This week, state Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, got his bill expanding Miami Dade County’s needle exchange program across the state through the state House Health and Human Services Committee as the bill heads to the floor where it is likely to pass.
The bill has now cleared three House committees without opposition, including the Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday. Jones weighed in after that vote.
“Public health must be a top priority for our state, and we must stop the spread of blood-borne diseases. The momentum behind this critical legislation puts us one step closer to making that a reality and sends a message to the communities impacted by this crisis that the legislature prioritizes their best interest. Anything less than that is a disservice to the people of Florida as a whole,” Jones said.
“In recent years, Florida cities including Miami and Orlando have led the nation in new HIV diagnoses,” Jones’ office noted. “Simultaneously, Miami’s needle exchange program has helped the county decrease new cases as other areas of the state remained ill-equipped to address the issue, reiterating the need for a statewide solution.”
With nothing in the way of opposition so far, the bill continues to gather momentum in Tallahassee. At the start of the month, state Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, was able to get the bill through the Senate with no opposition.