North Florida News
State Representative Johanna López Files Pro-Educated Families Bill
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, Representative Johanna López (D-Orlando) filed House Bill 191. This bill would provide pregnant survivors of rape with an exemption from college tuition and fees and establish a grant program that pays for childcare while the survivors attend school.
Representative Johanna López (D-Orlando) issued the following statement:
“This Bill would give some relief and hope to the young people who are raped and find themselves pregnant as a result. The decision to keep a baby after a traumatic event can affect a person’s mental health and finances. These circumstances force people to prioritize their children over school potentially funneling pregnant survivors into a life of low-paying jobs and government welfare. With HB 191 these survivors would have the opportunity to continue with their higher education, be parents, and have access to better-paying jobs and without complete dependence on the state.”
Representatives Katherine Waldron (D-Wellington), Kristen Arrington (D-Kissimmee), Jervonte “Tae” Edmonds (D-Palm Beach), and Ashley Viola Gantt (D-Miami), Susan Valdés (D-Tampa), Marie Woodson (D-Hollywood) are proud to co-sponsor this legislation and will work alongside Representative Johanna López (D-Orlando) to create a better future for Floridian survivors of rape and their families.
Representative Katherine Waldron (D-Wellington) issued the following statement: “This bill provides critical and necessary assistance to women who are in a situation not of their choosing and have been subjected to the predatory behavior of bad actors. Historically, it has been proven that education is the key to a person’s ability to live independently and HB191 helps accomplish just that.”
Representative Ashley Viola Gantt (D-Miami) issued the following statement: “It takes tremendous courage for a young woman to recapture the power of choice over her body when she has suffered a grave violation. To keep a child created from such violation is even more evidence of her unshakable courage. It is an honor to co-sponsor legislation that supports young women who continue seeking a quality education in the face of tragedy. They, too, should still have every opportunity to create the life they desire and providing child care support while they are in school is a mechanism we can use to aide them in that purpose. Florida families, even when they are created in grievous circumstances, still deserve the chance to be healthy, prosperous and safe.”
Representative Kristen Arrington (D-Kissimmee) issued the following statement: “I applaud Rep. Lopez for sponsoring this bill to help victims of rape get the opportunity to receive an education that can provide them career opportunities to succeed.”
Representative Jervonte “Tae” Edmonds (D-Palm Beach) issued the following statement: “The Florida House of Representatives must pass this bill in order to ensure that all women, regardless of income or circumstance, have access to the education they need to succeed in life.”
Representative Susan Valdés (D-Tampa) issued the following statement: “I’m proud to co-sponsor Representative López’s bill. The women who fall pregnant from these violent crimes committed against them need our support. These women will be given tools that will help them provide for their new family thanks to this bill. Their future and educational endeavors matter.”
North Florida News
Senator Ileana Garcia Marks the Grand Opening of Mia Casa
North Miami–State Senator Ileana Garcia (R-Miami), Chair of the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs, today attended the grand opening of Mia Casa, a dedicated site for homeless seniors. During the 2022 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature, Senator Garcia worked to secure a $1.75 million appropriation to aid in the construction of Mia Casa. State Representative Demi Busatta Cabrera (R-Coral Gables) sponsored the appropriation in the Florida House.
“I am so proud to have played a role in securing funding for Mia Casa. 39 percent of those experiencing homelessness on our streets are senior citizens. I see this every day and regularly engage with individuals experiencing homelessness to better understand their stories and to see what can be done to help them. Housing is a big part of the solution,” said Senator Garcia. “I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Miami-Dade County and the Homeless Trust on preventing and ending homelessness in our community.”
“Our seniors built the thriving communities where we now live, work and raise our families, and they deserve to live out their golden years in comfort and safety, surrounded by important support systems. I am so pleased that we could play a role in the funding for Mia Casa, and appreciate Senator Garcia’s advocacy in bringing this important project forward. Senator Garcia is a champion of our seniors and as Chair of the Senate Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs, she is constantly seeking innovative solutions to address the challenges faced by the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples).
On April 24, 2020, in preparation for and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust began operating a housing site in North Miami for senior citizens experiencing homelessness who were at high risk of serious illness from the virus.
Dubbed Mia Casa, more than 600 seniors have passed through its doors over the past three years. Senator Garcia secured a $1.75 million special appropriation to assist Miami-Dade County Public Housing and Community Development and the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust with the purchase of a dedicated, permanent site for Mia Casa.
The Homeless Trust purchased the property on January 31, 2023. A former Assisted Living Facility, the property has 65 rooms, and currently houses 120 senior citizens. The Homeless Trust funds the operations of the facility. Mia Casa allows for the quick placement of seniors from the streets, and the Homeless Trust works to bridge seniors living there to other housing in the community.
North Florida News
Senator Linda Stewart joins Senator Jim Boyd in co-sponsoring SB 724: Seagrass Restoration
Tallahassee, FL – Senator Linda Stewart (D – Orlando) is joining Senator Jim Boyd (R – Bradenton) by co-sponsoring SB 724: Florida Seagrass Restoration Technology Development Initiative.
This bill creates a Seagrass Restoration Technology Development Initiative within the Department of Environmental Protection. This Initiative’s purpose is to help expedite the creation of new technologies and approaches to help restore coastal seagrass ecosystems and establishes an advisory council consisting of experts to oversee the implementing of these efforts.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, seagrass is a vital part of a healthy marine ecosystem by helping maintain water quality, provide food and habitat for marine organisms, and supporting local economies.
The seagrass restoration initiative must submit an annual report to the governor and help with the creation of a 10 year restoration plan to implement technologies developed under the initiative.
“Protecting Florida’s natural resources has always been a priority of mine and this bill will improve the quality of our water, restore marine life, and keep our coastlines healthy,” said Stewart.
North Florida News
Florida State Senator Rosalind Osgood Responds to Nashville’s Deadly School Shooting
Tallahassee, FL – In response to yesterday’s tragic event that occurred at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, Senator Rosalind Osgood (D-Broward County) released the following statement:
“Yesterday, we again experienced the undeniable deep feeling of sorrow caused by another school shooting. If only this and other acts of mass murder did not happen. But the reality is that we live in a time when death and attacks on the innocent has become all too routine. Too many of our schools, churches, clubs, grocery stores, and neighborhoods have been shooting galleries over the past years.
Homicide, murder, and suicide by firearms are the highest cause of death for our nation’s children and youth.
For every responsible gun user there is three times as many irresponsible gun users. There is an evident need for gun law reform. If we fail to ignore this problem, more lives will be lost.”
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