It’s hard to believe that we’re already at the end of the second week of Legislative Session! We have been busy preparing for 2018 Pro-Family Days at the Capitol and are expecting to have a great event with our keynote speaker Pam Tebow. We are thrilled that we’ll be seeing so many of you in Tallahassee on Monday and Tuesday and are pleased to announce that the event is sold out!

We have been working hard to make sure that your voice is heard at the Capitol.  Below you will find a list of bills that we are either supporting and opposing.  Throughout the next seven weeks, check back on our website for an updated list of bills, read our weekly Insider’s Report from Tallahassee for updates, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for breaking news.

Most importantly, thank you for your support as we work in Tallahassee to advocate for pro-family values.


John Stemberger
President and General Counsel
Florida Family Policy Council


OPPOSE HB 357 / SB 576 Adoptee Birth Certificates
Sponsors: Rep. Richard Stark (D), Sen. Dennis Baxley (R)

This bill mandates open adoption in the state by requiring the Department of Health to issue noncertified copies of unaltered, original birth certificates to adoptees and birth parents.

Status: Neither the House nor the Senate has heard the bill in committee yet.


SUPPORT HB 1429 / SB 1890 Dismemberment Abortion 
Sponsors: Rep. Erin Grall (R), Rep. Joe Gruters (R), Sen. Debbie Mayfield (R)

Prohibits dismemberment abortion, where an unborn child is killed by an abortionist using instruments to cut or rip the child’s body apart piece by piece and then extracts the pieces from the mother.

Status: Neither the House nor the Senate has heard the bill in committee yet.

OPPOSE HB 1273 / SB 1718 Contraception Mandate
Sponsors: Rep. Holly Raschein (R), Sen. Lauren Book (D) 

Mandates employers provide insurance plans which pay for contraception, including abortion inducing drugs. The exemption for employers is limited to religious objections by religious nonprofits or small, privately-held companies and it requires notification of objection to providing coverage. Insurance companies are still required to provide coverage of contraception to employees who work for an exempt organization.

Status: Neither the House nor the Senate has heard the bill in committee yet.

OPPOSE HB 189 / SB 320 Abortion Clinics
Sponsors: Rep. Amy Mercado (D), Sen. Linda Stewart (D)

This bill prohibits anyone from interfering with women attempting to enter abortion clinics. Sidewalk counselors or protestors could face fines, civil suits, and criminal penalties for simply calling out to a woman to not abort her baby. This bill goes beyond prohibiting criminal and inappropriate interference with abortion facilities and limits free speech.

Status: Neither the House nor the Senate has heard the bill in committee yet.


SUPPORT HR 157 / SR 480 Declaring Pornography a Public Health Crisis  
Sponsors: Rep. Ross Spano (R), Sen. Kelli Stargel (R)

Recognizes the public health crisis created by pornography and acknowledges need for education, prevention, research, and policy change to protect Floridians.

Status: The House version has passed the first of two assigned committees. The Senate has yet to pick up the measure in committee.


SUPPORT HB 731 / SB 732 Home Education  
Sponsors: Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (R), Sen. Dennis Baxley (R)

Clarifies that a home education program is not a school district program and parents who wish to homeschool their children must register with the district school superintendent only for the purpose of complying with the state’s attendance requirements. It requires the district school superintendent to accept the parental notification and register the program upon receipt of the notice. The school district cannot require any additional information unless the student chooses to participate in their programs or services. The bill also stipulates that the content of a child’s portfolio shall be determined by the parent, not the school district.  Finally, it allows school districts to provide homeschool students access to career and vocational courses and requires that industry certifications, national assessments, and statewide, standardized assessments offered by the school district be available to homeschool students. For homeschool students who are dual enrolled to earn college credit, the bill stipulates that course or program limitations may not exceed the limitations for other dually enrolled students.

Status: The House version has passed the first of three assigned committees. The Senate version is scheduled to be heard in its first committee next week.

