

Assets in the trust fund may only be used only to carry out the Florida ABLE program.

House Bill 939 creates a public records exemption for ABLE program participants’ personal financial and health information to prevent financial harm and maintain privacy.

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