Volunteer Appreciation Letter from Alan Abromowitz, Director FL GAL Program
and Video Message from Sen. Ben Albritton
Guardian ad Litem Team:
I am continually grateful to our wonderful volunteers, amazing staff, and the support of the Florida Legislature, the Governor and First Lady!
This past week, legislators from both sides of the political aisle came together to promote the Guardian ad Litem Program, as we filmed a new public service announcement for the program. Senator Aaron Bean and Senator Audrey Gibson made a great pitch for volunteer recruitment and GAL advocacy. I can't wait to share it with you!
An impromptu stop from Senator Ben Albritton was also very appreciated! Please watch his heartwarming message to our volunteers and staff below. He is just one of many legislators who genuinely appreciates YOU and all you do to improve the lives of children.
The 2020 Legislative Session is still underway, and although the end is in sight, there are talks of extending the session in order to address budgetary matters. The Legislature is entering the time of Budget Conference very soon. This is where members from both the Senate and House are appointed to negotiate the areas of the budget where there is not agreement. Currently, we have 2 budgetary issues that are in the House budget, but not in the Senate budget. We will be working diligently to try and align the two.
There is also a cost of living increase for state workers in both House and Senate budgets at this time.
One issue that is currently now in both budgets are the benefit re-alignments for our GAL Attorneys! This is very promising for our attorneys – although these budget issues are positive news, the entire budget has not been voted on yet. That will occur after budget conference ends, usually the last issue heard in both the Senate and House.
Another area of cautious excitement is through legislation recently passed in the House and headed to the Senate, which allows certain specialty Florida license tags. Representative James Grant amended the House bill to allow Guardian ad Litem to develop a “Heartfelt Child Advocacy” license tag! We are monitoring this issue carefully, as it moves to the Senate. This would be a great benefit to our GAL Foundation in its efforts to support kids and circuit partners.
On the substantive front, SB 136 by Sen. Aaron Bean and HB 61 by Rep. Rick Roth, “Helping a Child One Veteran at a Time Act,” passed unanimously in the Senate and House. The bill will be on its way to the Governor soon! The bill will allow our OPS state employees, veterans and service members to apply for adoption incentives like those available to salaried state employees.
SB 604 by Sen. Aaron Bean and HB 197 by Rep. Bobby Payne, “Servicemembers Civil Relief Act,” passed unanimously in the Senate and House. The bill will be on its way to the Governor soon! Under this bill, military deployment would not be considered as a factor in establishing abandonment of a child.
Last, SB 124 by Sen. Aaron Bean and House Bill 185 by Rep. Spencer Roach entitled “Custody of Minor Children by Extended Family,” is still moving through the process. The Senate bill passed unanimously on the floor of the Senate and is currently waiting for a House vote. We are still hoping the House will schedule the bill for a floor vote. The bill would make it easier for family members to step in when temporary custody of children is warranted.
As you can tell, it’s been an active few weeks! I’ll keep you posted, and as always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out to me anytime!
Alan F. Abramowitz
Board Certified in Juvenile Law
GAL Volunteers & Employee of the Month - March 2020
Guardian ad Litem - PBC
Speak Up for Kids - PBC
We Appreciate Our Volunteers!
Guardian ad Litem Program - Palm Beach County
Speak Up for Kids - PBC