The Mello Minute

Bill of the Week:
HB 1231 – Domestic Violence

The Fight Against Violence

This week I had the honor of presenting HB 1231 to the House Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee. This is a great bill that’s Co-sponsored by Representative David Borrero. If you click on the image you will be able to watch the entire committee meeting. I present my bill at the 24:40 minute mark!

HB 1231 works to ensure that better funding and fiscal management occurs for our domestic violence centers and reestablishes a standardized batterers’ intervention program in our state.

Under this bill, certified domestic violence centers may carry up to 8 percent of their funding from one fiscal year to the next — whereas current law requires that all of the funds are reabsorbed by the Government. The ability to retain these funds makes it less likely that reckless end of the year spending occurs; thus, increasing the likelihood that funds are used wisely. This type of policy is nothing new, as the Legislature already has this method of funding allocation in place for child welfare community-based agencies.

The bill also makes needed updates to language that brings it to the 21st Century by updating service provision terminology and acknowledging the state’s commitment to addressing the needs of survivors and their dependents. For instance, the bill makes it a point to include that Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy be an available option for survivors, whereas previous language did not have such a specified method of mental health aid.

One of the most integral aspects of the bill is that it reestablishes DCF as the agency that certifies and monitors batterers’ intervention programs statewide. These programs serve as a coordinated response to hold perpetrators of domestic violence accountable, effectuate behavior change, and prevent future domestic violence. Domestic violence advocates, prosecutors, survivors, and BIP providers have raised significant concerns about these programs being localized as the lack of statewide certification and monitoring diminishes the quality of the programs. DCF being the central entity that certifies and monitors BIPs statewide would restore confidence that certified are working to prevent domestic violence.

When I presented the bill to the House Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee on March 8th , it passed unanimously 17-0.

Another Great Bill from Great Colleagues

Serena’s Bill

Here is another great piece of Legislation that is working to end abuse from two great colleagues of mine in the House!

Representatives Jenna Persons-Mulicka and Robin Bartleman have put forward a phenomenal bill. HB 1229, Serena’s Law, closes a current loophole in Florida Law by requiring that the names of persons against whom injunctions to protect minors have been issued show up in online court records so that this information may be captured in background checks. The bill is entitled Serena’s Law after a victim who discovered that their abuser was volunteering at a local youth organization.

In an effort to ensure that these individuals are not able to so freely be around children in our communities, this bill makes it so that it is required by Florida Statute for the county’s clerk of courts and/or the county recorders to include this information on their websites.

Thank you Representative Persons-Mulicka and Representative Bartleman for introducing such great legislation to ensure the safety of our children.

New Vaccine Information

· CVS has begun to have appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine here in Florida. Click here to access their site for scheduling an appointment.

· The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has made it’s way to Florida! 175,000 of their vaccine is currently being distributed throughout the state.

· Florida has launched a new way to help homebound seniors get vaccinated. Send a request to this email:

· The Governor plans to set the age required to get a vaccine 55 years-old or older this month. Eligibility will be lowered to 60+ by Monday, March 15th.

· It is anticipated that 3 million seniors will have been vaccinated in Florida by the end of the week!

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