Miami-Dade urges state to improve protections for children
The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners adopted a resolution on Sept. 16 urging the state to examine reforms to improve protections for children in the wake of a number of deaths of children whose cases were handled on some level by the state’s Department of Children and Families (DCF).
Sponsored by Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa, the resolution calls on Governor Rick Scott, the Florida Legislature and the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families to create a panel tasked with investigating, reviewing and recommending changes in law and policy to protect children from preventable harm. The resolution also urges the state to prioritize the protection of at-risk youth, improve training of DCF investigators and strengthen the DCF’s relationship with local law enforcement.
According to recent Miami Herald reports, more than 477 children have died following some level of DCF investigatory activity, including 4-year-old Javon Dade, Jr., who was mauled to death last month by his father’s dogs after multiple calls to the DCF alerting them of dangerous conditions in the boy’s Miami-Dade County home.
“These horrific tragedies signal the pressing need for reform and an immediate change in the way DCF investigators assess and handle cases,” said Chairwoman Sosa. “These investigators need to be thorough and well versed in our local laws which might have helped save lives.”
Chairwoman Sosa calls on state to restore incentives for film industry
In a move to help foster economic development and job creation, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners on September 16 adopted a resolution that urges the Florida Legislature to restore incentives for the film, television and entertainment industries.
Citing the Florida Legislature’s lack of funding for the Florida Entertainment Industry Financial Incentive Program in recent sessions, the resolution sponsored by Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa highlights the need for providing continued incentives to the entertainment industry to remain in Florida.
In the span of a four year period, the Florida Entertainment Industry Financial Incentive Program led to approximately $500 million in direct spending by the entertainment industry in Miami-Dade County. Since the program’s incentives were depleted, direct spending has decreased by over 50 percent and more production companies are expected to continue taking their business to other states.
“Our economic health is based upon our ability to keep the industries we have while working to attract additional investment,” said Chairwoman Sosa. “Not continuing to incentivize the entertainment industry effectively puts Miami-Dade at a huge competitive disadvantage and results in the loss of jobs for our residents.”
County Commission calls for reforms to the student loan system
The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners approved a resolution on September 16, 2014 that was sponsored by Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa to press Congress to address the issue of student loan debt.
The resolution, which is in the spirit of a similar resolution adopted in July 2013, urges Congress to pass the Dynamic Repayment Act of 2014 (S. 2612) or similar legislation that would provide better repayment options for student borrowers. The Senate bill would simplify the student loan process, limit payments to 10 percent of a borrower’s paycheck, and provide a tiered system for loan forgiveness and static interest during repayment.
“Our nation’s young people are falling into massive debt and desperately need help to keep from defaulting. We cannot allow this issue to continue spiraling out of control,” Chairwoman Sosa said.
Student loan debt has now eclipsed credit card debt, becoming the second largest financial obligation of United States households.