Upkeep reform seems lifeless at this session, however Home MP Andrade maintains his “naive optimism”
As the old late session adage goes, “Bills Die.” Such is the case with a maintenance reform bill being sent to the House today. Its sponsor in the Senate declares it dead in the water. In the meantime, his main sponsor in the house is holding on to hope, although he calls it “naive optimism”.
“One thing I’ve learned since filing this bill is that everyone has an opinion about alimony,” Pensacola Republican MP Alex Andrade said Wednesday as his bill reached its final stop at the house.
There is plenty of fiery debates and public statements in every committee. This week’s judicial committee hearing was no different.
Andrade’s bill would prioritize the short-term “bridge over the gap” maintenance system rather than lifelong payments to an ex-spouse. He says it’s something judges asked about.
“We have had district courts, county courts, and judges at all levels saying they want more guidelines so they can help parties get to the table and settle down. And save both parties from one of the possibly most damaging experiences of their lives, ”Andrade told his colleagues just before they voted on the proposal.
The bill also provides upper limits for the other two forms of maintenance in Florida. Rehabilitation alimony, intended to provide temporary support to the receiving party’s financial stability, would be limited to 5 years. Permanent maintenance, a longer-term version for dependent ex-spouses, would be limited to half the duration of the marriage.
But the debate at this session is likely to be free. Sen. Kellie Stargel’s maintenance bill was never published in her chamber. She told Florida Intelligence this week that the bill was nearly impossible to succeed.
The legislature has tried unsuccessfully for years on the maintenance reform, sometimes at the push of a button – and Stargel has already carried the bill once.
But on Andrade’s first attempt, he remains optimistic as it hits the floor of the house.
“I’m new here, this is only my second session, so I would just have to have the potentially naive optimism never to say what might be successful policy bills in the last two weeks of the session,” Andrade told WFSU on Wednesday .
Although the Senate could pass Andrade’s house law, it seems unlikely, according to Senator Stargel’s comments. Andrade says he didn’t speak directly to Stargel about this or had any executive-level discussions about bills in the last few weeks of the meeting.
“Those responsible in both chambers are discussing what will and what will not – as a new legislator you are not always privy to these discussions,” said Andrade.
Stargel told Florida Intelligence that they intend to continue processing the bill for the next year. Andrade received two major changes when it was bought in-house. If it’s unsuccessful this year, Andrade says he will submit it again:
“If for some reason I didn’t like it that much and I find it so passionate now, I would look forward to running it next year if that were the case.”
Florida last updated its maintenance laws a decade ago when the maintenance bridge was introduced, which prioritizes Andre’s bill.