Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill into law providing $70 million to support fatherhood in the Sunshine State.
The bill (HB 7065), dubbed the “Responsible Fatherhood” bill, according to a press release from Gov. DeSantis’ office, provides funds for “educational programs, mentorship programs and one-on-one support to encourage responsible and involved fatherhood in Florida.”
The bill also tasks the Department of Children and Families to “contract for the development and implementation of the Responsible Father Initiative” and to “provide grants to community-based not-for-profit organizations to offer certain mentorship programs.”
HB 7065 also designates June as “Responsible Fatherhood Month.”
The Florida state House passed HB 7065 in a bipartisan manner on February 16 in a unanimous vote, 117-0. All present Republicans and Democrats voted for the bill.
Then the Florida state Senate approved the legislation on March 4, also in a bipartisan and unanimous vote of 38-0.
Gov. DeSantis signed the legislation on April 11, with both of his young daughters by his side.
In Florida, we are working hard to promote and support fatherhood.
Children that grow up without a father in the home are more likely to drop out of school and get in trouble with the law. pic.twitter.com/eVGLMfP9If
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) April 11, 2022
“Today’s $70 million investment will fund programs to support fathers and help families stay connected and engaged with each other,” Gov. DeSantis tweeted after signing the bill. “Our state, communities and families are better when fathers are involved.”
He added in a press release that “there are more than 18 million children in our country who live without a father in their home. This has a severe impact on children, and often leads to dropping out of school, crime and substance abuse … I am proud to say we are doing everything we can to support involved fatherhood in Florida.”
The legislation has also received support from various figures, including Tony Dungy, former NFL head football coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts, who endorsed the legislation in a statement.
“This is going to be tremendous and such a good help to fathers in Florida,” Dungy said.
“This bill is so important. I want to thank all of the men and women that have been behind this. It is going to allow groups like All Pro Dad and people like those here today to do great things for our fathers here in Florida.”
Inexplicably, after endorsing the bill, Dungy received fierce criticism from the left.
Leftist political commentator Keith Olbermann called Dungy a “fascist political prop,” in a tweet after the bill’s signing.
The fact that supporting fatherhood garners such fierce backlash is indicative of how far our society has fallen. Fatherhood is essential to the health and continuation of humankind. As goes fatherhood, so goes a nation.
Focus on the Family President Jim Daly made this exact point in a blog post supporting the bill.
“Fatherlessness should be a bipartisan issue,” Daly wrote. “Leftists need to stop their demagoguery. If they spent half as much time working to encourage men to be better dads as they do trying to villainize good men like Coach Dungy, our children would be far better served.”
“Well done to the state legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis. I hope other states will follow Florida’s lead. Dads supply a key ingredient in the development of children, and we must do everything we can to support them.”
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Photo from Twitter.