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Down syndrome

Fate of program for disabled children rests with Rick Scott

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Debby Dawson, who lives in southwest Florida, has a simple message to Gov. Rick Scott: The state’s existing scholarship program for disabled children is “life changing” and has helped her 7-year-old autistic son “develop by leaps and bounds.” Dawson is part of a chorus of parents from around the state who have mounted a campaign through letters, emails and phone calls urging the Republican governor to sign a sweeping education bill that will soon come to his desk. But that…

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Rick Scott signs 20 bills into law

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Florida consumers will now have another layer of protection when they get a hospital bill under legislation signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott. Scott signed 20 bills into law Thursday, including a bill (HB 221) meant to increase transparency at Florida hospitals. Among other things, the bill stops consumers from receiving bills from out-of-network providers for the cost of healthcare not covered by insurance, as long as it was an emergency situation. The bill also calls on hospitals to…

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Rick Scott declares this week ‘Down Syndrome Awareness Week’

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It’s already Wednesday, but that didn’t mean it was too late for Gov. Rick Scott to declare the week of March 14-18 Down Syndrome Awareness Week. Scott’s office declared the designation Wednesday afternoon, along with a formal proclamation with the force of law marking out this week as one in observance of the developmental disorder, which affects nearly 400,000 Americans and their families. “I’m proud to recognize this week as Down Syndrome Awareness Week in Florida. Every individual in our state should have…

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Legislature passes measure to aid disabled

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In what Senate President Andy Gardiner called the last of a “trifecta” of first-week bills, a measure to help people with disabilities get jobs is heading to Gov. Rick Scott. The Florida Senate unanimously approved the bill (HB 7003) on Friday. Gardiner, an Orlando Republican, has a son with Down syndrome and has pushed several bills this year to help those with disabilities. The final bill in the package is intended to encourage state agencies to hire disabled employees. It also establishes a…

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Bills for disabled kids’ education, employment pass Senate

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A package of bills moving through the Florida Legislature seeks to enhance the education and employment prospects for disabled children. The bills, which passed the state Senate Wednesday, have a powerful champion: State Senate President Andy Gardiner, who has a child with Down syndrome. One bill allows universities to set up courses of post-secondary study for the intellectually disabled. Another aims to increase employment of the disabled in state government and encourage it in private industry. Another allows tax-free personal…

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