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As many of you know, AFP-FL has long been involved in working to ensure educational freedom. Our goal is to ensure that every child is able to receive an education that best meets their individual needs and are given the best chance possible to succeed. This year the Governor, House, and Senate have all voiced support for education scholarship accounts so that parents and their children are able to have a choice when it comes to their education. AFP-FL is thankful for this effort and have voiced our support, while remaining committed to a goal of universal educational freedom. That way everyone, regardless of their income or the zip code they reside in, are able to take advantage of the same opportunities.
In Health policy, AFP-FL has been a leading voice for improving care by expanding access and driving down costs through fostering new entrepreneurship. This year AFP-FL is lending their voice to the repeal of certificate of need laws that require medical providers to receive a permission slip from the government – and potential competitors – before they are allowed to build a new hospital or expand an existing one. This is a costly process that prevents much-need access to patients.
And finally, AFP-FL is continuing its expansion into criminal justice reform. Barriers in society can come in a variety of ways and the current criminal justice system is just such an example. AFP-FL advocates for a thoughtful, smart on crime approach that holds law-breakers accountable and protects victims, but offers a path to redemption for those who have paid their debt to society and want a second chance. To that end we are pleased with the introduction of the Florida First Step Act, an act of legislation modeled after the recently signed federal First Step Act. The proposed act would give judges more latitude on mandatory minimums; provide funding for rehabilitative, educational and training services; and create strong incentives for certain prisoners to take advantage of them by offering “time credits” that could allow inmates who want to transform their lives to serve out parts of their sentences under post-release supervision.
Friday, March 15th Update.
This week was a big week for education policy in Tallahassee as the House heard their version of an education package designed to expand state sponsored scholarships for students. HB 7075 was just filed in the house and would create the Family Empowerment Scholarship which would offer qualifying families the chance to customize their child’s education by paying for the child’s private school tuition, online courses, tutoring, transportation and/or other qualified expenses.
This is a big step towards our goal of universal scholarships, which would allow every child the freedom to choose the education that best fits their individual needs. AFP-FL Policy Director Phillip Suderman testified in support of the bill and the committee ended up passing it by an overwhelming 15-2 vote.
More information on our current stances, click here.