Florida Legislature Passes ‘Fatherhood’ Bill

Chris Sprowls of Florida

The Florida Legislature passed HB 7065, sending the bill to the desk of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R). The bill establishes “fatherhood” programs with a total of $70 million to address Florida’s “fatherhood crisis.”

The Florida Senate previously voted on the bill and unanimously approved it, as did the House with a vote of 117-0 in favor.

The bill would create a “Responsible Fatherhood” website that would provide resources for fathers as well as increase stipends for students who transition out of foster care. However, the majority of the funding will go toward finding jobs for fathers who are searching.

Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor) spearheaded the bill as it was a priority of his going into the legislative session.

“From poverty to crime to incarceration, just about every negative outcome we see that faces boys here in Florida and across the country, can be linked back to an absent father in the home,” Sprowls said.

The bill received excitement from Democrats, including from Florida State Representative Ramon Alexander (D-Tallahassee) who called the bill a “game-changer.”

“This is a game-changer,” Alexander said. “This is a monumental piece of legislation that will send shockwaves throughout our state for generations to come. It will give hope to the hopeless, it will inspire those and put resources on the ground for people who are doing real work every day.”

The bill will also increase mentorship programs for at-risk youth, and Sprowls championed the bill’s passage.

“Last month Senate President @WiltonSimpson and Senators stood on the historic Capitol steps committing with the House to address the fatherhood crisis and transform the lives of our kids in the process,” Sprowls said. “Tonight, the Senate delivered a win for Florida!”

From the floor of the legislature, Florida State Rep. Thad Altman (R-Indialantic) said the bill is “just the beginning.”

“I want to tell every member in this chamber that this bill is just the beginning,” Altman said. “Florida will be a shining star to the nation in its efforts to bring us back together and to fix our most difficult problems.”

In an email from DeSantis’  Press Secretary Christina Pushaw, she did not indicate when and if DeSantis would act on the legislation.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Chris Sprowls” by Chris Sprowls.





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