As expected, Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday signed into law three bills that were priorities of House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner.
Scott approved SB 552, which “implements policies to protect and restore water and natural resources statewide, with a focus on meeting water quality and supply needs.” Crisafulli wanted the measure passed before he leaves the Legislature; this is his last year in office.
Scott also OK’d HB 7003, which “expands employment opportunities and creates a financial literacy program for individuals with disabilities,” and SB 672, which “increases educational opportunities for students with unique abilities, expands the Personal Learning Scholarship Account Program, and provides funding for school uniforms.”
They were backed by Gardiner, an advocate for people with disabilities. He has a son with Down syndrome.
“This is a great start to Session,” Scott said after the signings. “What we’ve signed today is going to help (people with disabilities) get jobs. Our weakest, our poorest, our most disadvantaged, what do you want to do? Give them a job.”
He added on the water bill, “we’re going to continue to protect the Everglades, but this is going to go further, and include our springs.”
The legislative leaders released statements afterward.
“These new laws will help us utilize responsible, science-based solutions to address our state’s water-quality and water-supply challenges; expand educational options for students and schools; and, give those with disabilities the tools they need to become more independent,” Crisafulli said. “These laws affect the lives of all Floridians and will create a stronger future for our state.”
“The complete cradle to career pathway to economic independence will make a significant impact on the lives of individuals with unique abilities and their families for generations to come,” Gardiner said. “We are blessed to have Gov. Scott and Speaker Crisafulli as partners in promoting Florida as the state where all people have access to an education suited to their own unique needs and the opportunity to achieve their career goals.”
“I am also pleased to see our statewide water and natural resources policy become law today,” Gardiner said. “This legislation will protect Florida’s unique environment for the next generation of Floridians to enjoy. The new law will increase public access to conservation lands for recreational purposes and ensure Floridians have quality water for future use through restoration and conservation efforts of our water bodies.”