FSGA Working For You in Tallahassee

The regular Florida Legislative Session for 2021 ended this past April 28th.  Of the various legislative bills that FSGA was monitoring, four were enacted by the Legislature that are of particular interest.

These are awaiting the Governor’s review and anticipated signature in the coming days:

CS/CS/SB 184 – Purple Alert

The bill creates s. 937.0205, F.S., and establishes the Purple Alert to assist the search for a missing with a mental or cognitive disability, an intellectual disability or a developmental disability, and may not meet criteria for a Silver Alert.

FSGA formally went on record with legislators in support. Senator Lori Berman from Palm Beach was the prime sponsor, and Representatives Joe Casello, and Matt Willhite also from Palm Beach were sponsors along with several others.

CS/CS/HB 441 – Elder-focused Dispute Resolution Process

The bill creates in s. 44.407, F.S., an alternative dispute resolution option in which court-appointed eldercaring coordinators assist elders, their legally authorized decision makers, and their family members in resolving high-conflict disputes that can impact an elder’s safety and autonomy. Eight of Florida’s twenty judicial circuits – 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 17th, and 18th, have been piloting this process since 2015. Professional guardians that also hold at least a master’s degree, and complete certification through the Florida Supreme Court can serve as eldercaring coordinators.

FSGA has participated in the formulation of the eldercaring coordination process since 2013 and formally supported the legislation during the Session. Representative Brett Hage and Senator Dennis Baxley were the sponsors.  Both are from Sumter, Lake and Marion Counties.

CS/HB 1041 – Protection of Elderly Persons and Disabled Adults

The bill amends several statutes to, in effect, add to the definitions of abuse and exploitation of the elderly and preventing wrongdoers from serving as personal representative and inheriting or retaining a survivor interest from the abused elder. Importantly, the bill amends s. 825.1035 (Injunction against exploitation) to permit an agent under a power of attorney to sign and file the petition for a restraining order.

FSGA also supported this legislation.  Representative Colleen Burton from Polk was the principal sponsor, along with Rep. Alex Andrade from Escambia/Santa Rosa and Rep. Daisy Morales from Orange. Senator Danny Burgess from Hillsborough/Pasco was the Senate sponsor.

CS/CS/SB 714 – Resource Information for Individuals with Disabilities

The bill requires APD to provide all individuals applying for waiver services through iBudget Florida with specified written information pertaining to certain federal, state, and local assistance programs and resources, whether or not they are eligible for waiver services.

The legislation was sponsored by Senator Annette Taddeo from Miami-Dade, and Representative Allison Tant from Leon, along with several more Representatives as co-sponsors.

STATE BUDGET / iBudget Waiver Medicaid – With state revenues bouncing back and with the substantial federal stimulus money coming down from Washington, the Legislature added $80 million to the budget aiming to remove about 2,100 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities from the lengthy waiting list for Medicaid iBudget waiver services.

Over the coming months, the FSGA Legislative Committee will be focusing on assisting Chapters to make connections with their Legislators and to further FSGA’s legislative priorities.  For information or to participate in the Legislative Committee efforts, contact Gina Rossi-Scheiman, Carlos McDonald or Pam Keller.

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