School Safety and Military Families


We got lucky last weekend with the unnamed storm that never really materialized! But for the all-day rain on Friday, which Collier desperately needed, we escaped the forecasted strong winds and severe flooding. It was a perfect opportunity for all of us to test our hurricane preparedness for future storms of the season. I hope you took advantage of the Disaster Sales Tax Holiday which ended on June 10th.

School’s out so be watchful of our children! Pool safety is an absolute must for parents and caregivers, but especially so during these hot days of summer!

This week our Governor signed into law a couple of bills that I will address in greater detail below: School Safety and Florida’s Military Families.

Representative Bob Rommel
District 106

Governor DeSantis Signs School Safety Bill

Governor Ron DeSantis

On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed bill that will require “crisis intervention” training for on-campus officers in an effort to make schools safer in response to the deadly school shootings that took place in Uvalde, Texas.

The bill will make an effort to improve the transparency of a student’s mental health at a school with certain safety and security measures being taken by trained officers.

DeSantis said he believes that be signing this bill, the state is taking effective measures to making children that attend public schools safe.

“Every child needs a safe and secure learning environment,” DeSantis said “By signing HB 1421, we continue to build on the many steps we have taken since 2019 to implement the recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, while also making record investments in mental health and school safety.”

According to School Safety bill HB 1421, Here’s what the bill offers:

Requiring the Office of Safe Schools (OSS) to develop a model family reunification plan that guides family reunification when K-12 public schools are closed or unexpectedly evacuated due to natural or manmade disasters, and requiring district school boards and charter school governing boards to adopt a reunification plan.
Requiring that the State Board of Education adopt rules setting requirements for emergency drills including timing, frequency, participation, training, notification, and accommodations, and requiring that law enforcement officers responsible for responding to schools in the event of an assailant emergency be physically present and participate in active assailant drills.
Requiring the Department of Education (DOE) to annually publish school safety and environmental incident reporting data in a uniform, statewide format that is easy to read and understand.
Requiring safe-school officers that are sworn law enforcement officers to complete mental health crisis intervention training, and requiring safe-school officers that are not sworn law enforcement officers to receive training on incident response and de-escalation.
Requiring that school district and local mobile response teams use the same suicide screening tool approved by the DOE.
Requiring that school districts annually certify, beginning July 1, 2023, that at least 80 percent of school personnel received the mandatory youth mental health awareness training.
Requiring the OSS to maintain a directory of public school diversion programs, providing to school districts information on the proper use of the School Safety Awareness Program, including the consequences of knowingly submitting false information, and providing a similar notification to users of the Fortify FL system.
The bill extends the sunset date of the MSD Commission until July 1, 2026, for the purpose of monitoring implementation of school safety legislation, and specifies additional duties. The bill also requires the Commissioner of Education to oversee and enforce school safety and security compliance in the state.
These provisions will go into effect on July 1, 2022.

Governor DeSantis Signs Six Bills Supporting Florida’s Military Families

On June 9th, Governor Ron DeSantis signed six bills to support veterans, military members, and their families in finding employment and educational opportunities in Florida. These pieces of legislation build on funding provided in the Freedom First Budget signed by Governor DeSantis last week to support Florida’s military members and their families.

“Florida is the most military friendly state in the nation, and I am proud to continue that commitment to our military members and their families by signing these pieces of legislation,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Providing military families with the resources they need to receive a high-quality education and find good jobs is the best way that we as a state can show our appreciation for the sacrifices that they make.”

“I’d like to thank the Legislature and Governor DeSantis for all they’ve done for the Soldiers and Airmen of the Florida National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. Jim Eifert, The Adjutant General of Florida. “These bills will go a long way to help our Citizen Soldiers and their spouses have opportunities for meaningful employment. Solid career opportunities lead to a well-rounded and ready force, and a stable home environment prepares our Guardsmen and their families for deployments, to include disaster response.”

“Governor DeSantis continues to deliver on his promise to provide a work-ready, high-quality postsecondary education for our veterans and service-members,” said Senior Chancellor Henry Mack. “Today’s new laws guarantee our state and technical colleges stand ready and equipped to remove all educational barriers for our military families.”

“We’re very appreciative of Governor DeSantis’ unwavering support of Florida’s 1.5 million veterans, their families, and survivors. As a Navy combat deployed veteran, he appreciates the importance of expanding earned benefit eligibility to our active-duty members, our veterans, and their family members,” said retired Marine Corps Major General James S. “Hammer” Hartsell, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “Working together to offer enhanced educational and workforce opportunities for our nation’s heroes, we’ll ensure Florida continues to be the most sought-after state by veterans in the nation.”

“Governor DeSantis has prioritized Florida’s military communities, and DEO is proud to support his efforts through innovative and dynamic opportunities,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle. “Projects funded through DEO’s military grant programs promote economic growth and diversification in military communities and enhance the lives of all Floridians.”

