The Florida Legislative Session is in full swing and our elected officials have been hard at work. Many are working to improve regulations and procedures and others are looking for new ways to protect Floridians and our free state of life. It takes all of the individuals that make up the Florida Legislature working together to ensure that our rights and freedoms are upheld. This week we will highlight the 10 bills that Representative Shane Abbott has sponsored in the 2024 Session and where they stand.

HB 141 – Regional Rural Development Grants Program; “Removes requirement that certain grants received by regional economic development organization must be matched in certain manner; removes provision requiring certain consideration; removes certain demonstration requirements of program applicants.” The last action concerning the bill was it was added to Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee agenda on Friday, February 2, 2024, 4:19 PM.

HB 327 – Placement of Surrendered Newborn Infants – “Requires community-based care lead agencies to maintain specified registry; requires that certain information be removed from registry; prohibits lead agency from transferring certain costs to prospective adoptive parents; revises entity responsible for surrendered infants from licensed child-placing agencies to community-based care lead agencies; provides requirements for lead agencies once they take physical custody of surrendered newborn infant.” The last action concerning the bill was the First Reading on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, 11:31 PM.

HB 631 – Aftercare Services Under Road-To-Independence Program – “Revises eligibility requirements for young adult to receive aftercare services; limits aftercare services available to certain young adults; authorizes DCF to distribute federal funds to young adults, regardless of their eligibility, under certain circumstances.” The last action for the bill was that it was added to Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee agenda on Friday, February 2, 2024, 3:58 PM.

HB 659 – Health Plans – “Prohibits health plans from declining to participate in filed claims; provides defaults against health plans for failure to respond; requires health plans to pay providers amounts provided in claim dispute orders under certain circumstances; requires prescription drug benefits-ID cards & health insurance & HMO ID cards to include specified information.” The bill’s last event was in Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee on Friday, January 26, 2024, 11:17 AM.

HB 795 – Career & Technical Education – “Requires school districts to offer at least four, instead of two, career-themed courses; provides requirements for such courses; & revises requirements for calculation of school & district grades.” This bill was withdrawn prior to introduction on Wednesday, December 27, 2023, 11:01 AM.

HB 1083 – Permanency For Children – “Revises & creates provisions relating to dependent children, including criminal history records checks, removing children from court-ordered placement, evidence required to amend case plans, Guardianship Assistance Program, notice requirements, review of DCF denial of application to adopt, home studies, adoption assistance services, & photo listing component of statewide adoption exchange.” The last action on this bill was Now in Appropriations Committee on Friday, January 26, 2024, 2:12 PM.

HB1165 – Town of Sneads, Jackson County – “Transfers real property from Board of Trustees of Internal Improvement Trust Fund to Town Council of Town of Sneads; provides requirements for use & sale or disposition of real property; requires conveyance of real property by specified date.” The last action for this bill was it was added to State Affairs Committee agenda on Monday, February 5, 2024, 4:12 PM.

HB 1189 – Corporate Actions – “Provides defective corporate action is not void or voidable in certain circumstances; requires board of directors to take action to ratify defective corporate action; provides quorum & voting requirements for ratification of defective corporate actions; requires notice be given to shareholders of corporate action taken by board of directors; requires corporations to file articles of validation; provides registered agent may resign from certain companies or corporations by delivering statement of resignation to DOS; provides registered agents may pay one resignation fee regardless of whether resigning from one or multiple inactive or dissolved companies or corporations.” The last action was it was favorable with CS by Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee on Tuesday, February 6, 2024 3:20 PM.

HB1289 – Verification of Reemployment Assistance Benefit Eligibility – “Provides requirements for reemployment assistance benefit conditions for non-Florida residents; removes requirements that certain skills assessments of claimants be voluntary; revises circumstances under which Department of Commerce disqualifies claimants from benefits; requires department to verify claimants’ identities before paying benefits & to weekly cross-check certain information; prohibits benefits from being paid for claims that have not been cross-checked; requires department to procure online workforce search & match tool for specified purpose.” The last event for the bill was favorable with CS by Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee on Tuesday, February 6, 2024 3:20 PM.

HB 1301 – Department of Transportation – “ Removes provisions requiring DOT secretary to appoint inspector general; revises provisions relating to acceptance & processing of electronic payments to Florida Turnpike Enterprise; authorizes DOT to enter into service contracts to finance projects; prohibits DOT from considering nonpecuniary factors when developing transportation plans; creates Supply Chain Innovation Grant Program; requires DOC & DOT to consider applications & select grant awardees; requires each award made for vertiport development to be matched by nonstate funds; requires funds appropriated from State Transportation Trust Fund for New Starts Transit Program to revert to trust fund; revises provisions relating to public transit providers & vehicles.” The last action for this bill was CS Filed on Tuesday, February 6, 2024 1:02 PM.

Representative Shane Abbott was contacted, and he provided the following update on the 2024 Session:

“We are having a very productive Legislative Session! In addition to supporting Speaker Renner’s priorities on issues such as online safety and social media restrictions for young children, our office is sponsoring a number of bills that we hope will receive a vote by the full Florida House soon.

One of these bills is HB 1083, which streamlines many adoption and foster care processes to ensure more children can find loving, permanent homes, while also enhancing safety protections for children by way of background checks and other requirements.

On Health Care, we are continuing to fight on the frontlines to hold health care providers accountable and make sure Floridians have access to the best prices and treatments available. I’ve sponsored HB 659, which ensures that health providers must provide critical documents during a claim dispute in order to reach a resolution in a timely and cost-effective matter. This legislation recently passed its second committee stop.

We’re also spearheading a number of appropriations requests to bring critical funding to our communities, particularly regarding transportation, public education, and health infrastructure projects.

I urge constituents to reach out to our office if they have any questions at all!”

As of the writing of this article, the last bill number for The Florida House was bill number 105. A review of the bills provided a wide range of issues, such as social media for minors, water and sewer rates, term limits for County Commissions and the list goes on. We will keep an eye on not only Rep. Abbott’s bills but a few others that might affect our county and our free living. I encourage you to vote in August and November 2024 for individuals who are engaged and knowledgeable concerning issues that affect your freedoms and rights and your community. I will leave you with that thought and that concludes this week’s The Straight Truth With Mary Ann Hutton.

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Mary Ann Hutton
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