Q&A with Florida State Representative Cyndi Stevenson, District 17

Q: Can you give us an update (as of interview date of March 15) on the bills you are sponsoring this session?
A: The voter privacy bill for minors was just passed out of committee and we are hopeful that it will become law this year. It still has to go through two more committees before it gets to the floor.

Q: What does this bill entail?
A: This bill is a priority for the supervisors of elections. If you are a registered voter, your voter identification, name, address, gender, political party and birthdate are all public record. This information is aggregated into a State of Florida website that can be easily accessed and searched for little or no cost. Minors who have pre-registered to vote also have all this information out there. Some minors have received credit card solicitations and even letters from prison inmates who have accessed this information and it makes parents very uncomfortable. We are trying to protect the information of minors.

Q: Do you have any other bills in committee?
A: I have a bill being heard next week in committee, addressing peer specialists. This will allow more people to serve as peer specialists, which have been found to be very helpful in support for people overcoming addiction.

Along the lines of this, the Health and Human Services Committee has spent two sessions talking about the state’s suicide epidemic. St. Johns County actually has the highest suicide rate in Northeast Florida and is higher than the national average for white males who are not veterans. We need to come together as a community and find ways to possibly detect and hopefully prevent suicide. I understand St. Johns County has applied for a grant to bring more information to the community about suicide in an effort to prevent these tragic outcomes.

Q: What can you tell us about the work of the Insurance and Banking Committee, which you chair?
A: We will be hearing a bill to curtail the assignment of insurance benefits fraud. Most people in Florida will see an increase in their homeowners insurance costs and this directly correlates to the increase in assignment of benefits fraud. This issue is a concern to many state legislators and we are working hard to find a way to stop it.

Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you?

A: Readers can email me at Cyndi.Stevenson@myfloridahouse.gov or call my local office at (904) 823-2300.