Five Days Left of Session – Voting for our Veterans

As the mother of a combat veteran — and as a citizen with the deepest appreciation for the sacrifices needed to keep our nation free — it is of great importance to me that we care for Florida’s veterans. I am proud to have co-sponsored these four great bills to ensure our heroes have the services and resources they need to better their lives here at home!



HB 231 – Services for Veterans and Their Families


This bill was put forward by Representative Ardian Zika. It authorizes the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to establish the Florida Veterans’ Care Coordination Program. This program would provide behavioral health care referral and coordination services for veterans and their families. This legislation also allows the DVA to work with non-profit organizations when serving veterans in this fashion. Data on the success of this program, as well as the success of the non-profits that would be associated with it, would be collected.


HB 231 passed both the House and the Senate. The House voted 117-0 in favor of its passage and the Senate voted 40-0. It is now off to the Governor!



HB 435 – Veterans Employment and Training


This bill, put forth by Representative Tyler Sirois, directs Florida Is For Veterans, Inc., to serve as state’s principal assistance organization under the United States Department of Defense’s SkillBridge program. SkillBridge will have businesses and associations collaborate in facilitating training, educational opportunities, apprenticeships, internships, fellowships, and employment for members transitioning out of the armed services.


When this bill came before the House it passed 118-0. It is now up to the Senate to hear this bill.


HB 7023 – Veterans Treatment Court Programs


Representative Cord Byrd is the Primary Sponsor of this bill. This legislation authorizes courts to create and administer veterans treatment court programs. The purpose of these programs is to address the underlying causes of a veteran’s involvement with the judicial system by using an evidence-based approach, multidisciplinary teams, and specialized dockets. Using non-adversarial means in our justice system for our veterans helps in discerning the root cause of their issues and the focus on treatment works to prevent any future problems.


This bill passed the House 117-0 and is now in the Senate.


HM 71 – Recognizing Veteran Suicide


This is a House Memorial recognizing the problem of veteran suicides across the Nation. It urges the United States Congress to take note of the issue and fully fund efforts by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs to prevent veteran suicides.


This Memorial was put forward by Representatives Matt Willhite and David Smith. It passed the House 118-0 and is now off to the Senate.



Working for Water Quality


Water is the lifeblood of Florida! Improving and maintaining south Florida’s infrastructure is vital to keeping our water safe to play in and clean to drink. We are working hard to advocate for the many needed projects in District 80 that will improve water quality in our communities and promote future economic development.


HB 3771 – LaBelle Water Transmission Line


·     This bill is seeking nearly $1.3 million to upgrade the water transmission line in LaBelle that will prevent leakage and encourage economic growth.


HB 3777 – Hendry County Port LaBelle Utility System Gravity Sewer Repairs


·     This appropriations bill is asking for $200,000 in non-recurring funds to repair LaBelle’s sewers and utilities.


HB 3779 – Hendry County Port LaBelle Utility System Water Treatment Plant Expansion


·     This bill is seeking $600,000 to assist in the expansion of LaBelle’s Water Treatment Plant.

HB 3781 – C-21 Bridge Canal Crossing – City of Clewiston


·     This $3.6M project maintains the only access to Lake Okeechobee in Hendry County for pedestrians, emergency vehicles, and law enforcement.


HB 3775 – Hendry County Connecting Airglades Airport & Clewiston Utilities


·     This legislation seeks $1 million of non-recurring funds to construct a force main between the Airglades Airport and the City of Clewiston’s existing wastewater treatment plant. This project is the last piece of a multi-year, multi-agency, multi-million dollar investment that will bring much needed job opportunities to Hendry County.





Bill Update



HB 491 – The Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board


This bill addresses the composition of the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board (FREAB). Currently, the FREAB’s composition does not adequately represent the public. This bill would adjust the makeup of the board in an effort to provide a more equitable distribution of industry representation. It does so by decreasing the number of board members who represent the appraisal management industry from two to one and increases the number of board members who represent the general public from two to three.


When this bill came before the House Floor it was replaced by the identical Senate Bill 346 and the House voted 119-0 in favor of its passage. It is now off to the Senate.




Local Happenings


·     North Collier Regional Park is having Earth Day in the Garden this Saturday, April 24th, from 9:00AM to noon. Stop by to learn about pollinators, view the butterfly habitat, and have a fun time outdoors! It is a free event.








Check Out My Social Media!


Farmers and ranchers are America’s backbone. I was pleased to vote yes on SB 88 to protect Florida agriculture. #ThankAFarmer


Follow me on my social media to keep up to date with all of the latest happenings during session!




I have a great team here in HD80. We are always ready to help out.

If you have a question you would like for my team and I to address within The Melo Minute feel free to send an email to:


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *