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Senator Stewart, District 17 — Press Release


January 17, 2024

CONTACT: Devin Bleich, 850-487-5017

Public Safety and Education Bills Unanimously Pass Committees

Tallahassee, FL – This week, two bills (SB 46 and SB 768) sponsored by Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) passed unanimously through their respective committees. SB 46, entitled “Reading Achievement Initiative for Scholastic Excellence (R.A.I.S.E.) Program”, would expand the pre-existing R.A.I.S.E. program to include after-school tutoring.  SB 768, entitled “Duty to Report Certain Deaths”, would reclassify the penalty for failing to report certain deaths to the district medical examiner.

The R.A.I.S.E. Program was instituted by the Florida Legislature in 2021 to improve literacy rates across the state. SB 46 would allow for R.A.I.S.E. tutoring to occur after school, along with allowing school districts to provide a stipend to students and instructional personnel participating in the program. The bill also clarifies that unpaid hours for instructors can be counted toward community service hours required for high school graduation.

SB 768, also known as the Dead Body bill, would change the criminal penalty for failure to report certain deaths, as well as tampering with bodies for the purpose of obscuring evidence from a first degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony. This would allow law enforcement to obtain search warrants sooner for the purpose of investigation.

“I am pleased to see the Senate joining me in supporting legislation to improve both public safety and education. By passing SB 46, we can expand the R.A.I.S.E. program and give proper compensation to participating educators,” said Stewart. “With the passing of SB 768, we can require witnesses to make a proper report of death immediately, and discourage bad actors from tampering with bodies.”