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Florida Commission of Poverty – Legislation Introduced

HB 371 and SB 556

Florida Commission on Poverty

Proposed Legislation

SB 556: Florida Commission on Poverty (excerpts)

  • The commission shall consist of one voting member appointed by the Governor, one voting member appointed by the Chief Financial Officer, one voting member appointed by the President of the Senate, one voting member appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and one voting member from the Florida Association for Community Action, Inc. [emphasis added]
  • The commission shall...(6) (b) Conduct a study and develop strategies to address the causes of poverty in the state.
  • (8) By January 15 of each year, the commission shall submit an annual report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives containing an accounting of its activities and recommendations for legislative, administrative, and regulatory reforms to facilitate efforts in mitigating the existence of poverty in this state.

Remarks by Florida Association for Community Action

Florida Poverty Commission Press Conference remarks by Wilma McKay, FACA Executive Director (excerpts)

  • We feel that the establishment of this Poverty Commission will help to better coordinate services to the poor in our state and fill that critical need and we fully support the passing of this Bill.
  • We believe that this Poverty Commission could provide the opportunity to develop new strategies and recommendations for tackling poverty statewide. That it would be an important step toward building the political will  essential for policy changes that would benefit low-income families in our state and that would help them to find a pathway out of poverty.  We believe that the establishment of this Poverty Commission would create an atmosphere of sensitivity to the impact on low-income communities when Legislation is passed in our State.
  • Several states have Statewide Anti-Poverty Initiatives where actions have been taken to fight poverty and focus attention on the need to lift more low income citizens into the economic mainstream and we believe this Florida Poverty Commission could do the same or more.
    • Alabama – created a House Task Force on Poverty
    • Colorado – established a bipartisan Common Good Caucus of Legislators focused on addressing poverty in public policy
    • Connecticut – set an anti poverty target to cut child poverty in half
    • District of Columbia – established a Commission on Poverty to measure the success of local anti poverty programs and make recommendations on methods to reduce poverty
    • Delaware – issued an Executive Order to establish the Child Poverty Task Force
    • Illinois – created a Commission on the Elimination of Poverty to reduce it by 50%
    • Iowa – created the Successful Families Caucus to explore a variety of approaches to tackling poverty and to change the way its Legislature thinks about poverty
    • Maine – a Council on Poverty and Economic Security
    • Michigan – sponsored a Poverty Summit to address the needs of the state’s low-income residents
    • Minnesota – created a Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020
    • Oregon – passed a State law goal to eliminate or alleviate poverty and established a benchmark to cut poverty to 10% of the state’s population
    • Rhode Island – established a bipartisan Commission on Family Income and Asset Building

Press Coverage

Bill would give unemployment agency added task — easing poverty in Florida, The Palm Beach Post, October 22, 2015

Legislation introduced to create Florida Commission on Poverty: Lawmakers believe coordinated effort could reduce poverty, WJXT-Channel 4, October 22, 2015


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