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Senate panel to consider ‘healthy marriage’ guide

Book would be produced with private funds.

The push to create a state-sanctioned Guide to a Healthy Marriage is back for 2020, and will get its first Senate committee hearing this week.

On Tuesday afternoon, Children, Families, and Elder Affairs will consider SB 682, a perennial refile from Ocala Republican Dennis Baxley.

Baxley, who first carried this bill when he was in the House years ago, sees a compelling state interest: “mounting evidence” of the costs of “issues related to divorce.”

The bill has a number of components.

If ratified, it would create a “Marriage Education Committee.” This committee would include six “marriage and family advocates.”

DeSantis would appoint two of those advocates. The House Speaker and the Senate President would each appoint two more.

The guide will be paid for with private funds and having access to it would be a prerequisite for a marriage license.

The publication would address “conflict management, communication skills, family expectations, financial responsibilities and management, domestic violence resources, and parenting responsibilities.”

Should the Senate version make it out of the Tuesday committee, it would have two more stops: Judiciary and Rules.

Jacksonville Republican Rep. Clay Yarborough is again championing the measure (HB 319) in the Florida House, where it has three committee referrals, but has yet to make an agenda.

Yarborough, in explaining his support of the bill (a re-file for him also), stressed economic utility, saying a national study performed by the New York-based Institute for American Values showed $1.9 billion annual costs to taxpayers due to “family fragmentation.”

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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