The big news last week is that the Florida House passed the Parental consent before abortion bill!
Having passed in the full Senate already, the bill now goes the Governor DeSantis’ desk who has promised publicly to sign it into law. Currently, 37 states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. Twenty-one states require only parental consent; three of these require both parents consent. Five states require both parental notification and consent. Eleven states require only parental notification; one of these requires that both parents be notified.
Florida’s parental “notification” law enacted several years ago was weak, had major loopholes on notification and soft penalties. In contrast, this bill requires a parent or legal guardian to provide a doctor with written consent before the abortion is begun. This parent or guardian would do so in the form of a notarized document in addition to providing the doctor with a government issued proof of identification. Doctors who perform abortions on minors without consent from the minor’s parent or guardian could face a third-degree felony or up to five years in prison.
This is a huge victory. A very similar parental consent bill passed in 1989 and was immediately appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. The liberal judicial activist court at the time used the appeal of that law to suddenly discover a “fundamental right to abortion” in Florida’s state constitution.
They used an informational privacy amendment provision adopted in 1980 to create this abortion “right”. That state abortion right is now far more powerful than the federal right to abortion established under Roe vs. Wade in 1972. Even if the US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, it would not matter in Florida because of our own super powered, court created, state abortion right. If this new parental consent law is appealed, then the new Florida Supreme Court will have an opportunity to review the law’s constitutionality with fresh eyes and determine if the people of Florida really voted for a fundamental right to abortion when they adopted Florida’s informational privacy amendment in 1980.
SUPPORT: HB 265 /SB 404: Requiring Parental Consent before Abortion by Grall / Stargel UPDATE: Bill was passed Thursday February 20, 2020, by the full Florida Legislature. The bill is now headed to Governor Desantis’ desk and he is expected to sign. This law would take effect on July 1, 2020.
SUPPORT: SB 734: Termination of Pregnancy by Children with Down Syndrome by Gruters (Prenatal non-discrimination) This bill would prohibit an abortion from being performed for the reason that the unborn child has been diagnosed with or otherwise determined to be at risk for Down Syndrome.
The majority of unborn children who receive a diagnosis of Down Syndrome are aborted. This practice amounts to discrimination against people with disabilities. This bill would ensure the protection of unborn children determined to have Down Syndrome. UPDATE: NO MOVEMENT ON THIS GOOD BILL.
SUPPORT: SB 864 / HB 1217: Surrendered Newborn Infants by Baxley/Beltran: This bill increases the age of surrender from 7 days to 30 days old. It authorizes hospitals, emergency medical services stations, and fire stations to use newborn safety devices to accept surrendered newborn infants and requires such hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station visually check and test the device within specified time frames. The bill also provides additional locations under which the prohibition on the initiation of criminal investigations based solely on the surrendering of a newborn infant applies.
UPDATE: The House bill is ready to be heard on the House floor but has not yet been scheduled. The Senate companion bill, SB 864 must pass through two more committees prior to being eligible to be heard on the Senate floor.
SUPPORT: HB 271: Heartbeat by Hill: This bill defines a preborn human being and intrauterine heartbeat. The bill would prohibit abortion to be performed on any preborn human if an intrauterine heartbeat is detectable. The premise for that prohibition is the fact that the heartbeat indicates the presence of a living human being. The bill removes emergency medical exceptions and requires the physician to let the expectant mother hear the heartbeat and be informed of statistics related to the survival of the preborn child. UPDATE: NO SENATE SPONSOR SO THE BILL WILL NOT MOVE.
OPPOSE: HB 6047: Reproductive Issues by Eskamani (repeal of current laws): This bill would eliminate the 24-hour waiting period requirement for obtaining an abortion. It would also repeal prohibitions on state funding of abortion clinics.
This bill is an attempt to dilute common-sense informed consent procedures for abortion and increase state funding of abortion. It has no Senate companion bill, so it is unlikely to move forward. UPDATE: NO MOVEMENT ON THIS BAD BILL.
OPPOSE: HB 95 / SB 60 Joint Resolution Bill on Representation of Women by Polsky/Book: This resolution proposes an amendment to the State Constitution that would allow a vote on abortion issues in the Legislature only if half the members of that house are women. Such an amendment could result in the disenfranchisement of Florida citizens who elect male Representatives or Senators. UPDATE: NO MOVEMENT ON THIS BAD BILL.
