Florida Senate Passes Lauren Book Bills To Protect Children, The Elderly, And Communities

April 26, 2021 — Today the Florida Senate passed six bills by Senator Lauren Book (D- Plantation) which provide protections to children with disabilities in Florida schools, ensures trauma-informed care for sexual assault survivors, promote access to care for elderly Floridians, keep bicyclists safe on roadways, and suspend the licenses of predatory physicians pending the outcome of legal charges. Two of Senator Book’s bills have already passed in the House and are on their way to the Governor’s desk for signing into law. The other four bills will be heard for a final time by the House this week.

There have been more than 78,000 incidents of restraint and nearly 21,000 incidents of seclusion reported in Florida between 2010 and 2020. Senator Book has filed legislation to prohibit seclusion and provide stricter guidelines for the use of physical restraint for students with disabilities in Florida schools four years in a row. This year’s effort, SB 192, was passed unanimously today in the Florida Senate, after being passed in the House last week.

“Students deserve to be safe at school, and parents deserve peace of mind,” says Senator Book says of SB 192, which is on its way to the Governor’s desk. “While the majority of our special education school professionals provide caring and safe learning environments for students with disabilities, we have unfortunately seen serious abuses committed as well. When Governor DeSantis signs this bill into law, students with disabilities will no longer be placed into dangerous situations including seclusion and restraint while in Florida classrooms.”

In addition to SB 192, the Senate passed five of Senator Book’s other bills, including:

SB 1242: Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, which will expand Florida’s ability to provide innovative and coordinated care for seniors, from meals to medication and transportation; this bill is up for a final vote on the House floor this week.

SB 950: Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety, which provides protections for bicyclists on Florida roadways; this bill is up for a final vote on the House floor this week.

SB 1934: Health Care Practitioner Discipline, to immediately suspend a healthcare practitioner’s license pending the legal conclusion to criminal charges of abuse against children; this bill – which was inspired by a recent string of physician arrests in South Florida involving sex crimes against children – this bill is up for a final vote on the House floor this week.

SB 716: Consent for Pelvic Examinations, which will clarify a law passed by Book last year to ensure proper consent is received for pelvic exams; this bill is up for a final vote on the House floor this week.

Senator Book, who was elected last week by her peers to lead Florida Senate Democrats from 2022-24, has now passed 10 bills through the Florida Senate this year to improve the lives of everyday Floridians and keep communities safe.