Kathleen Passidomo – Legislative Update – September 25, 2021


Friday concluded the first week of the Legislature’s Interim Committee meetings ahead of the 2022 Legislative Session.  This was the first of six Committee Weeks before session begins on January 11, 2022.

Several committees met this week to hear briefings from state agencies on the implementation of new laws, as well as updates on Florida’s education achievements and space exploration.

I want to congratulate State Representative Paul Renner.  On Tuesday, he was formally designated by his colleagues as the next Speaker of the Florida House, and he will begin his leadership role in fall of 2022.  Rep. Renner of Palm Coast is a great leader for his region and for our state.  I look forward to working with him in the years ahead.

Stay tuned for updates as we meet regularly throughout the fall.  If you are planning to visit the Capitol in the weeks and months ahead, reach out to my office and drop in to see us.


  The Florida Senate Returns to the Capitol Ahead of the 2022 Legislative Session

Senators made their way back to the Florida Capitol for the first of six Interim Committee Weeks ahead of the 2022 Legislative Session.

Several Senate committees received presentations, held discussion panels highlighting issues facing Florida, and heard updates on the implementation of legislation passed last session.

The Florida Senate continues to implement COVID-19 protocols in consultation with infectious disease consultants at Tampa General Hospital to ensure Senators and members of the public are able to safely participate in the legislative process.  We will proceed with care and caution as we work to ensure Florida remains the best place to live, work and raise a family!

Mark your calendars for the upcoming committee weeks: October 11-15, October 18-22, November 1-5, November 15-19, and November 29-December 3.  The 2022 Legislative Session begins January 11.



  Representative Paul Renner Designated Speaker of the Florida House for 2023-2024 Legislative Term

On September 21, the Florida House formally designated State Representative Paul Renner, from Palm Coast, to serve as the House Speaker for the 2023-2024 legislative term.

Speaker-designate Renner is an attorney and retired U.S. Navy commander who represents House District 24. Rep. Renner will be the first House Speaker-designate from Flagler County to serve in this leadership role.



  Florida Legislature Launches Joint Redistricting Website 

On September 22, the Florida Legislature launched a joint website, www.FloridaRedistricting.gov, and a new interactive map drawing application for the 2022 redistricting cycle.

Based on the 2020 Census data, the redistricting process revises the congressional and state legislative districts to adjust for uneven growth rates in different parts of the state. Districts determine which voters participate in which elections.

Florida’s redistricting website is a one-stop-shop for information on the redistricting process.  The site includes a direct link to a map drawing application where the public can go to draw and submit redistricting plans after signing up for a free account.

Florida is one of a handful of states to offer a free, tailored map drawing solution to the public for the 2022 redistricting cycle.



  Committee Reviews Implementation of Legislation to Reform Florida’s Child Welfare System

The Florida Senate is leading the effort to reform Florida’s Child Welfare System by passing transformative legislation that prioritizes the safety and stability of children in the child welfare system through comprehensive reforms, which range from training to reporting; all with the goal to improve both current living conditions and future outcomes for the children entrusted to our welfare system.

Senate President Wilton Simpson recently appointed Senator Ileana Garcia as the new chair of the Senate Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs.  For the committee’s first meeting, Chair Garcia scheduled an update from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) on the implementation of Senate Bill 80 by Senator Jason Brodeur and Senate Bill 96.

These key measures, passed during the 2021 Legislative Session, will increase safety and stability for children within Florida’s Child Welfare System.  Additionally, the committee heard an update on the implementation status of the Families First Prevention Services Act, a federal act passed with the goals of preventing children from entering foster care, engaging families in prevention services, and providing appropriate family-like settings for foster care.

SB 80 seeks to recognize and balance the relationships young children develop with out-of-home caregivers and siblings with those of the child’s biological family members to reduce trauma-related to abrupt or frequent placement changes that remove children from safe, successful placements.  This new law also requires a quick reference FACE sheet for each child to prevent important details about a child’s status in the child welfare system from being overlooked.  Additionally, the Office of Continuing Care was created to serve former foster youth ages 18 to 26 to receive ongoing support as the youth transition to adulthood.