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY:
SUPPORT: HB 319/SB 682 Guide to a Healthy Marriage by Yarborough/Baxley: This bill would create a committee that would author and publish a Florida Guide to a Healthy Marriage – to be made available to couples seeking marriage licenses in Florida. The purpose of the Guide is to provide a more comprehensive presentation of challenges, goals, and expectations of marriage in order to facilitate healthier marriages.
HISTORY: The bill passed Judiciary in 2018 on a bipartisan vote with Democrat Senators Bracy, Thurston, and Powell voting yes. *SB 682 WAS on the agenda of the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee for Tuesday, January 28, 2020, AND PASSED FAVORABLY WITH AMENDMENTS. The Civil Justice committee in the House heard the house companion bill HB 319 on February 4, 2020.
UPDATE: This bill has one more committee to pass before it can be heard on the Senate floor. The House bill must pass one more House committee before it can be heard on the House floor.
SUPPORT: SB 1634 / HB 1059: Parental Rights by Stargel/Grall: This bill is known as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights.” The bill finds that it is a fundamental right for parents to direct the upbringing, education and care of their minor children. It prohibits the State and all political subdivisions from infringing on parental rights without demonstrating a compelling interest narrowly tailored to meet that interest.
The bill also requires each district school board in consultation with parents, teachers, and administrators, to develop and adopt a policy to promote parental involvement in the public-school system. The bill provides that parents have the right to make health care decisions for their child and prohibits certain health care procedures from being administered without parental consent.
HISTORY: The bill passed favorably through its final committee in the House on February 18, 2020.
UPDATE: The Senate companion bill, SB 1634, must be voted favorably through one more committee before it can be heard on the Senate floor.
OPPOSE: HB 6011 / SB 1010 Marriage Equality by Hattersley/Farmer: Florida statute still recognizes marriage as between one man and one woman, although, in practice, Florida issues marriage licenses to same sex couples. This bill would repeal that language and statutorily recognize marriage between persons of the same sex/gender. UPDATE: NO MOVEMENT ON THIS BAD BILL.
OPPOSE: SB 698 / HB 1287 Assisted Reproduction Facilities by Book/Jenne: This bill would allow reproductive facilities to create their own rules and procedures for the distribution of embryos.
It requires a donor to enter into a contract with a donor bank or fertility clinic before he or she may donate that indicates what will be done with gametes and embryos if the donor dies or is incapacitated, the designated recipient dies or is incapacitated, the donor and recipient divorce or separate, and if the gamete or embryo is unused or donated to science/a different donor.
It also requires the Department of Health to perform annual inspections of donor banks and fertility clinics without notice; providing civil and criminal causes of action for, criminal penalties for, and disciplinary action against a physician who intentionally or recklessly artificially inseminates a patient with the incorrect sperm, eggs, or embryos, etc. by charging them with sexual battery and a felony of the 3rd degree.
UPDATE: This bad bill was up in the House Health Quality Subcommittee on February 3, 2020.
OPPOSE: SB 64: Exemptions from School-Entry Health Requirements by Book: This bill would eliminate parents’ ability to exempt their children from immunizations on religious grounds. The bill would require all school children to receive immunizations, regardless of religious objections of parents.
Due to the outpouring of negative feedback upon filing the bill, Senator Book has pulled back her efforts to push the bill forward. UPDATE: NO MOVEMENT ON THIS BAD BILL.
SUPPORT: SB 1864 /HB 1365 Prohibiting Transgender Surgeries Vulnerable Child Protection Act by Baxley/Sabatini: This bill defines “sex” as “the biological state of being female or male based on sex organs, chromosomes, and endogenous hormone profiles,” and prohibits health practitioners from performing any procedures or causing any procedures to be performed on a minor for the purpose of changing the minor’s sex.
UPDATE: Rep Carlos Smith (D), an open gay-identified legislator, threatened to file dozens and dozens of amendments taking up all the committees time right before this bill was to be heard. So there was a decision by the committee leadership to allow this bill to at least be heard in a workshop with public testimony but without a committee vote. This bill was be heard for the first time in the House Health Quality Subcommittee on February 3,2020, in the workshop format with no vote.
SUPPORT: HB 305 / SB 1126 by Rommel/Gruters: This bill defines “condition of employment” as it relates to the employer/employee relationship and prohibits municipalities from enacting requirements on conditions of employment that are not mandated by state or federal law.
