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Jordan's Law won't be heard by Florida Senate

Rep. Latvala plans to file bill again in Jan.
Posted: 11:40 PM, May 03, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-06 23:21:51Z
Lawmaker plans to file 'Jordan's Law'

LARGO, Fla. -- A bill designed to better protect children in the child welfare system will not be heard by the Florida Senate.

State representative Chris Latvala filed a bill called "Jordan's Law" in January.

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The bill passed unanimously in the House, but the Senate failed to take it up claiming there were legal issues with the bill.

The legislative session ended on Friday.

"The reason they gave today was they discovered some legal issues with the bill in the Senate which I think is nonsense," said Rep. Chris Latvala.

"DCF and FDLE helped me draft the bill and were very instrumental in helping draft it and they also have their own attorneys that look at it," he added.

The bill called "Jordan's Law" was named after 2-year-old Jordan Belliveau. Investigators said his mother murdered him by striking him in the head and leaving him in the woods in Largo in 2018.

"Both of his parents had interactions with law enforcement and law enforcement did not know at the time there was an open child protective investigation going on," Latvala said.

The bill would require law enforcement to be notified when they respond to calls where a person or caregiver is the subject of a child protective investigation.

"Currently, when law enforcement has an interaction with these people, there's no way of knowing there is an active child protective investigation," Latvala said.

The bill also would reduce workload for caseworkers meaning the maximum caseload would be no more than 15 children, if possible. The bill also asked for a training program for caseworkers.

They would be better trained to detect a brain injury or head trauma in a child under 6 years of age.

"The child welfare system in Florida has an issues for years," Latvala said.

"The bill was directly related to issues that resulted in deaths not just baby Jordan, but other tragedies," he added.

The legislative session ended on Friday. Latvala said he plans to file the bill during the next legislative session in January.

"It will be the very first bill that I file next legislative session," he said.

"I'm not going to give up," he added.