The Advocacy Center has the authority to educate, inform and assist the Florida legislature regarding proposals that would affect individuals with disabilities. Our work in the legislative arena includes seeking to protect or improve rights, services and opportunities. We also work to improve systems that prevent, detect and stop abuse and neglect. In carrying out our responsibility to advocate in the legislative arena, we monitor, evaluate and react to bills and often participate in the development and consideration of proposed legislation.

2010 Public Policy Priority Issues



Conforming bills

  • HB 5101  Prekindergarten through Grade 12 Education
  • HB 5201  Postsecondary Education
  • HB 5301  Medicaid
  • HB 5303  Agency for Persons with Disabilities
  • HB 5305  Child Welfare
  • HB 5307  Mental Health and Substance Abuse
  • HB 5311  Department of Health
  • HB 5401  State Judicial System



Protect Individuals with Disabilities from Abuse And Neglect, Including Inappropriate Restraint And Seclusion

Evaluation of proposals related to systems of prevention, detection and correction of abuse and neglect, including improvements to employee background screening systems.

  • SB 340    Ex-offenders/Licensing & Employment
  • HB 961    Criminal Justice
  • SB 1520  Background Screening
  • HB 7069  Background Screening


Rights Protection

Protect and Promote the Rights of Individuals with Disabilities 

Cross Disability Concerns

Evaluation of proposals impacting people with disabilities such as bills related to child protection, adult protection, psychiatric medication and children in foster care, guardianship and guardian advocacy, voters with disabilities, youth in juvenile justice, and due process. 

  • HB 1567  Psychotropic Medication to Children in Out of Home Placements
  • SB 2718  Psychotropic Medication to Children in Out of Home Placements
  • SB 4       Educational Accountability
  • HB 61     High School Graduation
  • SB 120    Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test
  • HB 209    Student Assessment in the Public Schools
  • SB 420    Student Assessment/Public Schools/FCAT
  • HB 7053  Public School Assessments
  • HB 473    Public School Education
  • SB 1154  Public School Education
  • HB 747    Care of Public School Students with Diabetes
  • SB 896    Students with Diabetes
  • SB 1360  Corporal Punishment/Inappropriate/Excessive
  • SB 900    Elections
  • HB 7101    Voter Interface Device Requirements
  • SB 960    Corrections
  • SB 242    Restraints/Use During Juvenile Proceedings
  • HB 813    Juvenile Justice Facilities and Programs
  • SB 1012  Juvenile Justice Facilities and Programs
  • SB 1072  Juvenile Justice
  • SB 1550  Juvenile Justice
  • HB 817    Assisted Living Facilities
  • SB 1102  Assisted Living Facilities/Residents

Mental Health

Protection or expansion of existing rights under the Baker Act (394 F.S.) and the Forensic Client Services Act (916 F.S.), evaluation of proposals related to criminal justice diversion and other due process issues and rights protection issues that arise. 

  • SB 476    Medicaid/Behavioral Health Services
  • HB 583    Medicaid/Behavioral Health
  • SB 1140  Mental Health (Crime Reduction Act)
  • HB 1189  Mental Health (Crime Reduction Act)
  • HB 1213  Mental Health (Florida Mental Health Act)
  • SB 2678   Mental Health (Florida Mental Health Act)
  • HB 1327   Forensic Mental Health
  • SB 2612   Forensic Mental Health

Developmental Disabilities

Evaluation of proposals regarding the waitlist, new systems for prioritization, new assessment systems, individual budgeting, needs for increased funding, protection of existing services, the Developmental Disabilities Bill of Rights, and other issues. 

  • HB 577    Community Residential Homes
  • HB 645    Community Residential Homes
  • SB 1166  Community Residential Homes
  • SB 2614  Community Residential Homes
  • SB 2396  Persons with Disabilities
  • SB 2340  Agency for Persons with Disabilities
  • PCB HCS 10-02    Agency for Persons with Disabilities
  • HB 107    Autism
  • SB 214    Autism



Protect and Promote Rights to Educational Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

Stopping Abusive Use of Restraint and Seclusion in Schools

Elimination of seclusion, elimination of mechanical restraint and reduction of manual physical restraint in schools; rights to parental notification; regulation of use; prohibition of certain restraints; enhanced training requirements; and new monitoring and reporting systems.

  • HB 1073  Persons with Disabilities
  • U.S. House of Representatives 4247 - Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in School Act
  • United States Senate 2860 - Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act



Protect and Promote Self-Determination, Self-Advocacy, and Economic Self-Sufficiently for Individuals with Disabilities


Enactment of state law regarding definition of “special needs” and “special needs” set asides and support for the legislative priorities of the Florida Supportive Housing Coalition and the Sadowski Coalition.

  • HB 95     Distribution of Proceeds/Excise Taxes on Documents
  • SB 262    Affordable Housing
  • SB 264    Affordable Housing
  • HB 665    Affordable Housing
  • SB 1250  State Housing Trust Fund
  • SB 1432  State Housing Trust Fund

Mental Health Parity

Enactment of state law regarding revision of requirements and limitations for optional coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment.

  • HB 7       Coverage for Mental and Nervous Disorders
  • SB 182    Coverage for Mental and Nervous Disorders

Medicaid Buy-In Coverage

Enactment of this Congressionally approved Medicaid option in Florida; expansion of work opportunities for people with disabilities who work and do not have insurance coverage or want to work but are impeded by potential loss of existing  Medicaid coverage.

  • HB 837    Medicaid Buy-in for Persons with Disabilities
  • SB 2038   Medicaid Buy-In Program/People with Disabilities

Your U.S. Congress

It doesn't take a trip to Washington to get to know your lawmaker. Here are 10 things you can learn online:

1. Who is your representative?

Using your ZIP code, you can check Project Vote Smart's web site for the names of your lawmakers.

2. What's your lawmaker's background?

Web sites for the Senate and House of Representatives have links to lawmakers' official biographies, the committees the serve on, phone numbers and mailing addresses. Many also have their own Facebook and/or Twitter accounts.

3. Where does your lawmaker get his or her campaign money?

The Center for Responsive Politics analyzes where candidates get their campaign money and how they spend it. Click on Politicians & Elections and follow the menu options.

4. How much is your lawmaker worth?

The clerk of the House and the secretary of the Senate compile annual personal financial disclosure documents that give a sense of a lawmaker's assets and income in broad ranges. The information is available at the Center for Responsive Politics Personal Finances page.

5. What's your lawmaker's voting record?

Project Vote Smart compiles lawmakers' votes by year and issue. To see all votes, go to the Senate and House of Representatives web sites, as well as OpenCongress.org.

6. Who pays for the lawmaker's trips?

Go to LegiStorm's Congressional Trips page and follow the menu options.

7. What bills has your lawmaker sponsored?

Check the Library of Congress web site.

8. How is your lawmaker spending his or her office budget?

The House posts its quarterly expense reports. The Senate information is not yet online.

9. How do interest groups rate your lawmaker?

Go to Project Vote Smart's Interest Group Ratings page, then select your state. Once you see the list of offices, click on Congress and then select your lawmaker.

10. How often does your lawmaker talk on the House or Senate floor?

C-SPAN ranks lawmakers by the number of days they spoke on the floor and has links to each appearance.