Senator Farmer, District 34 — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2020
Senator Farmer remarks on Common Sense Solutions to Covid-19 Crisis
Solutions for Florida's Citizens and Small Businesses
Florida Senator Gary Farmer (D-Lighthouse Point) today released the following statement regarding solutions the State can take toward helping Floridians during the Covid-19 crisis in Florida.
"The effects of Covid-19 are fast sweeping through our state. As a Government, it is our responsibility to provide solutions for the people of Florida. To that end, my office has identified four potential actions the state should implement right now that ensure the people and small businesses of our State are properly prepared to weather the health and economic uncertainty that lies ahead. These four steps will protect the people and small businesses, not just large corporations, of Florida during this trying time. These measures should remain in place for the duration of Florida's declared State of Emergency."
1) Waive Medicaid eligibility requirements for all residents not currently insured. People need to be secure in the knowledge that they can seek treatment for this virus and will not be saddled with crippling medical debt.
2) Waive all reemployment search requirements for residents receiving unemployment assistance. People are being told to stay indoors and limit contact with others. Forcing them to leave their homes in order to search for an unavailable job in order to meet their basic needs is inconsistent with safety recommendations and puts public health at risk.
3) Convert the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program into a Grant Program for all small businesses employing 50 or fewer people. Business owners need to make rent and keep people on payroll, not be worried about paying back the state later on. Additionally, there is only $50 million currently allocated to this program. That number needs to increase significantly.
4) Set up a reserve fund for local governments that ensure basic local needs are being met. The State has made systemic cuts to our local governments over the past 20 years while saddling them with more and more unfunded mandates. Floridians need to know that local governments will be able to pay their emergency services workers and meet their core functions.
"As I mentioned to the Senate during this afternoon's meeting, these four solutions are basic changes we can make right now that get Floridians the care and assurances they need as we fight this pandemic."