Florida Family Policy Council’s Legislative Insider’s Report:
Legislative Session 2023: Week 4 of 9
The 2023 Legislative Session Week 4 is over, and what a week it has been! We also had an amazing Pro-Family Days event, featuring presentations from and over 250 attendees from all over Florida, from Miami to Pensacola! Our theme was “Protecting Children: Born and Unborn.”
On Monday afternoon, our Legislative Affairs Director Aaron DiPietro and I presented our priority bills to an engaged audience, sharing the exciting victories and legislation that is moving forward this year in Florida. Monday evening, we were honored to hear from several powerful speakers, including Chloe Cole, gender “reassignment” surgery survivor and detransitioner, who began being transitioned from age twelve, and at the age of 16, received a double mastectomy. She delivered a powerful testimony of the harm these procedures were to her and how she chose to become a voice to end these dangerous procedures for minors.
Also, Chris “The Billboard Guy” Elkston, a father, husband, and activist fighting to protect children from sterilization and mutilation procedures, shared the dangers of the trans ideology movement. In addition, we were able to record a live popcast episode of “Straight Up with John Stemberger” with both Chloe and Chris, touching on various aspects of the trans movement and the threats to children’s health and safety and the opportunities arising to protect our society’s most vulnerable.
Tuesday morning, Sen. Erin Grall, House Speaker Paul Renner, and Rep. and Pastor Doug Bankson addressed the assembly, sharing their testimonies and the work the Florida legislature is doing to protect life, family, and freedom this session. Keynote speaker, Dr. William Lile aka “Prolife Doc” delivered a stirring presentation sharing the latest medical data proving the humanity of the unborn children in the womb.
Immediately after, the group headed to the Capitol to lobby their legislators on our priority bills; the group was also able to participate in testifying in favor of SB 300, the Heartbeat Protection Act, which passed the committee resoundingly. We finished our 2023 Pro-Family Days at the Supreme Court with an address delivered by former Florida Supreme Court justice Alan Lawson.
Week 4 was yet another action-packed one full of one committee victory after another. Below, we have listed for you the top bills the Florida Family Policy Council is tracking this session, along with the latest action on each. With the name and number of the bill is also a summary of each and links to each bill’s text. You can always keep track of our priority bills on our website, which will be updated as new priorities arise.
Our Legislative Affairs Director, Aaron DiPietro is on the ground full time during the session, engaging with legislators, testifying in committee, and working to advance our priority bills through the process, and he will be providing regular updates on our social media platforms; in addition, we will also provide email updates weekly throughout the session.
Text underlined and in red indicates an action alert for scheduled committee hearings on our priority bills. For those willing and able, we encourage you to attend and speak in favor of the bills up in committee.
For real-time updates, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or sign up for text alerts here.
Thank you again for your support,
SUPPORT 1. HB 7/SB 300 Heartbeat Protection Act (Rep. Persons-Mulicka/Sen. Grall)
Description: The proposal protects the unborn after 6 weeks, the time period at which a heartbeat can be detected, the strongest protections for the unborn in Florida post-Roe. Secondly, the legislation also prohibits state funding to be used for transporting mothers out of state to receive abortions. Thirdly, the bill prohibits the mailing of chemical abortion prescriptions and that a doctor must be present in person to prescribe such medications and to perform surgical abortions, cutting off the ability of clinics to use non-medical staff to conduct abortions or use telehealth to prescribe those abortion drugs. Finally, the bill expands support for the Florida Pregnancy Care Network, providing needed resources for mothers in unexpectant pregnancies.
Action: On Thursday, HB 7 passed the final committee stop, Health and Human Services Committee, 13-7, and now heads to the full House floor next week. SB 300 was heavily debated also on Thursday on the full Senate floor and is heading for a final vote on Monday!
SUPPORT 2. HB 1339/SB 1306 Adoptive Parent Registry Act (Rep. Abbott/Sen. Harrell)
Description: This bill seeks to create a potential adoption registry of prospective parents who have been vetted properly and are awaiting adoption opportunities for newborn babies surrendered for adoption. The goal of the legislation is to create a streamlined process for the adoption process, in addition to reducing the cost of the adoption process.
Action: The house version is awaiting a hearing in the first of three committees. SB 1306 has passed the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee, 7-0 and is awaiting a hearing in the second of three committees.
