Legislative Spotlight: Doctor’s Civil Air Patrol Bill Signed into Law

Legislative Spotlight: Doctor’s Civil Air Patrol Bill Signed into Law

Doctor’s Civil Air Patrol Bill Signed into Law

Dr. Seoane, president of the Polk County Medical Association, wrote a bill that passed in the Florida Legislature this session— without opposition. The bill is intended to protect the jobs of Civil Air Patrol senior members volunteering during hurricanes and other disasters.  “They pay for their own training,” Dr. Seoane says.  “All they want to do is not lose their jobs.”

An auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, the Civil Air Patrol is a volunteer, non-profit organization that helps with homeland security, disaster relief, and drug interdiction missions at the request of governmental agencies.

The new law requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide unpaid leave for up to 15 days annually for staff members who are senior members of Florida Wing of the Civil Air Patrol.  The leave can be used for training or missions.  Additionally, the law prohibits employers from firing or penalizing an employee for taking Civil Air Patrol leave.

Dr. Seoane, a Lakeland family practitioner who joined the Civil Air Patrol in his youth, began working on the bill about eight years ago.  At one time, it was supposed to come before the House of Representatives after a bill to give optometrists the right to prescribe drugs.  “Instead, they said, ‘We’re done,’” Dr. Seoane recalls.

The law, which becomes effective July 1, was sponsored by state Senators Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, and Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, and state Representatives Neil Combee, R-Auburndale, and Jason Fischer, R-Jacksonville.

Florida’s Wing Commander, Col. Luis Garcia, says Dr. Seoane was instrumental in getting the legislation adopted.  “His efforts will have a long-lasting effect and improve our volunteer members’ ability to support the State of Florida and other agencies in disaster and emergency services missions,” he says.

Dr. Seoane remains enthusiastic about Civil Air Patrol, which taught him to fly.  “The reason I’m a doctor is because of Civil Air Patrol,” he explains.  “I believed what they told me; I could be anything I wanted to be.”

The state’s Civil Air Patrol, headquartered in Lakeland, has 26 aircraft stationed throughout the state, primarily along the coast.

Dr. Seoane’s son, Bryce, is next in line to volunteer.  “He’s 11,” he shares.  “When he’s 12, he can join.”





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