TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Senate had until midnight to bring "Jordan’s Law to the floor for a vote.
The bill's sponsors, however, have already conceded, and say they’ll have to try again next session.
- RELATED: Fla. Senate Version of "Jordan's Law" Stalled, May Not Get Floor Vote
- Proposed law named in honor of 2-year-old Jordan Belliveau
- House version of bill passed unanimously
Rep. Chris Latvala, who sponsored the bill in the Florida House, said this bill not making it to the Senate floor isn’t about policy — it’s personal. He said he feels strongly this was a case of petty politics, and he fears children’s lives will be more at risk because of it.
“It’s very disappointing," Latvala said. "It passed the House and three committees unanimously. It passed the floor of the House unanimously and it was referred to three Senate committees. It passed the first two by a unanimous margin, as well,” Latvala said.
“There’s widespread support for the bill, which makes it more obvious that it was driven by politics and personality, not the policy of the bill and of itself,” he added.
"We'll be right back here in September."
"Jordan’s Law" was meant to protect the state’s most vulnerable population of children — those between zero to five years old. Child welfare officials say right now there are over 2,500 children in Pinellas County in the foster care system, and of that number about 60 percent are in that vulnerable population.
The bill was named after slain two-year-old Jordan Belliveau, who reports showed was in foster care and eventually returned to his parents, only to be murdered reportedly at the hands of his own mother.
So what happens next? Was Jordan's death truly not tragic enough to spark change in the law?
It’s a concern Juliet Warren shares. Her family was the foster family for Jordan for most of his short life before he was returned to his mother last year.
She released this statement after the bill died in the Senate.
"I am deeply saddened to hear Jordan’s Law did not pass. It is so disheartening to see where priorities lie, especially when it comes to our vulnerable children. Florida is in a foster care crisis like never before, and we need people standing up for the safety and protection of these kids. The bill proposes things that should really already be in place in my opinion, it just seems like common sense. I can’t tell you how many times I have cried over the fact that if this bill was already in place, Jordan would still be alive. My husband and I lived through a nightmare and nothing will bring him back, but we can use it as a wake up call to take action and learn from past mistakes. Really, what could be more important than children’s lives? I am extremely grateful for Chris Latvala and his team who put this bill together. They work so hard fighting for the voiceless and it is honorable.
I am praying that it will pass in the future."
We asked Senator Daryl Rouson, who co-sponsored the bill in the Senate, the same question.
“What happens next is [Jordan's Law] dies on the vine,” Rouson said. “But we get to resurrect it. We’ll be right back here in September. This is a short year. We hope that no children are put at jeopardy because this bill didn’t pass. “