The effect of this bill would be to void local ordinances in Florida that require sexual orientation and gender identity to be part of their employment anti-discrimination policy.
UPDATE: HB 305 was on the agenda in Local, Federal, and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee for Tuesday, January 28th at 9am in 12 House.
Rep Bobby Payne (R) is the Chair of the subcommittee and Rep Bob Rommel (R) is Vice Chair. In all, there are ten Republicans (Reps Payne, Rommel, Buchanan, DiCegile, Hage, Killebrew, Overdorf, Tomkow and Zika) and five Democrats (Reps Silvers, Antone, Eskamani, Jenne, and Jones) on the committee. NO MOVEMENT ON THIS GOOD BILL.
SUPPORT: HB 3C1 / SB 1336 by Grant/Perry: This bill expressly preempts occupational licensing to the state. This preemption supersedes any local government licensing requirement of occupations. The bill would, in effect, repeal current local government prohibition of “conversion therapy” as a condition for licensure and would prohibit local governments from enacting future bans.
UPDATE: This bill was heard for the first time in Senate Community Affairs on February 3, 2020. It was also passed favorably off the House floor on February 20, 2020. The Senate bill must pass favorably through two more committees before it can be heard on the floor.
SUPPORT: HB 537 by Donalds: This bill preempts local government from enacting rules of licensure or regulation of a home-based business. The effect of such a rule is that only the state would be permitted to regulate home-based businesses. Local governments would no longer have the ability to ban “conversion therapy” as a requirement for licensure of a home-based business.
UPDATE: This bill passed through its second referred committee on February 20, 2020. It must pass one more committee before it can be heard on the House floor. Senate companion bill, SB 778, must pass through three committees before it can be heard on the Senate floor.
OPPOSE: HB 41 / SB 180 Conversion Therapy by Grieco/Rodriguez: This bill defines “conversion therapy” as “any practice or treatment performed on an individual with the goal of changing the individual’s sexual orientation, including, but not limited to, efforts to change behavior, gender identity, or gender expression, or efforts to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attraction or feelings toward an individual of the same gender.”
The bill prohibits any counselor/therapist from practicing “conversion therapy” with any person under the age of 18. Any practitioner found to be in violation of the provision would be subject to disciplinary action. This bill would work a chilling effect on counselors in the practice of their chosen profession. UPDATE: NO MOVEMENT ON THIS BAD BILL.
OPPOSE: HB 655 / SB 940 Crimes Evidencing Prejudice by Geller/Rader: This bill expands grounds for reclassification of offenses to include prejudice based on gender or gender identity of any person – in addition to qualifications already listed in statute such as race and ethnicity.
The bill specifies that reclassification occurs if commission of offenses is based on prejudice towards any person on specified grounds. This bill would create a potentially harsher penalty for a crime committed against a person who identifies as LGBTQ. UPDATE: NO MOVEMENT ON THIS BAD BILL.
OPPOSE: HB 161 / SB 206 Prohibited Discrimination by Toledo (Prime-Cosponsor, Webb) / Rouson: This bill prohibits “discrimination” based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public lodging establishments and public food service establishments. It revises provisions of Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 and the Fair Housing Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
The bill also purports to provide an exception for constitutionally protected free exercise of religion. The “exception” reads, “This section does not limit the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the State Constitution.”
Such an exception is vague and leaves business owners who have sincerely held religious or moral beliefs open to penalties. This bill would be especially onerous to people who own small businesses. UPDATE: NO MOVEMENT ON THIS BAD BILL.
OPPOSE: SB 1860 / HB 1389 Availability of Marijuana for Adult Use by Brandes/Smith (C): This bill repeals the language regulating Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC) and allows for the Department of Health to adopt by rule the operating standards for the packing, processing, cultivation, and labeling of marijuana. The bill revises the sales tax exemption for the sale of marijuana and marijuana delivery devices to only include sales to qualified patients or caregivers. It specifies application requirements for MMTCs to obtain cultivation licenses and processing licenses and authorizes MMTCs licensed to cultivate or process marijuana to use contractors to assist with the cultivation and processing of marijuana.
This bill could potentially broaden the use and circulation of marijuana. UPDATE: NO MOVEMENT ON THIS BAD BILL.
