State Rep. Diane Hart discussed legislative priorities for Florida’s Black Caucus at a news conference Wednesday in the Capitol’s fourth floor Rotunda.
Hart, along with other senators and representatives, took the lead in expressing concerns for key areas and initiatives that will shape their agenda for the state’s Black communities in the coming months.
Two main factors that Hart and other members of the caucus elaborated on were criminal justice reform and education equity. Hart emphasized the caucus’ commitment to addressing systemic issues that disproportionately affect Black communities.
Hart, a Tampa representative, said that for the past six years she has worked for criminal justice reform in the state of Florida. She also highlighted the harsh reality of the correctional system and the ignorance that is inflicted upon the those in the system.
“One of the issues I will address, I have been working on the criminal justice reform for six years in the state of Florida,” Hart said. “Our correction system is crumbling because for years the structural needs of facilities have been ignored.”
The legislators stressed the importance of fostering a fair and equitable criminal justice system that ensures the well-being of all citizens.
Another pivotal aspect highlighted during the news conference was the caucus’ dedication to promoting education equity. Rep. Marie Woodson underscored the need for increased funding in predominantly Black school districts, ensuring that students have access to quality education and housing regardless of their ZIP code.
Woodson, a Hollywood representative, said that her main focus is on bills she’s curating, two of them being House Bill 1067 and House Bill 1383. She said aside from those bills in progress, her main issue voting in the community.
“Besides sharing with two of some of the bills I’m working on… HB1067 which is a post-secondary education for students who are impacted by homelessness…also HB1383 that has to do with Black woman’s maternal mortality,” Woodson said. “In all the other bills we are working on that can impact the community, I have one issue that is very passionate in the Black community and it’s about voting.”
For Florida A&M University students, these legislative priorities carry substantial implications. The focus on criminal justice reform aligns with the concerns of many students who advocate for social justice and equality.
FAMU, a historically Black university, stands to benefit from the caucus’ commitment to addressing systemic issues, fostering an environment that empowers its diverse student body.
FAMU students can anticipate positive outcomes from these initiatives, as they align with the university’s commitment to social justice and providing an inclusive and high-quality education.
The news conference served as a beacon of hope for positive change, signaling a collective effort to address long-standing issues that impact marginalized communities.