|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2020
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Volunteer Florida and Florida leaders applauded Governor Ron DeSantis for his support of CS/SB 1050: Disaster Volunteer Leave for State Employees which was signed and will become effective July 1, 2020. This legislation amends and expands the Florida Disaster Volunteer Leave Act which allows state employees to take administrative leave to volunteer after a disaster.
“Florida has the best disaster response in the country, and a large part of that is due to the incredible volunteers that rush in to help,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I am pleased to sign CS/SB 1050, and I encourage all state employees to visit Volunteer Connect to affiliate with a disaster services organization today.”
“Volunteering is a fundamental civic responsibility that benefits all and truly binds our communities together,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “Everyone has a skill that is helpful in times of crisis and I thank the Governor and the Legislature for making it easier for state employees to be able to generously give their time to help others.”
Under this new legislation, state employees may now request up to 120 administrative leave hours to serve with a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) organization to provide disaster response and recovery services to an area that has been declared a disaster by the Governor. Employees must have the approval of their employing agency before serving.
The Disaster Volunteer Leave for State Employees legislation was sponsored by Senator Manny Diaz and Representative Randy Maggard.
“Volunteers play a critical role in Florida’s communities, especially after disaster,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Clay Ingram. “I am incredibly grateful for the support of Governor DeSantis and the leadership of Senator Diaz and Representative Maggard to pass this important piece of legislation. We look forward to helping connect state employees with disaster relief organizations on our volunteer platform, Volunteer Connect.”
“As a native of Miami-Dade, I have seen firsthand the incredible impact that volunteers have on communities after disaster,” said Senator Diaz. “I am pleased to have worked with Volunteer Florida and Governor DeSantis on passing CS/SB 1050 which will help provide an avenue for state employees to volunteer during times of disaster.”
“During my first Legislative Session, I was honored to work with Volunteer Florida and to have sponsored the Florida Disaster Volunteer Leave Act in the House,” said Representative Maggard. “Volunteers are critical to the success of Florida’s communities, and it is important for our state to have all hands on deck when disaster strikes. I look forward to promoting Volunteer Connect as a way that state employees can get involved.”
Volunteer Connect, Florida’s official volunteer opportunities platform was launched by First Lady Casey DeSantis and Volunteer Florida last fall. The platform serves as an intermediary between Floridians who are interested in engaging in community service and 501(c)(3) organizations and governmental entities that mobilize volunteers.
In 1994, Volunteer Florida was established in Florida Statutes to manage national service programs, such as AmeriCorps, and advocate for volunteerism throughout the Sunshine State. Since then, Volunteer Florida has evolved to serve as the state’s lead agency for mobilizing volunteers and coordinating donations before, during and after disasters, including managing the Florida Disaster Fund. After 25 years, Volunteer Florida remains committed to promoting volunteerism in Florida, and recently launched the state’s official volunteer opportunities platform, Volunteer Connect. Through our work, Volunteer Florida delivers high-impact volunteer programs and opportunities that engage Floridians, transform communities and make the state a better place to live.