OPPOSE: SB 720: Medical Use of Marijuana in Schools by Montford:This bill would allow a parent to request that authorized medical marijuana treatment be administered to their child in school. UPDATE: NO MOVEMENT ON THIS BAD BILL
OPPOSE: SB 962: Medical Marijuana Employee Protection by Berman: This bill prohibits an employer from taking adverse personnel action against an employee or job applicant who is a qualified patient using medical marijuana. It requires an employer to provide written notice to an employee or job applicant who tests positive for marijuana of his or her right to explain the positive test result and provides procedures when an employee or job applicant tests positive for marijuana. UPDATE: NO MOVEMENT ON THIS BAD BILL.
JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSIONS:
OPPOSE: HB 379 / SB 86: Judicial Nominating Commissions by Jacquet/Thurston: This bill would alter the composition of JNCs by allowing only 3 members of the Florida to be appointed by the Bar Board of Governors, 3 to be appointed by the Governor (only two of whom can be Bar members) and prohibiting more than 5 members of the JNC from being from the same political party.
It would also terminate terms of commission members as of specified date, provide for appointments and staggered terms for reconstituted commissions, and provide term limits. The bill requires diversity considerations in appointments and requires appointing authorities to collect and release certain demographic data from commission applicants and members. There are provisions for voting restrictions and conflict disclosure as well as a requirement that commission members complete an educational course after appointment. UPDATE: NO MOVEMENT ON THIS BAD BILL.
OPPOSE: HB 45 / SB 56: Private School Eligibility Requirements by Eskamani/Rouson: Under the provisions of this bill, any private school that accepts students from the State Scholarship Program, “may not deny enrollment to a student based on the student’s race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
This provision would violate the right of a private school to hold certain religious views or policies. UPDATE: NO MOVEMENT ON THIS BAD BILL.
SUPPORT: SB 1246: Dual Enrollment by Stargel: This bill clarifies that secondary students eligible for dual enrollment programs include students who are enrolled in home education programs It prohibits district school boards and Florida College System institutions from denying students who have met eligibility requirements from participating in dual enrollment except under specified circumstances. The bill also provides that certain independent colleges and universities are eligible for inclusion in the dual enrollment and early admission programs and establishes the Dual Enrollment Scholarship Program.
UPDATE: This bill must be heard and passed through one more committee before it can be heard on the Senate floor. The House companion bill, HB 187, was passed favorably through its final committee and is now eligible to be heard on the House floor.
OPPOSE: SB 968/970/972 Sports Wagering by Brandes: This bill defines “sports wagering” and provides for the following: “Sports wagering authorized.—Notwithstanding any other law, a person who is 21 years of age or older may wager money or any other thing of value on a sports event if the wager is placed with the department or a licensee and the person is physically present in this state.” This bill requires the Department of the Lottery to regulate this practice. The result of this bill would be increased avenues for gambling in the state of Florida.
SUPPORT: HB 1195 Gaming Reduction by Plakon: This bill authorizes and directs the Governor, in cooperation with Seminole Tribe of Florida, to execute new gaming compact. The bill creates Pari-mutuel Site Redevelopment and Job Creation Program, requires Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to revoke permit to conduct pari-mutuel wagering for permit-holder that fails to make specified payments or obtain operating license, prohibits division from issuing license to conduct or authorize slot machine gaming after specified date, revises tax rate on slot machine revenue at certain facilities, and prohibits specified card-room games. NO MOVEMENT ON THIS GOOD BILL.
SUPPORT: SB 1318/HB 991 Lottery Game Warnings by Perry/Robinson: This bill directs the Lottery to require vendors to place the following message prominently on all lottery tickets: “PLAY RESPONSIBLY.” The bill requires the Lottery to provide the same message in all advertisements or promotions of lottery games, including those on television, the Internet, print, and the radio. The bill prohibits the player’s use of electronic devices in playing lottery games and prohibits the Lottery from conducting a lottery game in which the winner is chosen on the basis of the activities or outcomes sporting events. The bill requires $500,000 annually from the Lottery’s Operating Trust Fund to be allocated toward preventing compulsive and addictive gambling.
HISTORY: SB 1318 was referred to three committees and is still sitting in its first committee, Industry, Innovation Technology. HB 991 PASSED FAVORABLY through Gaming Control Subcommittee on January 27, through Government Operations and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee on February 11, and Commerce Committee WITH AMENDMENTS on February 20.
UPDATE: HB 991 will be heard on the House floor for Second Reading on March 3 at 11:30am. However, because the Senate companion bill, SB 1318, is not moving through its committees, THIS BILL IS UNLIKELY TO PASS.