Commissioner Aaronson, Senator Aronberg, and 14 Additional Palm Beach County Officials Endorse Deutch for Congress

(Boca Raton, FL) – State Senator and Candidate for Congress Ted Deutch, today received an overwhelming show of support from Palm Beach County with the endorsements from 15 state, county, and local officials, including County Commissioners Burt AaronsonJeff Koons, Shelly Vana, and Priscilla Taylor, State Senator Dave Aronberg, State Representatives Kevin RaderKelly SkidmoreMack BernardJoseph Abruzzo, Mary Brandenberg, Mark Pafford and Maria Sachs, Palm Beach Comptroller Sharon Bock, Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon, School Board Member Frank Barbieri, and Wellington City Commissioner Matt Wilhite.

Commissioner Aaronson and a dozen of these officials joined Senator Deutch for a Press Conference at the Rose Garden today in West Palm Beach. The early support of almost the entire Palm Beach County delegation provides early momentum for the Deutch Campaign.  Last Thursday Deutch launched his candidacy and unveiled his new website

“I am overwhelmed and honored by this amazing support, especially so early in the campaign,” said Ted Deutch today in West Palm Beach. 

“Ted is ready to go to Congress and take on the big challenges we face here in South Florida including health care, rising foreclosures, Medicare and our struggling economy” said Commissioner Burt Aaronson. “Also, Ted is someone who has taken care of his constituents over the last three years.  They know they can depend on him.”

State Senator Aronberg stated, “Ted is an exceptional legislator – and has shown himself as someone who can pass sweeping reforms on Iran Divestment and health care even as a member of the minority.  He’s going to make a fantastic Congressman.”

Deutch is running in District 19 to replace Congressman Robert Wexler, who is resigning in January to head the Center for Middle East Peace.  Nearly 71% of registered voters in District 19 reside in Palm Beach County and almost 50% of the district’s constituents are already within Deutch’s senate district.

Palm Beach Post: Hope on the horizon for families of disabled?

A Senate committee amended a health care budget bill to allow families caring for the severely disabled to be able to get more than the capped amount of personal care approved by lawmakers this spring. 

Democratic Sen. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton was the force behind the amendment, which would help 1,000 families who would otherwise have to place their loved ones into institutions. 
Deutch became interested in the issue on an airplane ride from Washington, D.C. where he was seated next to a woman who told him of her plight. 

She and her husband, whom Deutch did not name, currently receive 11.5 hours per day to care for their severely disabled daughter. Under the new plan, the family would receive just more than half of the hours of assistance they currently use. 

She told me, “Senator, my daughter has two options. She can go into an institution, or she can die,” Deutch recalled. 

Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee member Don Gaetz, a Republican, commended Deutch for the amendment, which he said he is hopeful the House will also agree to.

When Q told Gov. Charlie Crist the Deutch anecdote, Crist called the freshman lawmaker and congratulated him.

“You are the man. This is what we’re here for,” Crist told him. “Keep up the good work, brother.”

Ted's Bill to Protect Children in Cases of Domestic Abuse Signed Into Law

TALLAHASSEE - Legislation sponsored by Sen. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton), crafted in tandem with a domestic abuse survivor whose children died at her husband's hand, was signed into law by the governor on Wednesday.

"I am so proud to have sponsored this new law that will help ensure no child falls victim to the relationship of the parents," said Sen. Deutch. "Evidence of domestic violence must be specifically considered in order to help protect the children."

The legislation signed by the governor this week ensures judges make written findings in domestic and sexual violence cases, and child abuse cases when supervised visitation is recommended.

It was inspired by Lake Worth resident Jenny Carter, who divorced her husband after experiencing domestic abuse in her own marriage. In 2006, during a court-approved visitation around Christmas, her ex-husband set fire to their home, killing himself along with the couple's 10-year old son, Nelson and 8-year old daughter, Crystal. Since then, Ms. Carter has dedicated herself to changing the existing laws governing parental visitation.

"I became my children's voice," Ms. Carter said, "so that other children and other families don't suffer this tragic fate. This law provides the safety net my children didn't have."

Under the new law, judges will now have to broaden from third degree felony to first degree misdemeanor their scrutiny of domestic violence convictions when determining parental responsibility.

Currently, many felony domestic violence cases plead down to first degree misdemeanors, and a parent is frequently granted custody even if they have a history of domestic violence not involving the children.


Governor Charlie Crist Signs Legislation Continuing Florida's Efforts to Divest State Funds

TALLAHASSEE, FL- Continuing to pave the way on divestment of state funds from rogue nations, Governor Charlie Crist on Monday signed a bill making it easier for Florida's citizens to exercise economic pressure against terror-sponsoring states. The bill, SB 538 sponsored by Senators Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) and Carey Baker (R-Eustis), requires fire and police pension funds to divest from Iran and Sudan and requires the State Board of Administration to provide a "terror-free" option for state employees participating in the State's defined contribution retirement plan.

In 2007, State Senator Ted Deutch sponsored the Protecting Florida's Investments Act, making Florida the first state to divest its pension funds from companies engaging in business with Iran and Sudan. Since its passage, Florida - which has the nation's fourth largest pension fund - has divested over $1 billion from scrutinized companies.

"The state of Florida has made it clear that its citizens will not aid the genocide in Darfur or contribute to Iran's illicit nuclear weapons program," said Sen. Deutch. "The Governor has reinforced the commitment of our state's citizens to not support companies who choose to put profit over international security."

SB 538 requires that the public investors in the $5 billion defined contribution plan be offered a terror-free investment fund. It also requires police and firefighter pension funds to identify any holdings they may have with scrutinized companies and to divest these securities by 2010.

Florida is the first state in America to require that a terror-free option be given to its investors. Since Florida became the first state to divest, 18 other states have adopted divestment measures.





Legislature Passes Ted's Bill to Protect Children in Cases of Domestic Abuse

TALLAHASSEE, FL- The Florida Legislature on Friday passed a bill requiring judges to consider charges of domestic or sexual abuse, involving either parent, when granting custody or arranging visitation. Sponsored by Senator Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton), and inspired by a local story, SB 904 reduces from a third degree felony to a first degree misdemeanor the level of a domestic violence conviction judges must consider when determining parental custody.

"I am so proud to have passed this legislation that will help ensure no child falls victim to the relationship of the parents," said Sen. Deutch. "While there is no doubt that children benefit from spending time with both parents, it is always necessary to determine how to best protect the child."

Sen. Deutch's efforts to revamp custody requirements began after learning the story of a constituent who left an abusive marriage, only to have her ex-husband during his approved visitation set fire to their home, killing their two children and himself. Senator Deutch recognized that not only are many felony domestic violence cases plead down to first degree misdemeanors, but that a parent is frequently granted shared custody or unsupervised visitation if they have a history of domestic violence not involving the children. With the support of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Senator Deutch worked for two years to change this.

The passage of SB 904 puts Florida in line with more than half of all states which currently have laws establishing a level of domestic violence conviction presumed to be detrimental to the child when making child custody and visitation awards.

The legislation next heads to the governor for signature.