SUPPORT HB 1 / SB 1172 Hope Scholarship Program  
Sponsors: Rep. Byron Donalds (R), Sen. Bill Galvano (R)

Establishes the Hope Scholarship for students after an incident of battery, harassment, hazing, bullying, kidnapping, robbery, sexual offenses, harassment, assault, threat or intimidation. The student will have an opportunity to transfer to another public school or to apply for a scholarship to attend a private school. Scholarship funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Status: The House version has passed the first of three assigned committees. The Senate version is scheduled to be heard in its first committee next week.


OPPOSE HB 223 / SB 374 Fantasy Contests  
Sponsors: Rep. Jason Brodeur (R), Sen. Dana Young (R)

Exempts fantasy gaming contests such as fantasy sports leagues from being subject to gambling penalties and regulations. In effect, legalizing fantasy gambling.

Status: The House bill has not yet been heard. The Senate version has passed its first committee, but has not yet been heard by its second and final committee.

OPPOSE SB 840 Legalizing Fantasy and Designated Player Games/Expanding Slot Machines 
Sponsor: Sen. Travis Hutson (R)

In addition to exempting fantasy gaming from state gambling regulations, this bill would remove the requirement that greyhound, thoroughbred, quarter horse and harness horse permit holders conduct live racing at their pari-mutuel facilities in order to be eligible for or keep their slot machine and cardroom licenses. This bill would allow these facilities to take wagers for intertrack races and simulcasts. It would also legalize designated player games (playing against a designated player rather than the house).

Status: The Senate bill has passed its first of three committees. There is no House companion bill.

OPPOSE SB 1802 Preview Games and Machines  
Sponsor: Sen. Perry Thurston Jr. (D)

Legalizes preview or pre-reveal machines, slot machines which draw individuals in by revealing the prize before the game is started. A Florida judge has already ruled the machines constitute gambling.

Status: The Senate bill has not yet been heard. There is no House companion bill.


SUPPORT HB 167 / SB 1044 Civil Action for Human Trafficking Victims
Sponsors: Rep. Ross Spano (R), Sen. Lauren Book (D)

Allows a victim of human trafficking to bring a civil cause of action against a human trafficker or facilitator (a person or business who aids in or turns a blind eye to human trafficking activities). Under this provision, a victim of human trafficking could receive payment for medical bills, mental health services, repatriation, etc. as well as monetary damages for pain, loss, trauma, etc. A trafficker or facilitator would also be liable under this section to provide an additional $100,000 in damages to the Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking (established by HB 169/SB 1046) and, in some cases, additional damages to law enforcement to aid in future human trafficking rescue efforts. Punitive damages would be equally divided between the victim and the trust fund.

Status: The House version has been passed by two of its three committees. The Senate version has not yet been heard.

SUPPORT HB 169 / SB 1046 Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking 
Sponsors: Rep. Ross Spano (R), Sen. Lauren Book (D)

Creates the Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking and Prevention within the Department of Law Enforcement. This fund would be funded by penalties and damages obtained under as referenced in   HB 167 / SB 1044 and other sources, including funds appropriated by the Legislature. The trust fund would be used to assist victims of human trafficking with medical and mental health exams and treatment, living expenses, lost wages and repatriation. The funds could also be used for a variety of education and prevention efforts, creating a survivor’s resource center, or for vacating convictions against trafficking victims incurred due to trafficking, etc.

Status: The House version has been passed by two of its three committees. The Senate version has not yet been heard.

SUPPORT HB 7039 / SB 1502 Increased Penalties for Human Trafficking 
Sponsors: House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, Rep. Ross Spano (R), Sen. Lauren Book (D)

Requires a 10-year minimum mandatory imprisonment sentence for any individual, who knowingly or recklessly without regards to the facts, engages in, attempts to engage in, or financially benefits from human trafficking. Removes fees to expunge certain portions of criminal records for victims of human trafficking as it relates to their trafficking. Redefines the term “Adult Entertainment Establishment” to include additional adult-style businesses.

