Session Update: Weeks 6 & 7
Contact Information
Office Locations
District:
8383 Seminole Boulevard
Suite B
Seminole, FL 33772
727-395-2512
  
Capitol:
222 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
850-717-5066
Staff
District Secretary
 
Legislative Assistant
  
My 2017 Bills
Requires the automatic expunction of certain nonjudicial records of arrests of minors after the completion of certain diversion programs.  
  
Reduces the sales tax paid on commercial leases incrementally until it's eliminated over a specified number of years.   

Authorizes a matching grant program for local governments to implement flood hazard risk mitigation policies and projects.
 

Requires court to provide for expedited hearing & ruling in challenge to state legislative or congressional district boundaries.

 

HB 955 - High School Graduation Requirements  

Revises requirements for NGSSS to include financial literacy. Revises credits for standard high school diploma to include instruction in personal financial literacy and money management.   

  

HB 1365 - Early Childhood Music Education Incentive Pilot Program
Creates the Early Childhood Music Education Incentive Pilot Program within the Department of Education.

  

CS/CS/HB 1441 - Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board 

Revises composition of the board.

  

"Schools of Excellence" Passes House Floor
 ( HB 1331 )
The Florida House passed a bill that establishes the Schools of Excellence Program.
 
One function of Florida's statewide assessments is to identify and recognize schools that perform well based on school quality standards established in law. The system has evolved and increased accountability for schools and educators by using student achievement and learning gains data from statewide standardized assessments. Annually, school grades are given on an A through F scale based on points earned by a school in a number of different categories.
 
The Schools of Excellence Program rewards schools that consistently score in the top 20% of schools based on their points earned in school grade calculations. Schools are rewarded with increased administrative flexibilities, which are intended to allow high-performing schools freedom to explore additional high-performance strategies.
 
The bill now heads to the Senate for their consideration.
April 27, 2017

Dear Friends,
  
Last week we finished our seventh week of the 2017 Legislative Session. During this week a number of bills were heard and passed in House Committees as well as on the House floor. We are now moving into the remaining weeks of Session. 

Throughout the remainder of Session, I will continue to keep you up-to-date with periodic newsletters letting you know about bills under consideration and any new laws that are passed. As always, thank you for your confidence in my service to District 66. It is an honor and a privilege to be your voice in Tallahassee.

In Your Service,
  Rep. Sig 3
Larry Ahern
 
House Passes "Certificate of Need" Reform
  
The House passed a bill to eliminate the state's "Certificate of Need" (CON) program for hospitals.
 
The CON program, administered by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), requires certain health care providers to obtain state approval before entering the market or offering certain new or expanded services. The CON program currently regulates hospices, skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled, hospitals and certain specialized hospital services.
 
The CON program nearly eliminates competition in the health care market, causing unnecessary and unfair cost increases for consumers. These market-entry barriers prevent or delay innovation, and they incentivize competitors to push each other out of the market with lawsuits rather than competing based on quality.
 
HB 7 removes hospitals and hospital-based services from Florida's CON review program. As a result, any person wishing to build or replace a hospital, or establish specialized services in a hospital, including inpatient complex medical rehabilitation beds, need only go through the AHCA licensure process. If an applicant can meet the licensure statutes and regulations, the applicant will be permitted to offer new or additional hospital facilities or services to patients in the state without first obtaining a CON from AHCA.
 
The bill reduces costs and increases quality of care. Now the bill will go to the Senate for their consideration.
House Passes Bill Encouraging Self-Sufficiency 
  
The House passed an important pro-family bill that makes changes to Florida's Temporary Cash Assistance Program (TCA) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to encourage families to be self-sufficient: HB 23.
 
The bill has three important parts to encourage recipients to comply with TCA program requirements. First, the bill requires certain government agencies to work with recipients to make individual plans with clear expectations so that TCA recipients know what they need to do and how to overcome problems. Second, the bill increases sanctions for recipients who fail to meet program requirements. Third, the bill improves workforce programs so individuals on TCA are better able to find work to support their families. Under the bill, at least three regional workforce boards must create workforce programs using new techniques that work well for cash assistance recipients to help them become "work ready".
 
