The final week of session is usually filled with emotional farewells for legislators who are leaving because they are termed out after serving eight years. The Speaker of the House and the Senate President get to see their portraits unveiled and enter the history of past leaders on the walls of the legislative chambers.
The Florida House had its own Corona moment this week when the speaker announced that there were members who were at the CPAC conference in Washington, D.C., who may have come into contact with carriers of the COVID-19 virus. After clearing the House chamber for cleaning, everyone came back in and those who attended the conference were cleared as uninfected.
Another bittersweet moment occurred this week when our friend and pro-life champion Rep. Jennifer Sullivan announced her resignation after serving for six years, due to her recent marriage to an Air Force officer in Texas and a baby due in late April. Home educated and a Teen Pact graduate, she was one of the youngest women ever elected to the Florida House. She got in to politics for all the right reasons and got out of politics for all the right reasons. We can only applaud Rep. Sullivan for her focus on her new and growing family.
Although Session was scheduled to end on March 13, legislators will return on Wednesday, March 18, to vote on the final budget.
Florida Legislative Session 2020 delivered a great victory for LIFE and PARENTAL RIGHTS with the PASSAGE of the PARENTAL CONSENT FOR ABORTION bill – SB 404! This bill requires the consent of one parent prior to a minor girl being allowed to obtain an abortion. This bill will restore the right of parents to be involved in important decisions affecting their minor children. It will also protect minor pregnant girls facing difficult and life-altering decisions. Sponsors, Senator Kelli Stargel and Representative Erin Grall worked tirelessly to see this bill pass the finish line.
Additionally, ALL BUT ONE OF THE BAD BILLS FAILED or were killed that FFPC identified this year. Not only were these bills unsuccessful, but most of them did not even move through committees.
The one bad bill that passed, Reproductive Health by Senator Book (SB 698), is headed to the Governor’s desk. It provides a requirement that a couple who have embryos created by a reproductive facility enter into a contract to specify the disposition of created embryos in the case of divorce or separation of the couple. This contract would allow the couple to agree that the created embryos be destroyed.
Detailed Final Bill Report:
BILLS THAT PASSED
SUPPORT: HB 265 / SB 404 Abortion (Parental Consent), by Grall / Stargel: This bill would require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian of a minor seeking an abortion before that minor is permitted to obtain an abortion. The bill protects the health and safety of minors and the fundamental right of parents to direct their children’s upbringing.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: SB 404 is waiting to be placed on the Governor’s desk for his signature. Once on the Governor’s desk, the Governor has seven days to sign or veto. If he takes no action, the bill becomes law after that time period.
OPPOSE: SB 698 / HB 287: 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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: SB 698 was sent to the House floor with amendments and received back by the Senate. The Senate passed the bill favorably and it was ordered enrolled. The next stop for this bill is to be delivered to the Governor’s desk for his approval. He can either approve the bill within seven days of receiving it, veto it within seven days of receiving it, or let it pass without a signature.
BILLS THAT HAD MOVEMENT BUT DID NOT FULLY PASS
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: Neither SB 682 nor HB 319 were able to make it to the House or Senate floor for a final vote. This good bill did not pass this session.
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: HB 1059 was sent over to the Senate but because SB 1634 was postponed in the final Rules committee, it did not make it to the Senate floor. This good bill did not pass this session.
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: Because the Senate bill was stalled in committee, HB 1217 was unable to be heard on the Senate floor. This good bill did not pass this session.
SUPPORT: HB 3C1 / SB 1336: Occupational Licensing 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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: HB 3 was sent over to the Senate and referred to three Senate committees. The companion Senate bill, SB 1336, was postponed in its second referred Senate committee. Because the Senate bill did not reach the Senate floor, this good bill did not pass this session.
SUPPORT: SB 778 / HB 537: Home Based Businesses by Perry / 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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: SB 778 did not move through committees and HB 537 was not placed on the Special Order Calendar for a floor vote. This good bill did not pass this session.
SUPPORT: SB 1246 / (SB 62) / HB 187: Dual Enrollment by Stargel / Zika: 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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: SB 1246 and SB 62 remained stuck on the Appropriation Committee schedule. Similarly, HB 187 was not placed on the Special Order Calendar to be heard on the House floor. This good bill did not pass this session.
SUPPORT: SB 1318 / HB 991: Lottery Games by Perry / Robinson: This bill would place stronger warnings on lottery games and advertisements as well as prohibiting electronic devices from being used to play any lottery game.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: Because the Senate companion bill, SB 1318, did not move through its committees, this good bill did not pass this session.
SUPPORT: SB 946 / HB 737: Moment of Silence in Public Schools by Baxley / Daniels: This bill would require public school principals to direct teachers to allow for a moment of silence in the classroom at the beginning of each school day. That moment of silence will be no less than one minute and no more than two minutes.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: HB 737 was sent over to the Senate and placed on the calendar. It was read a second time and placed on third reading. Due to opposition to the bill, it was indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration before it could get to a vote. This very good bill did not pass this session. Oftentimes in the Florida Senate there is vote trading that takes place between Democrats and Republicans where in order for a Senator to get one bill passed they trade votes with members of the opposite party. Sometimes this involves good bills dying. There is always next year.
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: SB 1864 has not moved past its first committee of reference. HB 1365 was discussed during a workshop in the Health Quality Subcommittee on February 3. This good bill did not pass this session.
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: This bad bill did not pass this session.
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. SB 64 has no House companion bill and has not passed through any of its referred committees.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: This bad bill did not pass this session.
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: HB 271 has no senate companion and has not moved through any referred committees. This good bill did not pass this session.
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: SB 734 has no House bill companion and has not passed through any committees. This good bill did not pass this session.
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: HB 6046 has no Senate companion and has not moved through any committees. This bad bill did not pass this session.
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: Neither HB 95 nor SB 60 have passed through any committees. This bad bill did not pass this session.
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: Although HB 305 passed favorably through two of three committees. SB 1126 has not moved through any of its committees. This good bill did not pass this session.
OPPOSE: HB 41 / SB 180 Banning So-Called 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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: Neither bill was heard in any of its referenced committees. This bad bill did not pass this session.
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: Neither bill was heard in any of its committees of reference. This bad bill did not pass this session.
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: Neither of these bills were heard in any committees of reference. This bad bill did not pass this session.
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: Neither bill was heard in any committee of reference. This bad bill did not pass this session.
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: This bill had no House companion bill nor did it pass through any committees of reference. This bad bill did not pass this session.
OPPOSE: SB 962 / HB 595: Medical Marijuana Employee Protection by Berman / Polsky: 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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: Neither bill passed through any of its referenced committees. This bad bill did not pass this session.
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: Neither bill passed through referenced committees. This bad bill did not pass this session.
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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: Neither bill moved through any referenced committees. This bad bill did not pass this session.
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.
None of the versions of this bill had any House bill companions. They did not pass through any committees of reference this session.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: This bad bill did not pass this session.
SUPPORT: HB 1195: Gaming 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.
THIS WEEK’S UPDATE: This bill had no House bill companion and it did not pass through any referenced committees. This good bill did not pass this session.