Florida Family Policy Council’s Legislative Insider’s Report:Legislative Session Week 6 of Week 9
The 2023 Legislative Session Week 6 is finished! 6 weeks down – 3 weeks to go!
On Thursday, The Heartbeat Protection Act officially passed the State House. Later that evening, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed this landmark legislation into law! This legislation provides the strongest protections for the unborn, protecting the unborn after 6 weeks gestation, the point at which a heartbeat can be detected. The bill also provides a record investment in the Florida Pregnancy Care Network to provide resources and support for Florida’s expected mothers during and after pregnancy. After over seven hours of passionate debate and multiple protests – including one that resulted in the House chamber gallery being cleared by the Speaker – the bill passed 70-40 with seven GOP representatives joining the Democrats in opposition, including Reps. Mike Caruso; Karen Gonzalez-Pittman; Peggy Gossett-Seidman; Sam Killebrew; Chip LaMarca; Vicki Lopez; and Rick Roth; seven additional GOP reps also did not vote.
Below, we have listed 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.
As always, 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 would 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, after over seven hours of debate, SB 300 passed the full House floor, 70-40, with seven GOP representatives joining the Democrats in opposition; several other GOP reps did not vote. Having previously passed the Senate, SB 300 was signed into law Thursday night by Governor DeSantis!
SUPPORT 2. 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: HB 899 previously passed the House floor, 111-0, and has been sent to the Senate. SB 870 is waiting 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: On Monday, HB 1403 passed its final committee hearing, Health Regulation Subcommittee, 11-5, and now moves to head to the full House for a final vote. SB 1580 is awaiting its final hearing on the Senate side before going to a final vote there.
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: HB 1421 passed all committee assignments and is awaiting a final full House floor vote. SB 254passed the full Senate by a vote of 27-12, with Sen. Gayle Harrell being the only no vote in the GOP caucus.
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 sexually explicit drag shows. Penalties range from serious fines for initial offences, to loss of business license for repeat offences.
Action: On Monday, HB 1423 passed the final committee stop, State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee and now heads to the full House for a final vote. On Tuesday, SB 1438passed the full Senate on a 28-12 party line vote and is heading to the House.
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: SB 1674 passed the first stop and is waiting for the final committee stop. On Monday, HB 1521 passed its final committee, the Commerce Committee, 14-5, and now heads to the full House for a final vote shortly!
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: HB 1069, (which also includes the language of HB 1223) passed the House and has been sent to the Senate. On Thursday, SB 1320 passed its final Senate committee stop, Fiscal Policy, 14-6 and now heads to the full Senate vote for a final vote.
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: HB 379 passed the House floor, 110-0, and now heads to the Senate floor. SB 52 passed all committee assignments and is set for a final vote next week.
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 passed its first of three committee stops. The senate version has been 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: SB 252 is awaiting its final Committee stop, Fiscal Policy. On Monday, HB 1013 passed the Health & Human Services Committee, 12-5, and now heads to the final stop, the Commerce Committee.
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. On Tuesday, SB 610 passed the second stop, the Judiciary Committee, 10-0, and now moves on to its final stop.