SB 96 enhances ongoing efforts to identify and end child abuse and sexual abuse.  The law clarifies that school personnel is required to report abuse to a central DCF hotline, provides training and cross reporting to address the connection between child abuse and animal cruelty, and strengthens investigations into sexual abuse allegations from children in out-of-home care.



  Florida Remains National Model for K-12 Achievement

For the second year, Florida ranks third in the nation for K-12 Achievement, according to the 2021 Quality Counts report by Education Week.

The Committee on Education, chaired by Senator Joe Gruters, received an overview of our ongoing efforts to propel Florida to the top of the rankings from the Florida Department of Education (DOE).  Jacob Oliva, Senior Chancellor at DOE, outlined the evolution of Florida’s assessment and accountability measures to ensure students are receiving a world-class education.

Additionally, the department discussed the implementation of Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order directing DOE to further enhance Florida’s educational standards.

The department also highlighted the positive impact of Florida’s data-driven decision to reopen schools and offer in-person instruction following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The department reported that districts with higher rates of in-person instruction had a lower rate of performance decline on all mathematics standards assessments in grades 3 through 8 between 2019 and 2021.



  Florida Remains a National Hub for Military, Space Exploration and Beyond

The Florida Senate is committed to ensuring Florida not only remains one of the most military and veteran-friendly states in the nation, but also maintains its position as a global leader in space exploration and research.  The United States Space Force and Space Florida briefed the Senate Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security, chaired by Senator Tom Wright, on our state’s space presence and operations.

The United States Space Force was established as the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on December 20, 2019, to defend our freedom to operate in space.  Space Florida was created to foster the growth and development of a sustainable aerospace industry in our state and has played a big role in establishing the infrastructure for what is now known as Patrick Space Force Base, home to Space Launch Delta 45, in Brevard County.

“The future of the United States of America is Space,” declared Chair Wright.



  A Discussion with FiTV on Legislative Priorities Ahead of 2022 Session

This week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Brad Swanson of Florida Internet & Television (FiTV) and discuss issues facing the state of Florida.  You may watch the full interview on YouTube here or tune into Bally Sports this Tuesday, September 28, at 8:00 am.



  Florida Announces Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo as the State’s Next Surgeon General

On Tuesday, September 21, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD, as Florida Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health.

Dr. Ladapo was recently granted a professorship at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine.  Prior to joining UF, he served as an associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) caring for hospitalized patients.  A graduate of Wake Forest University, Dr. Ladapo also holds an MD from Harvard Medical School and a PhD in Health Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

“I am honored to have been chosen by Governor DeSantis to serve as Florida’s next Surgeon General,” said Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo.  “We must make health policy decisions rooted in data and not in fear.  From California, I have observed the different approaches taken by governors across the country and I have been impressed by Governor DeSantis’ leadership and determination to ensure that Floridians are afforded all opportunities to maintain their health and wellness, while preserving their freedoms as Americans.  It is a privilege to join his team and serve the people of Florida.”



  Find Online Resources For COVID-19 Treatment, Testing & Vaccines 

There are 25 state sites where Floridians who have COVID-19 can receive the life-saving monoclonal antibody treatment. Visit https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/ to find the location nearest you and make an appointment.  There, you can also find information on testing and vaccines.



Glad to have the opportunity to meet with Major General James “Hammer” Hartsell, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, this week.  We discussed supporting the veterans and their families who call District 28 home.


In the News

Years of construction at Corkscrew, I-75 interchange set to end in November

Two Fort Myers SROs save Dunbar High student’s life

Romping panther kitten, other Florida wildlife captured on video at Conservation Collier preserve


 As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office any time that I can be of assistance.


Kathleen C. Passidomo

Senate Rules Chair
State Senator, District 28


Naples Office:

3299 East Tamiami Trail
Suite 203
Naples, FL 34112

LaBelle Office:

25 East Hickpochee Avenue
Room J-126
LaBelle, FL 33935

Tallahassee Office:

330 Senate Office Building
Tallahassee, FL 32339


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