The Florida Legislature will create a batch of new specialty license tags in the final days of the session, including one for "Lauren's Kids," a foundation dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse run by the daughter of South Florida lobbyist Ron Book.
Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, an enthusiastic supporter of specialty tags, is sponsor of a Senate amendment to create the new Lauren's Kids tag. "Her cause is extremely important," Brandes said of Lauren Book. "It's a good cause and I'm excited to support it."
Lauren Book recently completed a 1,500 mile walk to call attention to the issue of child sexual abuse, and many legislative leaders attended a rally outside the state Capitol. The group's website, www.laurenskids.org, says its cause is "to prevent sexual abuse through awareness and education, and to help survivors heal with guidance and support."
For three years, Lauren's Kids has been one of the causes to which motorists can donate $1 when they renew their motor vehicle registrations, so there's a ready universe of Florida drivers interested in buying the tag, which will cost an extra $25. The foundation has paid to include 6 million inserts in motorists' car registration applications, mailed by tax collectors.
The budget awaiting a final vote by legislators includes $500,000 for Lauren's Kids, plus another $3 million for an elementary school curriculum developed jointly by Lauren's Kids and the Monique Burr Foundation of Jacksonville. Ron Book said the goal of the two groups is to make the curriculum mandatory in grades 1-5 all over the U.S.
Ron Book is one of the Capitol's most experienced lobbyists. He's the lead lobbyist seeking to pass a bill that would create a mechanism for taxpayer subsidies of the Miami Dolphins' home, Sun Life Stadium.
-- Steve Bousquet