As we enter the seventh week of Florida’s state-lawmaking session, our legislative roundtable series continues in a conversation with State Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, who represents Senate District 28 which covers portions of Collier, Hendry and Lee Counties. We spoke with Sen. Passidomo the morning after last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County.
As the tragic shooting was occurring, Passidomo was working to secure funding for a measure (SB 1434) that would help Florida school districts to better identify and address mental health concerns in students early on. We also explored her legislative efforts to address Florida’s affordable housing challenges, elder abuse, a proposed ban on marriages involving minors and an effort to establish a Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome pilot project in Southwest Florida to better serve the needs of babies born addicted to opiates and their families. Plus, we explore a measure (SB 1402/ HB 7043) that aims to place a longstanding federal program protecting Florida’s freshwater wetlands under state control. The bill is advancing rapidly in both legislative chambers despite concerns from environmental advocacy organizations. Senior Environmental Policy Specialist with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Amber Crooks, joins us for a closer look.