SUPPORT 3. HB 899/SB 870 Baby Box Act (Rep. Canady/Sen. Burton)
Description: This bill seeks to expand the locations to first responder facilities and other locations where baby boxes can be installed and monitored. This allows for new mothers to give up their newborn babies and to surrender parental rights to enable the child to be adopted.
Action: On Friday, HB 899 passed the House floor, 111-0, and has been sent to the Senate. On Monday, SB 870 has passed its first two committees and is waiting to for its final stop in the Rules Committee.
Freedom of Religion, Speech, and Conscience
SUPPORT 1. HB 1403/SB 1580 Medical Conscience Protection Act (Rep. Rudman/ Sen. Trumbull)
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 nonemergency 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.
This proposal also provides protections to health care professionals from being penalized, reprimanded, or deprived of their licenses for exercising their freedom of speech by private medical certification boards.
Action: HB 1403 is now scheduled to be heard in its first committee hearing, Health Regulation Subcommittee on Monday, April 3rd at 10:30 am in Room 102H in the House Office Building!
Also, SB 1580 is now scheduled to be heard in its first committee hearing, Health Policy Committee on Tuesday, April 4th at 2:00 pm in Room 412K in the Knott Building!
SUPPORT 1. HB 1421/SB 254 Gender Interventions on Minors Act (Rep. Fine/Sen. Yarborough)
Description: The bill seeks to bans anyone from subjecting minors to dangerous “sex change” hormone treatments or so-called gender reassignment surgeries. It also establishes provisions for affected minors to have opportunities to seek damages from the individuals and entities that subjected them to the harmful treatments in the first place.
Action: On Monday, HB 1421 passed the Health and Human Services Committee 15-6 and now heads to the full House floor for a final vote. SB 254 is expected to receive a final vote on the full Senate floor next week.
SUPPORT 2. HB 1423/SB 1438 Protecting Children from Adult Entertainment Act (Rep. Fine/Sen. Yarborough)
Description: The bill establishes penalties for private businesses that allow children to have access to adult entertainment venues, including drag shows. Penalties range from serious fines for initial offences, to loss of business license for repeat offences.
Action: HB 1423 is awaiting a hearing in the second of three committee stops. On Thursday, SB 1438 passed the Rules Committee, 16-3, and now is heading for a final Senate vote next week.
SUPPORT 3. HB 1521/SB 1674 Safety in Private Spaces Act (Rep. Plakon/Sen. Grall)
Description: The bill aims to codifying that certain private spaces such as restrooms, lockers, showers, and certain sleeping quarters, among other categories are to be kept separated by biological sex for the purposes of public safety and privacy. It also establishes penalties for both individuals and businesses that violate the provisions of the statute.
Action: On Tuesday, HB 1521 passed the House Regulatory Reform and Economic Development Subcommittee, 11-3 and now heads to the second of three stops. On Thursday, SB 1674 passed the Senate Rules Committee, 15-4, and now heads to the final stop.
SUPPORT 4. HB 1265/SB 952 Reverse Woke Act (Rep. Yarkosky/Sen. Ingoglia)
Description: The bill establishes provisions in state law that if companies choose to provide healthcare coverage for employees to obtain gender reassignment hormones, treatments, and surgeries, then those same companies must also provide coverage to those same individuals who experience regret and seek to detransition and allows those individuals to sue the same companies for damages.
Action: Both bills have been assigned to three committees each and are awaiting their first hearings.
Description: This bill expands the Florida Education Scholarships to all students statewide, allowing the tax dollars to follow the child to the school of the parent’s choice, allowing parents to determine how their children are educated. This act will revolutionize school choice here in the state of Florida and allow parents, who would otherwise be forced to have their children in public schools, the freedom to choose other options. The bill exempts traditional home education from the bill’s oversight for those homeschoolers who decline to use the funds and establishes a separate category in state statute for those who choose to homeschool and receive the funds, under the category of personalized education plans.
Victory Alert: The governor has signed HB 1!
SUPPORT 2. HB 1223/HB 1069/SB 1320 Parental Rights in Education Act (Rep. Anderson/Rep. McClain/Sen. Yarborough)
Description: The proposal seeks to further build on Parent’s Rights in Education law by expanding the prohibition on classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity to cover PreK-8th grades. The bill also seeks to protect students and school employees from being forced to use preferred pronouns when those pronouns do not correspond with biological sex realities. The bill also mandates any teaching in higher grades be tied to teaching biological sex as the basis of gender. It also eliminates the sex ed supplemental materials loophole which unintentionally allowed explicit material if the material was considered “supplemental”, ensuring that all materials in the classroom must meet the same standards. And finally, the proposal adds additional rights for parents to have access to materials in the classroom and rectify violations of the provision.
