Florida Family Policy Council

Insider’s Report

Legislative Session 2022

Florida Family Policy Council’s team is excited about the 2022 session and the many strong proposals that have been introduced, while remaining alert to possible threats from extremely bad proposals. Topping the list of our priorities is the just-introduced groundbreaking pro-life bill, that if enacted, would eliminate brutal late-term abortions in the state of Florida and provide the strongest protections for the unborn post Roe. In light of the possible overturn of Roe v. Wade and the strong support from both leadership and other members, we are very optimistic about moving this bill forward. Also high on our agenda is enshrining Medical Rights of Conscience in state law; banning the dangerous teaching of Critical Race Theory with all its harmful effects from public schools; further expanding the Parent’s Bill of Rights in the field of education; and protecting religious organizations from discriminatory mandates in public emergencies.

Below is a list of some of the top good and bad bills Florida Family Policy Council is tracking in this session, along with a summary of each and links to each bill’s text.

This year, we’re being represented by our new Legislative Affairs Director Aaron DiPietro who is our eyes and ears on the ground for us in Tallahassee. We’re excited to have him on our team.

John Stemberger and Aaron DiPietro

 

Abortion/Life Issues

SUPPORT 1. HB 5 / SB 146 Fetal and Infant Mortality Reduction Act (Rep. Grall/ Sen. Stargel)

Description: The act, based in part on the Mississippi law recently heard by the Supreme Court in the Dobbs case set to potentially undermine and/or reverse Roe v. Wade, prohibits abortions after 15 weeks; if enacted, it would be the strongest protection for the unborn post-Roe. In addition, the bill mandates stricter reporting requirements on abortion clinics, providing needed data on chemical abortions in the state.

ACTION ALERT: HB 5 has been placed on the agenda of the first House committee stop Professions and Public Heath Subcommittee on  Wednesday, the 19th at 1:00pm

 

SUPPORT 2. HB 167 Private Action Heartbeat Act (Rep. Barnaby) – No Senate Companion

Description: This bill seeks to restrict abortion after a human heartbeat is detected. However, unlike most pro-life proposals in which the state government enforces the law to protect the unborn, this proposal prohibits the state government from enforcing the law. Instead, the proposal allows private citizens the right to sue abortion clinics and doctors for damages on abortions done after a detectable heartbeat with the intent to financially weaken abortion clinics. The bill does not have a Senate companion though and is dead for this session.

Action: The bill appears to be dead for this session because the sponsor was unable to find a Senate Companion.

 

OPPOSE 3. HB 6023/SB 628 Abortion Clinic Regulations Act (Rep. Eskamani/Sen. Book)

Description: This pair of bills seeks to reverse many key and recently passed protections for unborn children and their mothers: repealing the 24-hour waiting period law, which requires mothers preparing for an abortion to wait one day from their initial visit to an abortion clinic before having an abortion to have time to reflect on the decision; allowing state tax payer dollars to directly to abortions (it is currently not allowed); and removing safety protocols currently in place regarding abortion clinics.

Freedom of Religion, Speech, and Conscience

SUPPORT 1. HB 0215/SB 254 Religious Institutions Protection Act (Rep. DiCeglie/Sen. Brodeur)

Description: The Religious Institutions Bill attempts to stop discriminatory government mandates against religious organizations in times of emergency. This issue came to the forefront during the COVID pandemic when governors from across the nation placed churches and houses of worship under unique restrictions than harsher than those of businesses and other organizations. (For example, in several states, governors allowed most businesses to operate at 50% occupancy, while only allowing 10 or 50 people in a church service, regardless of the size of the church, creating a double standard that discriminated against religious organizations.) Thankfully, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has not pushed such policies, but future administrations could reverse course. This bill proactively protects religious institutions by requiring equal treatment under the law under during state emergencies.

The House version (215) still has 3 committees to go through; the Senate version has passed the first committee 6-0 and passed the second and final committee 14-2. It is headed to the full Senate floor for a vote that has yet to be scheduled. Florida Family Policy Council was instrumental in suggesting additional language to further strengthen equal protections under the law for religious institutions.

ACTION ALERT: HB 215, the Religious Institutions Act has been put on the agenda for its first House committee Pandemics and Public Emergencies Committee Wednesday the 19th at 9am.

 

SUPPORT 2. HB 0687/SB 1184 Free Speech of Health Care Practitioners Act (Rep. Drake/Sen. Broxson)

Description: This proposal provides protections to health care professionals from being penalized, reprimanded, or deprived of their licenses for exercising their freedom of speech on social media. In light of recent pro-life and pro-family censorship, against pro-life and pro-family, it requires anyone who attempts to accuse a health care worker of saying something incorrect on social media to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. If anyone falsely accuses a health care worker for saying something incorrect on social media, that person will face serious penalties.

 

SUPPORT 3. HB 0747/SB 1820 Medical Conscience Protection Act (Rep. Snyder/ Sen. Baxley)

Description: The bill would protect the rights of medical doctors, nurses, or other providers, as well as religious medical facilities, to practice their conscience convictions in their healthcare practices. Specifically, no medical professional or entity could be forced to recommend, participate in, and provide non emergency medical procedures and actions that would violate their sincerely held convictions and beliefs. For example, no doctor would be forced to perform an abortion, and no nurse would be demanded to participate in a “sex-reassignment” surgery, among other actions that could violate their rights of conscience.

Sexuality/Gender Issues

OPPOSE 1. HB 0205/SB 0374 Gay and Transgender Panic Legal Defenses Act (Rep. Smith (C)/Sen. Book)

Description: This act would seek to add sexual orientation and gender identity as recognized categories in criminal defense law. Although there are some direct concerns about specific applications in real life, the main issue is this bill attempts to slide the subjective, undefinable, and legally fluid categories of sexual orientation and gender identity into state law. This, despite the fact that the Florida legislature has repeatedly rejected adding these categories in other areas of law.