The six bills signed by the Governor will support education opportunities for veterans and children of active-duty military as well as expand access to employment opportunities by removing barriers to licensure and postsecondary education requirements. Those bills are:
House Bill (HB) 45 provides educational opportunities for disabled veterans by providing additional assistance to achieve a 100 percent award for tuition and fees.
Senate Bill (SB) 430 reenacts the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children which ensures a smooth transition for children of active-duty military families by enabling seamless school placement, enrollment, records transfers, and verification of graduation requirements.
SB 514 allows state agencies to substitute work experience, including military experience, for postsecondary education to allow veterans to use on the job experience to apply for civilian jobs.
SB 896 will help veterans access jobs in education by allowing their military service to count toward the requirement for a temporary educator certificate under the mentorship of a certified teacher.
SB 562 requires the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to expedite license applications of active-duty military spouses.
SB 438 updates Florida’s definition of Uniformed Service to include the United States Space Force and updates military base names.
The Governor also announced that CareerSource Florida and state workforce agencies will dedicate $20 million in targeted workforce training supports for Florida’s veterans. This funding will focus on high demand industries including aviation, aerospace, and defense.

100 Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers Have Begun

AAA recently published this article on teenagers and driving. Though many teenagers believe they are immortal, we know that is not true. Our young people are precious and need to remind them of the dangers and risks they face when they get behind the wheel of a car.

Memorial Day weekend marked the unofficial start of summer and a dangerous time of year for young drivers. Nationwide, more than 30 percent of deaths involving teen drivers occur during what’s called the “100 Deadliest Days” – a period that runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

For every mile driven, new teen drivers (ages 16-17 years old) are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash compared to adults. Now that school is out for summer, these inexperienced teen drivers will have more time to spend on the road. That means more time driving at night and potentially engaging in risky behaviors like speeding, texting, or simply sharing the vehicle with teen passengers. The risk gets even greater when you add more vehicles on the road.

100 Deadliest Days Statistics from 2011 – 2020


Each year an average of 2,063 teen drivers are involved in fatal crashes; 642 of those (31%) occurred during the 100 deadliest days
More than 7,124 people died in teen-related summertime crashes from 2011 to 2020.
That’s more than seven people a day each summer compared to the rest of the year (six people/day).
In Florida
An average of 38 teen drivers are involved in fatal crashes between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
Every year, an average total of 160 people are killed in teen driver-related crashes. More than a third of those fatalities (36% or 42 deaths) occur during the 100 deadliest days.
During the past 10 summers, 1,595 people have died in teen driver-related crashes.
Risky Habits for Teen Drivers

Understanding the risks and knowing the facts will prepare both you and your teen for the road ahead:
Driving with teen passengers. Teen drivers’ crash risks multiply when they have teen passengers. Set limits and enforce them.
Driving at night. Night driving is more dangerous due to limited visibility, fatigue, and impaired drivers on the road. This is especially a risky time for teens. Limit the time your novice driver spends behind the wheel at night.
Not wearing a safety belt. Wearing a safety belt greatly reduces the risk of being hurt or killed in a crash. Make a rule: everyone buckles up for every trip.
Speeding. Speed is a leading factor in crashes for teens and adults. Teens need to follow posted speed limits and parents should set a good example and strong rules. Teens should also learn how to adjust their speed based on roadway factors like reduced traction and visibility and varying traffic volumes.
Distracted driving. Teen passengers are the biggest distraction to teen drivers, but cell phones come in second. Many teens admit to interacting with their phone and in-car infotainment systems while behind the wheel despite clear dangers. Make a family rule covering these and other distractions that everyone abides by.
Drowsy driving. Teens have a hard time getting enough sleep and often struggle with drowsiness. Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving, and teens have the highest risk. Ensure everyone who is behind the wheel has gotten enough sleep.
Impaired driving. Driving impaired from alcohol and other drugs puts everyone at risk. Enforce strict zero tolerance rules with your teen and be a good role model.
AAA Advice for Parents

The single most important thing parents can do to keep their teens safe behind the wheel is to be actively involved in the learning to drive process:
Talk with teens early and often about abstaining from dangerous behavior behind the wheel, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving.
Teach by example- Maintain appropriate space around your vehicle, adjust your speed to the conditions and minimize risky behavior when you drive.
Establish a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.
Conduct at least 50 hours of supervised practice driving with their teen.
Enroll your teen in both online and in-person driving courses.
Talk with your teens about anticipating other driver’s mistakes and how to adjust their driving to others.
For further information from AAA on teens and safe driving, click here. Thank you to AAA for providing this information.

Florida has no income tax and a balanced budget.
Let’s keep it that way!

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