House Passes Legislation to Promote Adoptions
By Rep. Steve Crisafulli // March 15, 2015
Rep. Steve Crisafulli Legislative Update Report
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – This week, the House passed HB 7013, which will make the adoption process more efficient and effective and help find forever homes for our most vulnerable children.
Specifically, the bill creates an adoption incentive program through the Department of Children and Families to award community based care agencies (CBCs) for achieving adoption performance standards, reinstates an employee benefit for state employees who adopt children in the child welfare system, and provides for annual adoption recognition awards for people and organizations selected by the Governor.
In addition, this bill strengthens educational stability and increases educational options for foster children, requires CBCs to make contact by phone with adoptive families one year post-adoption to offer post-adoption services, and requires private adoption agencies to comply with federal standards for international adoptions.
Children who are adopted out of the child welfare system, as opposed to staying in long term foster care, have significantly better outcomes in life.
I believe Florida’s children deserve forever homes that maximize healthy development and provide safety.
I was proud to support this piece of legislation, which advances the permanency, stability, and well-being of children in our child welfare system.
House Bil 7035 – Presidential Preference Primary
The House also passed HB 7035 to set the date of the presidential preference primary on March 15, 2016.
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.
Holding the presidential primary on March 15 will set our election at the earliest time that complies with both parties’ rules, maximizes the impact of Florida voters, and ensures no penalties will be assessed on either parties’ delegates.
Florida is now the third largest state in the Union, so our voters should play an important and meaningful role in selecting the presidential nominees of both parties. Our vote this week will ensure the voice of Florida voters will play a decisive role in next year’s presidential primary process.
Amendment 1 Implementation Moves Forward
Amendment 1 passed with 75 percent of the vote in November 2014. The amendment requires that 33 percent of documentary stamp taxes collected be distributed to the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF).
The amendment prohibits funds from the LATF from being used for other than the specified purposes and prohibits the comingling of the LATF with the General Revenue Fund.
The amendment will take effect on July 1, 2015.
This session, the Legislature must implement the amendment through legislation.
Representative Jim Boyd has sponsored House Bill 1291, which creates a process that allows the money spent on Amendment 1 issues to be easily seen and transparently tracked, so the public can hold the Legislature accountable.
The bill was passed unanimously by the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee this week.
The Legislature has been spending at near Amendment 1 levels in recent years.
As our economy continues to improve, I believe environmental spending should increase even more, and this implementing legislation will build a solid framework to facilitate this.
Local Pension Reform Advances
This week, the House Government Operations Subcommittee passed House Bill 341 to reform retirement plans for our city firefighters and police officers.
The bill proposes reasonable changes to city firefighter and police officer pension plans to help ensure the plans are stable and well-funded for the future.
By reforming these plans now, I believe we are taking the steps necessary to keep the retirement plans sustainable for our brave public servants and their families.
By doing so, we are protecting the future of our police officers and firefighters who work hard to protect us from harm every day.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. My door is always open. For regular updates on House District 51, be sure to follow me on Facebook (Steve Crisafulli) and Twitter (@SteveCrisafulli).