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New Florida Senate Chair To Continue Mental Health, Substance Abuse Reforms For 2017

Florida Senate

The newest chairman of the committee that looks at children and elder affair issues is outlining some of his top priorities for the 2017 legislative session.

During his last term, Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) has sat on the Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee. But, this year, Senate President Joe Negron appointed him to chair the panel. And, Garcia says mental health and substance abuse is among his top priorities.

“What we started last year with Senate Bill 12, I want to make sure we expand access to those individuals with mental health disorder, the mental health diseases just as substance abuse, ensure that they get the projections that they need, ensure that we help their families, and ensure that we help their families because this is not just a disease that affects an individual,” said Garcia. “Obviously, look at the foster care system that we have in the state as well as issues affecting the elderly, and make sure they are protected as well.”

Garcia’s predecessors include former Senators Eleanor Sobel, a Democrat, and Nancy Detert, a Republican—who have both championed many child advocacy causes.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.