Because walks and singles are much more common than homeruns…but homeruns are great when they happen!

Just look at the results achieved during the 2012 legislative session by the Junior Leagues of Florida State Public Affairs Committee.

A key focus of FLSPAC’s advocacy work in Tallahassee is legislation to control human trafficking, a serious problem in Florida. So there were cheers when Governor Rick Scott signed two bills supported by FLSPAC (HB 0099 and HB 7049) that increase penalties for human trafficking and make significant statute changes to definitions while enhancing the implementation of the state’s human trafficking laws.

There is no doubt that human trafficking is a serious problem everywhere. According to advocacy group, thousands of people are brought across our borders every year by human traffickers, and both women and children are especially vulnerable, particularly with the sex trade.

HB 7049 directly addresses the operations of human traffickers posing as legitimate businesses, particularly massage parlors.

HB 0099, which created the Florida Safe Harbor Act, tackles the impact of sexual trafficking on its most vulnerable victims…children. Key highlights of the act:

  • Children who have been sexually exploited and taken into custody by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) must be placed in shelters and facilities that offer treatment for sexual exploitation.
  • The DCF will develop guidelines for serving sexually exploited children and report to the Legislature on criteria used for, and success of, placing children in treatment facilities.
  • Safe houses will be created for sexually exploited children.
  • The civil penalty for specified violations of prostitution will be increased from $500 to $5,000, with most of the fine going to the fight against sexual exploitation of minors.

Not every bill that FLSPAC supported passed, however.

SB 80, which would have required operators of massage establishments to maintain valid work authorization documents on the premises for employees who are not U.S. citizens and present these documents to a law enforcement officer, did not.

Also on the better-luck-next-year list is the Healthy Foods Retail Act, contained in SB 852, which would have create a state-funded financing program to help fund projects that increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables in underserved areas.

But, all in all, a good year for the statewide advocacy efforts of Florida’s 13 Junior Leagues!