On Friday. the Florida Legislature wrapped the second week of meetings of the 2023 Legislative Session.
The Florida Senate debated and discussed proposed policy both in committee meetings and on the Senate floor this week. Legislation focused on rebuilding local communities that suffer damage from hurricanes, upholding the parent’s right to choose the best school for their children, addressing labor shortages in workforce revitalization and protecting Florida from foreign threats.
Rebuilding After Natural Disasters
Wednesday, Senator Jonathan Martin (R-Fort Myers) presented Senate Bill 250 in the Senate Committee on Community Affairs where it passed with unanimous committee support. Senate Bill 250 assists local communities impacted by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole with the recovery process while ensuring that Florida is better prepared to respond to future natural disasters. Senator Yarbrough presents Senate Bill 254 to the Senate Committee on Health Policy
This legislation among other things allows residents of devastated areas to stay on their land while rebuilding their homes, encourages local governments to develop an emergency financial plan, and requires the Division of Emergency Management to assist local governments and residents with the debris removal process.
Senate Bill 250 lays the groundwork for Floridians to recover stronger and faster in the case of future natural disasters.
Funding Students, Not Systems
Thursday, Senator Corey Simon (R-Tallahassee) presented Senate Bill 202 in the Senate Appropriations Committee where it passed with strong committee support. Senate Bill 202 establishes universal school choice across the State of Florida, ensuring that Florida students receives an education that meets their unique needs.
This legislation expands Florida’s educational voucher program and allows every student in Florida to receive an education in a setting fit to their own individual needs. Through this legislation, families of students who fall below 185% of the federal poverty level (FPL) will be prioritized, with a second priority for households with income below 400% of FPL, to receive an empowerment account to take education dollars earmarked for their child and choose among a variety of options to customize their child’s k-12 education.
Senate Bill 202 puts parents in the driver’s seat regarding their child’s education, provides parents and students with the full array of educational opportunities, and ensures that a child’s future is not determined by their zip-code. Through this legislation, Florida will continue to lead the way in education, delivering positive educational outcomes that result in lifelong success.
Reimagining Workforce Development
Tuesday, Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) presented Senate Bill 240 in the Senate Committee on Pre-K – 12 Education where it passed with unanimous committee support. Senate Bill 240 reimagines and revitalizes workforce development programs hosted within Florida’s schools.
Through a comprehensive approach, incorporating local businesses, community boards, and public schools, this legislation expands opportunities for middle and high school students to receive valuable career training while still enrolled in a Florida public school.
Senate Bill 240 revises current high school graduation requirements to place a specific emphasis on educational curriculum that is focused on technical education and career training. Additionally, this legislation establishes a program that allows local businesses to assess the job market for their specified region and collaborate with local schools to ensure that roles found to be of a greater need are greater emphasized in our educational system.
As the entire nation attempts to address labor shortages in key fields such as nursing and logistics, Florida will lead through innovative educational policies that benefit individual students and the economy as a whole.
Defending Florida from Foreign Threats
Tuesday, Senator Jay Collins (R-Tampa) presented Senate Bill 264 in the Senate Judiciary Committee where it passed with strong committee support. Senate Bill 264 prohibits foreign adversaries and companies funded by adversaries from purchasing agricultural land in the State of Florida.
Due to the growing threat of the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to weaken America’s national security through strategic land purchases, it is critical that we protect the health of our agriculture industry. Senate Bill 264 ensures that America’s enemies will be strictly prohibited from purchasing agricultural land in the State of Florida. This is a crucial step to protect Florida’s food supply and broader security interests.