Florida Family Policy Council’s Legislative Insider’s Report:

Legislative Session Week 9 of Week 9

Dear Friend,


As the 2023 Legislative Session comes to a close, we reflect on the remarkable progress made in Florida. This year, our state took bold strides in areas such as protecting the unborn, advancing parental rights in education, defending the conscience rights of the medical community, and safeguarding our children from harmful practices. Florida has truly emerged as a shining example of life, family, and liberty for the entire nation. 


Despite facing fierce opposition from the left, who seemed to lack persuasive arguments, evidence, or influence, the legislature stood strong and unwavering in its pursuit of doing what is right. The emotional outbursts and protests at Gov. DeSantis’ office only highlighted the left’s inability to provide rational, well-founded arguments for their positions. In Florida they lost the elections, they lost the debates and now they are losing the policy struggle. We owe our gratitude to Governor Ron DeSantis, House Speaker Paul Renner, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, and all bill sponsors for their unwavering commitment to protecting children– born and unborn.  


In the sections below, you will find a comprehensive report on the legislative victories achieved this session, including both the good bills passed and the bad bills defeated most of which never even saw the light of day. We also outline our priorities for future sessions and celebrate the sponsors of our priority legislation.


The FFPC has also been working diligently behind the scenes on additional legislation addressing end-of-life issues, immigration, and more, ensuring that public policy consistently upholds the rights and liberties we cherish.


Our Legislative Affairs Director, Aaron DiPietro, has been a remarkable advocate on our behalf actively engaging with legislators, testifying in committee, and advancing our priority bills throughout the session.  He has also provided regular updates on our social media platforms.


To stay informed on our latest updates, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or sign up for text alerts here.


Thank you once more for your unwavering support,


John Stemberger


2023 Legislative Victories


Good Bills Passed


Abortion/Life Issues 


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. 

Victory Alert: SB 300 passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor DeSantis!


Freedom of Religion, Speech, and Conscience 


SUPPORT 2. 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 compelled 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. 

Victory Alert: SB 1580 had passed the Senate last week on a 28-11 party line vote, while on Tuesday, the same bill also passed the House on a party line 84-34, and now heads to the Governor’s desk!



Sexuality/Marriage/Gender Issues 


SUPPORT 3. 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. 

Victory Alert: After multiple votes by both chambers, SB 254 passed the full Senate by a vote of 27-13, with Sen. Gayle Harrell being the only no vote in the GOP caucus. Immediately after, the House also passed SB 254, 83-28, on a party line vote. The bill now heads to the Governor for his signature!


SUPPORT 4. 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. It also restrict local government agencies and municipalities from permitting such events on public property or in publicly owned buildings where children are allowed to access. 

Victory Alert: SB 1438 has passed both the Senate and House and is awaiting the governor’s signature.



SUPPORT 5. 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. The legislation applies to government buildings, including educational institutions and correctional facilities, among many other state owned or leased facilities.

Victory Alert: On Wednesday, HB 1521 passed in an amended form in the Senate, 26-12, with GOP Senator Gayle Harrell joining the Democrats in opposition to the bill. Immediately after, the bill was returned to the House, and quickly passed the House, 80-36, with GOP Reps. Cindy Stevenson and Paula Stark voting with the Democrats against the bill for a second time. The bill has now been sent to the Governor’s desk for his final signature!



Education/Parental Rights  


SUPPORT 6. HB 1/SB 202 School Choice Act (Rep. Tuck/Sen. Simon) 

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 after passage by both the House and Senate! 


SUPPORT 7. 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, on Wednesday, passed the Senate, 27-12, on a party line vote. The bill now heads to the Governor for his final approval!


SUPPORT 8. 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 Senate floor, 39-0, with an amendment from the original House version. On Wednesday, the House passed the amended version, 114-0, and the bill has been sent to the Governor!



Other Related Issues  


SUPPORT 9. 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. The bill also prohibits vaccine mandates on vaccines issued under federal emergency use authorization and also vaccines based on mRNA technology, over the next several years.

Action: SB 252 had previously passed the Senate, 29-6, and on Wednesday, passed the House, 84-31. The legislation now heads to the Governor for final approval!