Status: Neither the House nor the Senate has heard the bill in committee yet.


SUPPORT HB 41 / SB 444 Pregnancy Support Services 
Sponsors: Rep. Jackie Toledo (R), Sen. Aaron Bean (R)

Requires the Florida Department of Health to contract with the Florida Pregnancy Care Network (FPCN) to provide pregnancy support services for women who suspect or know they are pregnant. FPCN would then provide support to pregnant women and address their wellness needs. The bill requires FPCN subcontractors to promote and support childbirth only. All services provided must be voluntary and cannot include religious content.

Status: The House version has passed on the floor of the House. The Senate version passed its final committee this week and should be heard on the Senate floor next week.


OPPOSE HB 347 / SB 66 Creating Special Rights for LGBT Citizens or “Florida’s Competitive Workforce Act”
Sponsors: Rep. Ben Diamond (D), Rep. Rene Plasencia (R), Sen. Darryl Rouson (D)

The worst bill in the Florida Legislature because of its effect on public safety and freedom of conscience. It adds sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to Florida’s Civil Rights Act of 1992 as impermissible grounds for discrimination. This bill provides a new way for LGBT individuals to sue employers and small businesses for discrimination. Would allow men access to use women’s showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms.

Check out the full list of House and Senate co-sponsors.

Status: Neither the House nor Senate version has been heard in committee. House lawmakers held a press conference this week in an attempt to put pressure on leadership to hear the bill.

OPPOSE HB 717 / SB 696 Banning Conversion Therapy 
Sponsors: Rep. Evan Jenne (D) / Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D)

This bill makes it unlawful for people in Florida who are licensed to provide professional counseling and others, like pastors who are licensed counselors, to counsel youth under the age of 18 struggling with their “sexual orientation and/or gender identity” to think and live in a heterosexual manner consistent with their biological gender, even if the child (as the patient) asks for their help to do so.

Status: Neither the House nor Senate version has been heard in committee.


SUPPORT HB 1323 / SB 1580 Florida Guide to a Healthy Marriage  
Sponsors: Rep. Clay Yarborough (R), Rep. Danny Burgess (R), Sen. Kelli Stargel (R)

Creates the Marriage Education Committee, which is tasked with developing the Florida Guide to a Healthy Marriage, which is required to include resources on conflict management, communication skills, family expectations, financial responsibilities and management, domestic violence, and parenting responsibilities; current information from marriage education and family advocates to assist in forming and maintaining a long-term marital relationship; and information regarding premarital education, marriage enrichment education, and resources that are available to help restore a marriage that is potentially moving toward dissolution. Clerks will be responsible for posting the guide on their websites and individuals applying for a marriage certificate must certify that they have read it or similar resources.

Status: The House version will be heard in its first committee on Tuesday. The Senate version has not yet been heard in committee.

OPPOSE HB 130 / SB 6027 Same-Sex Marriage 
Sponsors: Rep. David Richardson (D), Sen. Gary Farmer (D)

Removes the language in state statute which prohibited same-sex couples from marrying and the State of Florida from recognizing same-sex marriages from other states.

Status: Neither the House nor Senate version has been heard in committee.


SUPPORT HB 871 / SB 1290 Free Enterprise Protection Act  
Sponsors: Rep. Jay Fant (R), Sen. Dennis Baxley (R)

Prohibits any level of state government or individual acting on behalf of the state from discriminating against a business based upon their internal personnel or employee benefits policies or their exercise of free speech and religion as protected under the Florida and federal Constitutions. The state and its subdivisions would be prohibited from revoking tax exemptions and benefits; denying grants, certifications, licenses, etc.; and access and entitlement to property, facilities and speech forums, among other provisions.

Status: Neither the House nor Senate version has been heard in committee.

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