With respect to SNAP, or food stamps, the bill ends a change to the program made in 2010 during the devastating economic downturn. That change helped more people qualify for food assistance in that tough time. Now, about 3.3 million Floridians - 1 in 6 people - are on SNAP. Fortunately, our economy has improved since then - for example, the state's unemployment rate fell from 11.4% to 5.0%. Under the bill, the state will seek federal approval to reinstate the federal asset limit eliminated during the downturn. The asset limit won't count assets like primary residences, retirement accounts or vehicles used for work (like boats used for a fishing business, or taxis). The asset limit will help ensure that assistance goes to those who are truly in need.
 
Encouraging families to be self-sufficient is something we can all get behind, and that's exactly what this bill would do. The bill now heads to the Senate.


Meeting with members of the Florida Swimming Pool Association outside of the House Chamber during their legislative days in Tallahassee.


House Passes Bill to Expand Civics Education 
  
The Florida House passed a bill last week that strengthens civics education in our K-12 public schools and post-secondary institutions.
 
The bill proposes three primary changes to law. First, the bill would designate September as "American Founders' Month," and encourage all public schools to coordinate instruction related to the nation's founding fathers during September. Second, the bill would require the Just Read, Florida! Office to develop and provide access to sequenced, content-rich curriculum programming, instructional practices, and resources that help elementary students increase their background knowledge and literacy skills. Finally, the bill would require students entering into the Florida College System or State University System in the 2018-2019 schoolyear, or later, to either take a civics course or pass a civic competency test.
 
If it becomes law, this legislation will help students become civically engaged adults who make positive contributions to their communities.
 
The bill is now ready to go to the Senate for their consideration.
Community Events
Largo
Movies in the Park
Star Wars - Rogue One
Fri. - April 28th
7:00 PM
FREE


 Clearwater
Celebrate Downtown Gateway Festival
Sat. - April 29th 
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM 
FREE Parking

House Passes "Schools of Hope" Bill
(HB 5105)
The Florida House passed a bill that would promote improved student performance, increase accountability of failing schools, and establish the Schools of Hope program.
 
Currently, schools with a 6th, 7th, or 8th grade class must implement an early warning system to identify students who need additional support to improve academic performance. The bill expands the range of schools that must implement an early warning system to schools that serve any student in kindergarten through 8th grade. 
 
The bill streamlines the school improvement process and increases accountability of persistently low performing schools. Schools will be required to immediately implement intervention and support strategies if the school earns a "D" or "F" and school districts will have increased flexibility to address the needs of those schools.
 
The bill authorizes the establishment of "Schools of Hope" to provide students in areas of persistently low-performing schools with a high-quality education option designed to close the opportunity gap and increase student achievement.
Judiciary Committee Passes Bill to Fight Human Trafficking
The Florida House is committed to fighting the perpetrators of human trafficking. The House is also committed to supporting victims of human trafficking who have to endure such deeply horrific circumstances.
 
During the fifth week of Session, the Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would create a new cause of action for victims of human trafficking and allow the Attorney General to file the cause of action on behalf of the victim. If a victim or the Attorney General wins his or her case, in addition to any other award imposed, the court has to award a civil penalty against each defendant in the amount of $100,000 and enter judgment in favor of the prevailing victim or the Attorney General. Importantly, this penalty is in addition to, and not in lieu of, any punitive damage award.
 
Further, if a law enforcement agency rescued the victim or located the property upon which the abuse or exploitation of a victim or victims had occurred, the court has to impose a civil penalty against the defendant in the civil action and in favor of the law enforcement agency in the amount of $50,000 for the benefit of the law enforcement agency's future efforts to combat human trafficking.
 
The bill also provides for civil judicial forfeiture proceedings that may be brought by the victim or Attorney General against the real and personal property of a person who knowingly participated in human trafficking. Forfeiture may also be filed against property where the owner allowed human trafficking to happen by willful blindness.
 
Florida House of Representatives | | larry.ahern@myfloridahouse.gov | http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4505&SessionId=66
8383 Seminole Boulevard
Suite B
Seminole, FL 33772
Florida House of Representatives, 8383 Seminole Boulevard, Suite B, Seminole, FL 33772

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