2023 Legislative Victories


Bad Bills Killed


OPPOSE 1. HB 1033/SB 1076 Reproductive Health Care Rights Act (Rep. Harris/Sen. Berman) 

Description: This pair of bills seeks to reverse many key and recently passed protections for unborn children and their mothers. It establishes a right to abortion in state law and aims to legalize abortion until the third trimester.  

Action: Neither bill has moved. 


OPPOSE 2. HB 1231/SB 864 End of Life Act (Rep. Campbell/Sen. Book) 

Description: This pair of bills seeks to legalize physician assisted suicide in the state of Florida.  

Action: Neither bill has moved. 


OPPOSE 3. HB 393/SB 328 Gay and Transgender Panic Legal Defenses Act (Rep. Harris/Sen. Book) 

Description: This act would seek to add sexual orientation and gender identity as recognized categories in criminal defense law. Although there are some direct concerns about specific applications in real life, the main issue is the attempt of this bill to slide the subjective, undefinable, and legally fluid categories sexual orientation and gender identity into state law, despite being repeatedly rejected by the Florida legislature in other areas of law. This bill could also be precedent for future attempts to criminalize any opposition to the LGBT movement in the future. 

Action: Neither bill has moved. 


OPPOSE 4. HB 163/SB 874 Driver License and Identification Card Gender Designation Act (Rep. Arrington/Sen. Torres, Jr.) 

Description: The proposal seeks to add the category of non-binary on ID and Driver’s License State-issued cards. This action would begin the dismantling of government recognition of the biological realities of male and female and set precedent for further undermining sex-specific areas of public law. 

Action: Neither bill has moved. 


OPPOSE 5. HB 659/SB 1522 Sexually Transmissible Diseases Act (Rep. Robinson (F)/Sen. Pizzo) 

Description: Currently, under state law, to knowingly donate blood, organs, or other bodily items that are contaminated by an STD (sexually transmitted disease) or to knowingly participated in intercourse while infected with an STD without informing the partner, is a felony. This proposal would seek to lower that criminal action to a mere misdemeanor. 

Action: The Senate version failed to move. However, the House version (which had been amended to remove some of the more extreme elements from the bill) did pass its first committee stop, but thankfully, never advanced further.


OPPOSE 6. HB 219/SB 80 Marriages Between Persons of the Same Sex Act (Rep. Rayner-Goolsby/Sen. Polsky) 

Description: This provision aims to eliminate the language in state statute recognizing marriage as between one man and one woman. 

Action: Neither bill has moved. 


OPPOSE 7HB 311/SB 324 Postsecondary Intellectual Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act (Rep. Hinson/Sen. Polsky) 

Description: The proposal would remove free speech protections for college students, as well as the ability of students to film lectures or presentations in class. It also eliminates free speech reviews conducted to ensure state colleges and universities are promoting an environment protecting and encouraging the free exchange of ideas. 

Action: Neither bill has moved. 


2023 Legislative Priorities


That Fell Short


SUPPORT 1. 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 Senate version passed one committee, while the House version never moved. We look forward to considering this proposal next session.


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: Sadly, this great bill fell just short of passage. The bill passed the House unanimously, and passed almost all the Senate committees, but failed to be heard in the final committee stop. We hope to help this bill across the finish line next session.


SUPPORT 3. 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: SB 254, the Gender Procedures for Minors Act, incorporated a few of the informed consent concepts from this bill, but unfortunately, this bill failed to move this session. We strongly support bringing this proposal back next year. 


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: Both bills never moved this session, but we hope to see this measure reintroduced next session. 


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: Several elements of this bill were incorporated into other bills, but sadly this proposal did not move this session. We look forward to tackling this proposal next session. 


SUPPORT 6. 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 have 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: The House version did pass one committee, while the Senate version did not move at all. We encourage the legislature to pursue this bill next session. 


SUPPORT 7. 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 in the certification of group homes in the state of Florida. 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: The House version passed the first stop, while the Senate passed two stops, but ultimately fell short. We look forward to supporting this proposal next year. 


Florida Family Policy Council
4853 S. Orange Ave, Suite C, Orlando, FL  32806
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