Action: On Friday, after a very contentious debate and with a rambunctious and bitter protest occurring on the 4th floor outside the chambers, HB 1069, (which also includes the language of HB 1223) passed the House floor, 77-35, on a near party line vote, with GOP Reps. Will Robinson and Demi Bussatta Cabrebra being the only Republicans to vote against the bill. It has now been sent to the Senate. SB 1320 is awaiting a hearing in the final Senate committee.
SUPPORT 3. HB 379/SB 52 Student Social Media and Devices Safety Act (Rep. Yeager/Sen. Burgess)
Description: This proposal seeks to protect young students in their usage of electronic devices while in public school. Public school servers must block access to certain inappropriate websites and block access to all social media platforms for students using those servers. In addition, strict standards on electronic device usage in the classrooms are required to be set and select educational staff are to undergo training on recognizing and addressing the dangers of social media.
Action: On Friday, HB 379 passed the House floor, 110-0, and now heads to the Senate floor. On Tuesday, SB 52passed the Fiscal Policy Committee, 19-0, and now heads to a final vote next week.
SUPPORT 4. HB 817/SB 650 Sex Ed Transparency Act (Rep. Black/Sen. Collins)
Description: This proposal seeks to strengthen parental notification on sex education instruction and provide transparency on the contents of those courses.
Action: The House version has been assigned to two committees, while the Senate version has been assigned to three. Both bills are still awaiting hearings.
SUPPORT 5. HB 1620/SB 1463 Minors Protection from Harmful Materials Act (Rep. Beltran/Sen. Grall)
Description: This bill establishes guidelines for educating educators on the dangers of technology abuse for children, especially the dangers of pornography. Further, it tightens the educational materials loophole in state obscenity statute, which was used to expose children to inappropriate or even graphic sexual content under the guise of education. It also enforces new rules on specific web providers, websites, and social media platforms to use age verification and other means to protect minors from harmful materials present on said platforms.
Action: The House version has been assigned to four committees, while the Senate version has been assigned to three. Both bills are still awaiting hearings.
Other Related Issues
SUPPORT 1. HB 1487/SB 1618 Public Health Emergency Actions Act (Rep. Rudman/Sen. Yarborough)
Description: The ordinances seek to restrict the power of the executive branch to declare public health emergencies and place additional checks and balances by requiring the legislature to approve extended public health emergency declarations. The proposals aim to avoid the massive shutdowns on churches, businesses and other establishments, and also to protect individuals from being forced to violate their moral, religious, or health convictions regarding government treatment plans in a public health emergency.
Action: HB 1487 is now scheduled to be heard in its first committee hearing, Health Regulation Subcommittee on Monday, April 3rd at 10:30 am in Room 102H in the House Office Building! The senate version has ben assigned to three committees each and is awaiting the first hearing.
SUPPORT 2. HB 1013/SB 252 COVID Non-Discrimination Health Act (Rep. Griffitts/ Sen. Burton)
Description: The proposal prohibits business entities, governmental entities, and educational institutions from mandating masking, Covid testing, or Covid vaccination requirements upon their customers or employees, to ensure their rights of religious freedom, conscience, and medical choice are protected. The legislation also requires that hospitals allow their doctors to provide a variety of treatments to address Covid cases and prohibits the hospitals from penalizing the doctors in any way for doing so.
Action: The House version has been assigned to three committees and the Senate version has been assigned to two. Both are awaiting their first hearings
SUPPORT 3. HB 367/SB 610 Registration of Residential Child-caring Agencies and Family Foster Homes (Rep. Plakon/ Sen. Yarborough)
Description: This bill repeals an outdated section of law that established a monopoly by one organization over the licensing of faith-based child care agencies, an organization which has sadly abused their monopoly and harmed a faith based child care agency in the process. This bill simply allows competition for other groups to apply to the state to be certified to also license faith-based child care agencies.
Action: Both bills have been assigned to three committees each, with HB 367 previously passing its first committee. SB 610 is now scheduled to be heard in the second stop Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, April 4that 2:00 pm in Room 412K in the Knott Building!