Minority Office — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2021
Senate Democrats' Blueprint for American Rescue Plan Act's Relief for Floridians
Medicaid Expansion Implementation
The American Rescue Plan Act relieves states of the initial cost sharing burden associated with expanding Medicaid. Senate Democrats are calling for Florida to take advantage of this provision by immediately expanding the program to provide health care coverage for up to 1.5 million Floridians. While the cost-savings associated with Medicaid expansion will result in more available revenue for the state long-term, these funds will cover any up-front costs associated with the expansion of the program.
Rent Relief and Eviction Protection
Supplements rent assistance already available through federal COVID-19 relief programs. These funds will provide up to $6,252 per household to cover unpaid rent. This program brings the total funds available to a level that would ensure the ability of struggling Floridians to cover the average cost for rent for the entire duration of the pandemic thus far.
Landlord Assistance and Late Fee Elimination
Provides relief to tenants facing late fees and to landlords who are struggling to keep up with maintenance and upkeep costs as a result of the pandemic. Funds will be granted to landlords of properties who have not received rent payments as a result of the pandemic. The funding will be provided after a landlord provides information documenting upkeep costs, returns any late fees collected during the pandemic, and removes any pending or future late fees until the state of emergency is lifted. Funds provided shall not exceed 40% of the total rent owed on the property.
Affordable Housing (Sadowski) Protection
This appropriation would prevent the sweeping of the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund by covering the programs currently slated to be allocated from its coffers. These funds would cover matches and revolving loans for low-income and frontline communities to replace old sewer lines, septic-to-sewer conversions, enhanced water quality monitoring, and to bring wastewater treatment plants up to advanced water treatment standards.
Provides a one-time grant of $1,500 to private sector essential critical infrastructure employees as defined by the Department of Homeland Security who make under $30 per hour.
Payments to Teachers and Support Staff
Provides one-time grants of $1,500 to all public school teachers and support staff.
Relief for Hospitality and Tourism Workers
Provides a one-time $1,000 grant to individuals in the hospitality and tourism industry who lost employment as a result of the pandemic. After 60 days eligibility would expand to individuals who were not let go but who experienced a reduction of hours during the pandemic.
Investing in Future Teachers
Provides a $10,000 grant to teaching students on the condition that they teach for a minimum of 3 years in the State of Florida. This would cover up to 5,000 new teachers in Florida.
School Infrastructure Funding
Provides funds to repair and/or replace buildings, roofs, sidewalks, and fences, especially in low-income areas.
Statewide Commitment to End Food Insecurity
Establishes population based grants through the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to increase assistance ad participation in healthy food initiatives in all 412 municipalities in that state.
Florida Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program
Provides one-time grants of up to $25,000 to Florida’s small businesses to cover losses suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Small Business Website Grants
Grants up to $2,500 to small businesses in Florida for the purpose of establishing business websites.
Small County Emergency Operations Funding
Funds the construction of emergency operations centers and other related infrastructure in small counties.
Eliminating Florida’s Court Backlog
Provides funds for state attorneys, public defenders, appellate public defenders, capital collateral regional counsels, conflict counsels, and guardian ad litems to assist in working through the backlog of cases caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Florida Court Administration
Meets the request by the Office of State Court Administrators to fund temporary adjudicatory and case support resources to address the significant additional workload created by the pandemic.
GIS Broadband Availability Mapping
Funds the creation of GIS maps detailing broadband availability in Florida.
Broadband Opportunity Program
Awards grants to applicants seeking to expand broadband internet service to unserved and underserved areas of the state.
Re-Employment Assistance Modernization
Provides funding for the Department of Economic Opportunity to upgrade the re-employment assistance systems. This includes the major fixes to the CONNECT website.
Re-Employment Assistance Operations
Provide funds to support additional staff and resources required to work through the state’s backlog of re-employment assistance cases.