Legislative Update – March 6, 2022


The Florida Senate and House of Representatives worked around the clock this past week, hearing and voting on legislation that will impact the future of Florida.
The Florida Senate passed legislation to protect unborn children and bolster support for expecting mothers, legislation that provides support for suicide programs that serve our military veterans, and a bill that provides additional resources to help fight against human trafficking in Florida.
We are meeting throughout the weekend to finalize a balanced state budget before the 60th day of session, which is Friday, March 11.

Legislation Supporting Veteran Suicide Prevention Passes Senate
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the national suicide rate for veterans is nearly double the rate of non-veterans.
An estimated 30,177 post-9/11 active-duty service members and veterans have died by suicide. This week, the Senate unanimously passed legislation to bolster suicide prevention resources for Florida’s more than 1.5 million veterans who call our state home.
Senate Bill 1712, Veteran Suicide Prevention Training Pilot Program, by Senator Danny Burgess, requires the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA) to create and oversee the Veteran Suicide Prevention Training Pilot Program.
The program will train agency claims examiners and county and city veteran service officers in identifying the early signs of elevated suicide risk and providing emergency crisis referrals for veterans.
To provide the training, FDVA will contract with an organization that specializes in developing and implementing evidence-based, veteran-relevant suicide prevention training.
“This is how we serve those who served us,” said Senator Burgess in describing this important life-saving initiative.

Senate Votes to Expand Training to Help Combat Human Trafficking
In 2020, the National Human Trafficking Hotline received 51,667 substantive tips about human trafficking nationwide, of which 2,539 were reported from Florida.
The Florida Senate this week passed legislation to address and increase awareness of these cruel, horrific crimes in Florida. House Bill 615, Human Trafficking, by Senator Ileana Garcia, expands training on recognizing, preventing and reporting human trafficking for foster families, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and firesafety inspectors.
To ensure human trafficking victims have the support of their foster families and Florida’s Child Welfare System, HB 615 requires foster parents and DCF staff to complete preservice training related to human trafficking. The legislation also allows firesafety inspectors to count training developed by the Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking on recognizing and reporting human trafficking toward the continuing education credits required to renew their certification.
Studies show that social media is often used to recruit victims of human trafficking, and this recruitment method has increased since the beginning of COVID-19.
To address this issue, HB 615 expands the duties of the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking to include:
Assessing the frequency and extent to which social media platforms are used to assist, facilitate, or support human trafficking within this state;
Establishing a process to detect such use on a consistent basis; and
Making recommendations on how to stop, reduce, or prevent social media platforms from being used for such purposes.

The Senate Increases Protections for Unborn Children, Enhances Resources for Mothers
The Senate this week passed a comprehensive pro-life measure increasing protections for unborn children while enhancing support and resources for mothers. House Bill 5, Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality, by Senator Kelli Stargel, prohibits abortions after the unborn baby has reached 15 weeks of gestational age, expands programs to reduce infant and fetal deaths, and increases health care and educational resources available to pregnant mothers.
When Roe v. Wade was decided almost 50 years ago, scientific knowledge of fetal development was extremely limited. Recognizing that medical and scientific advancements in the decades since have come a long way in confirming significant developmental milestones for doctors and parents, HB 5 prohibits abortion after the unborn baby has reached 15 weeks of gestational age. The legislation provides the same exceptions under current law for the prohibition on third-trimester abortions to protect the health and safety of the mother.
To improve infant mortality rates across our state, HB 5 expands and funds fetal and infant mortality review committees (FIMRs) in our communities. Additionally, the legislation directs the Florida Department of Health (DOH) to target counter-marketing advertising campaigns under the Comprehensive Statewide Tobacco Education and Use Prevention Program specific to pregnant women and women who may become pregnant to inform them about the potential risks and harm of tobacco use.

Senate Safeguards Floridians from Federal Government’s Ignoring Immigration Laws
Each year, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants deliberately violate our nation’s laws by unlawfully crossing U.S. borders, and the Biden Administration has continued to refuse to enforce immigration laws or protect our border. It is not only the inability to get answers or the operations occurring in the early morning hours that make it difficult to trust the federal government.
In September of last year, it was reported that the government “lost contact” with about a third of those classified as unaccompanied alien children who had been released between January and May. The number may be higher, because many of the required follow-up calls were not made to check in on UACs who had been released.
While the federal government may believe that taxpayers should accept and fund illegal immigration, protecting the safety and hard-earned money of our residents remains a top priority in Florida. This week, the Florida Senate passed Senate Bill 1808, Immigration Enforcement, by Senator Aaron Bean, to send a message to the federal government that Florida will not participate in their scheme to ignore immigration laws and border security.
SB 1808 prohibits governmental entities from doing business with common carriers that willingly and knowingly provide services to help transport unauthorized aliens into Florida.
Additionally, this legislation requires Florida sheriffs to enroll in a partnership with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that trains and authorizes county-level officers as an extension of their duties to perform limited functions of federal immigration authorities.
This legislation does not affect anyone who has entered this country legally. Florida has a storied history of welcoming legal immigrants and asylum-seekers fleeing oppressive political systems of their home countries. As neighbors, business owners and taxpayers, legal immigrants are an integral part of Florida’s diverse and thriving communities.
Senate Bill 1808 aims to keep Floridians safe and stop lawbreakers from negatively impacting our state.

Florida Supreme Court Approves State Legislative Redistricting Maps
This week, the Florida Supreme Court approved the Florida Legislature’s State Senate and House redistricting map plans. The maps were publicly vetted and approved through the committee process, and received strong bipartisan approval in the Florida Senate and House of Representatives.
Following the Legislature’s approval of the map plans in the form of a joint resolution, the Attorney General petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to determine the validity of the map plans.
For the first time since the 1930s, the joint resolution of state legislative apportionment proceeded without legal challenges by an opposing party.
Information about Florida’s redistricting process and the approved maps are published and available at www.FloridaRedistricting.gov.
The maps may be viewed interactively or downloaded from the Submitted Plans page for independent analysis.

First Lady Casey DeSantis is Now Considered Cancer Free
This week, Governor Ron DeSantis released a video update regarding First Lady Casey DeSantis.
In the clip, the Governor shared a few words, “I have a positive update about my wife Casey DeSantis. After going through both treatment and surgery for breast cancer, she is now considered cancer-free. All of you who have given thoughts and prayers to my family and my wife, thank you. It’s lifted her spirits and made a tremendous difference. For all the women out there who are going through breast cancer right now – you can overcome this. I know it’s very difficult, but my wife is proof positive, and this is the exact type of news we had hoped for. She still has more to do, but I’m confident she’s going to make a full recovery. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. God Bless you all.”
“There are no words to express how truly blessed, grateful and humbled I am to hear the words cancer free,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “To those who are in the fight, know there is hope. Have faith and stay strong.”
You may view the full video here: https://rumble.com/vwcvrv-first-lady-casey-desantis-is-cancer-free.html

In the News
Naples, SWFL prays with, for Ukrainians as Lent begins
3 brothers in Naples have started a business and donate a portion of profits to charity
Get a taste of small-town history at Alva’s annual Strawberry Festival

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-101
LaBelle, FL 33935
Tallahassee Office:
330 Senate Office Building
Tallahassee, FL 32339

Not paid for at taxpayer expense.

Paid political advertisement paid for by Working Together for Florida P.C., 133 South Harbor Drive, Venice, FL 34285.

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