SUPPORT 2. HB 211 Youth and Sexual Identity (Rep. Sabatini) – No Senate companion

Description: The bill seeks to ban anyone from subjecting minors to “sex change” hormone treatments or so-called gender reassignment surgeries. The bill does not have a Senate companion though and is dead for this session.

Action: The bill appears to be dead for the session because of the lack of a Senate Sponsor.

OPPOSE 3. HB 0249/SB 0456 Driver License and Identification Card Gender Designation (Rep. Arrington/Sen. Torres, Jr.)

Description: The proposal seeks to add the category of “non-binary” on ID and Driver’s License State-issued cards. This action would begin the dismantling of government recognition of the biological realities of male and female and set precedent for further undermining sex-specific areas of public law.

OPPOSE 4. HB 0813/SB 1074 Sexually Transmissible Diseases Act (Rep. Robinson (F)/Sen. Pizzo)

Description: Currently, under state law, to knowingly donate blood, organs, or other bodily items that are contaminated by an STD (sexually transmitted disease) or to knowingly participated in intercourse while infected with an STD without informing the partner, is a felony. This proposal would seek to lower that criminal action to a mere misdemeanor.

OPPOSE 5. HB 6015/SB 0168 Marriages Between Persons of the Same Sex Act (Rep. Rayner/Sen. Polsky)

Description: This provision aims to eliminate the language in state statute recognizing marriage as between one man and one woman.

 

Education/Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

SUPPORT 1. HB 7/SB 148 CRT Ban in Public Schools and Corporations Act (Rep. Avila/Sen. Diaz)

Description: This proposal would ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory in Florida public schools and provide standards for enforcement and guidelines for education policy. It also would prohibit corporations doing business in Florida from mandating CRT training for their employees.

ACTION ALERT: SB 148 the CRT by Diaz has been place on the agenda for the first committee Education at 11 am.

SUPPORT 2. HB 0057/SB 0242 Racial and Sexual Discrimination Ban Act (Rep. Fine/Sen. Gruters)

Description: This bill would prohibit state and municipalities from requiring Critical Race Theory (CRT) employee training. Specifically, “race- or sex scapegoating-” based training would be banned; this “means assigning fault, blame, or bias to a race or sex, or to a member of a race or sex because of his or her race or sex. The term includes any claim that, consciously or subconsciously, and by virtue of his or her race or sex, a member of any race is inherently racist or is inherently inclined to oppress others, or that a member of a sex is inherently sexist or is inherently inclined to oppress others.”

OPPOSE 3. HB 6065/SB 0212 Unfairness in Women’s Sports Act (Rep. Arrington/Sen. Farmer, Jr.)

Description: This ordinance would reverse current state law protecting women’s sports and would force females to play women’s sports with biological males who subjectively identify as female.

OPPOSE 4. HB 6077/SB 0810 Postsecondary Intellectual Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act (Rep. Hinson/Sen. Polsky)

Description: The proposal would remove free speech protections for college students as well as the ability of students to film lectures or presentations in class. It also eliminates state-mandated reviews of free speech to ensure state colleges and universities are promoting the free exchange of ideas.

Education and Parental Rights

SUPPORT 1. HB 1305/SB 1842 Sex Ed Materials Harmful to Minors Act (Rep. Borrero/Sen. Baxley)

Description: This bill aims to crack down on graphic and sexually explicit Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) material in Florida public schools. It requires schools to receive written parental consent before a child is allowed to participate in any reproductive health classes; allows parents and citizens procedures to review such materials and call for their removal; and overall, increase transparency and public oversight over sex education.

SUPPORT 2. HB 1557/SB 1834 Parental Rights in Education Act (Rep. Harding/Sen. Baxley)

Description: This proposal seeks to further build on the education provisions of the state’s Parent’s Bill of Rights by allowing greater parental access to school information on their minor children; forbidding school districts from withholding information on children from their parents; prohibiting school districts from encouraging discussions of sexuality and gender identity for younger students; and laying out ground rules for how school districts are to respect parental rights.

Other Related Issues

OPPOSE 1. HB 0549/SB 1884 Legalization of Recreational Marijuana Act (Rep. Omphroy/Sen. Powell)

Description: This proposed statute would legalize recreational marijuana in the state of Florida. 

OPPOSE 2. HB 6003/SB 1854 Legal Rights of the Natural Environment Act (Rep. Eskamani/Sen. Farmer)

Description: The proposal would grant human rights status to the natural environment. 

SUPPORT 3. HB 0405/SB 0936 Compulsive and Addictive Gambling Prevention Act (Rep. Plakon/Sen. Baxley)

Description: The ordinance intends to establish a Gambling Prevention Commission to study gaming addictions and proving solutions on how to counteract the problem. 

SUPPORT 4. HB 75/SB 594 Discrimination on the Basis of COVID-19 Vaccination or Postinfection Recovery Status (Rep. Sabatini/Sen. Perry)

Description: The ordinance intends to establish a Gambling Prevention Commission to study gaming addictions and proving solutions on how to counteract the problem.

SUPPORT 5. HJR 0663/SJR 1004 Recall of County Officers and Commissioners (Rep. Williamson/ Sen. Gruters)

Description: The joint resolution would seek to place an amendment on the ballot in 2022 to amend the constitution to allow for the recall of all local county and municipal elected officials. This provides an extra method of keeping locally elected officials accountable for their actions and policy decisions.

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