SB 64/HB 185, State Park Fees, by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) and Representative Larry Lee, Jr. (D-Port St. Lucie), passed the Florida Legislature yesterday. The bill provides licensed foster families and certain adoptive families with a free annual pass to state parks in Florida and a fifty percent discount on base campsite fees.
“We have these wonderful, generous families who open their homes because of their love of children,” said Senator Bean. “What better way to recognize them and show our appreciation than by allowing them to enjoy family time in Florida’s parks for free?”
There are currently over 32,000 children in Florida’s child welfare system. Each year, approximately 3,000 children are adopted and numerous others served by over 5,000 foster families in Florida.
“The contribution of Florida’s foster families is priceless, whether they help a child in need for a few weeks or provide a forever home,” stated Representative Lee.
Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director of Florida’s Guardian ad Litem Office, noted, “There are many kinds of heroes, and someone who tells a child that has been abused or neglected that he or she has a home is a hero in my book. We should support these families and celebrate them every way we can.”
SB 64/HB 185 allows the Division of Recreation and Parks, within the Department of Environmental Protection, to develop a procedure for families obtaining the state park discount. It also formalizes the partnership between the Division and the Department of Children and Families to promote fostering and the adoption of special needs children. HB 185 will now go before Governor Scott to be signed into law.
Click here to watch Senator Bean present the bill on the Senate floor.