Florida Family Policy Council’s Legislative Insider’s Report:
Legislative Session 2023: Week 2 of 9

Dear Friends,

An exciting moment happened this week for the FFPC during the session’s last day of week two. Our Director of Pastoral Ministries, Dr. Kevin Baird, was chosen to be the Minister of the Day and give the invocation to open the Florida House of Representatives session. His prayer now goes into the official historical record of the Florida House.  We are very proud of Kevin and his remarkable work at the Capitol, bringing pastors to pray with legislators every week of the session.  Learn more about the Florida Capitol Project here.

Aaron DiPietro, our Legislative Affairs Director, testifying before the Florida House

The 2023 Legislative Session Week 2 was full of action from start to finish, with numerous committee vote victories!

The week started on Monday with a bang as Sen. Clay Yarborough defended SB 254, The Gender Interventions on Minors Act, legislation seeking to protect minors from harmful gender “reassignment” chemical and surgical castration procedures; the proposal passed during the final vote. Tuesday saw Rep. Adam Anderson successfully advancing HB 1223, the Parents’ Rights in Education Part 2 legislation, restricting classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in PreK-8th grade and protecting students and school employees from being forced to address others using “preferred” pronouns when such terms contradict biological sex.

On Wednesday, Rep. Stan McClain delivered HB 1069, a proposal to tighten sex ed curriculum standards and increase parental appeal procedures to remove harmful materials from school classrooms and libraries, with the committee voting to approve. On Thursday, Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka presented HB 7, The Heartbeat Protection Act, a bill to protect babies in Florida after six weeks; the bill was approved and now moves on to the next stop.

In addition to some of the highlights above, several other priority bills advanced through the legislature. Below are 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.

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 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,

John Stemberger

Abortion/Life Issues

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 Alert: Thursday, HB 7 passed the Health Regulation Subcommittee, 13-5, and now moves to the final committee stop, Health and Human Services Committee. SB 300 is now scheduled to be heard in the Health Policy Committee, the first of two committees, on Monday, March 20th at 3:30 pm in Room 412K in the Knott building!


SUPPORT 2. 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 Alert: The house version is awaiting a hearing. SB 1306 is now scheduled to be heard in the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee on Monday, March 20th at 12:30 pm in Room 37S in the Senate Office Building!


SUPPORT 3. 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: On Thursday, the house version passed the first of two committees stops, Healthcare Regulation Subcommittee, 17-0; the senate version had previously passed the first of three committees.

Action Alert: On Friday, HB 899 passed the final of two committee stops, Health & Human Services, 20-0, and now is heading to the House floor. SB 870 is now scheduled to be heard in the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee on Monday, March 20th at 12:30 pm in Room 37S in the Senate Office Building!


OPPOSE 4. 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 5. 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.

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 healthcare professionals from being penalized, reprimanded, or deprived of their licenses for exercising their freedom of speech by private medical certification boards.

Action: Both bills have been assigned to only two committees each and are awaiting their first hearings.

Sexuality/Marriage/Gender Issues

OPPOSE 1. 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.


SUPPORT 2. 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: The House version has been assigned to two committees and is awaiting a hearing; the Senate version is scheduled for its first of two stops, Monday, March 13th, in the Health Policy Committee, at 3:30 pm in Room 412K in the Knott Building.


OPPOSE 3. 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.


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 drag shows. Penalties range from serious fines for initial offences, to loss of business license for repeat offences.

Action Alert: The House version is still awaiting a committee hearing; SB 1438 is now scheduled to be heard in the Commerce Committee on Tuesday, March 21st at 2:30 pm in Room 412K in the Knott Building!


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: Neither bill has moved.


SUPPORT 6. 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: The house version has been assigned to three committees and is awaiting hearings; the senate version has been assigned to two committees.


OPPOSE 7. 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.


SUPPORT 8. 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: Both bills have been assigned to three committees each and are awaiting their first hearings.

Education/Parental Rights

SUPPORT 1. 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.

Action: On Wednesday, HB 1 passed the Employment and Education Committee, 16-4 and on Friday, passed the final stop, Education Quality Subcommittee, 13-3, and now heads to the floor. Also on Wednesday, SB 202 passed the Appropriations Committee on Education 9-4. It also has one remaining stop before heading to the Senate floor.


SUPPORT 2. HB 1223/HB 1069/SB 1320 Parental Rights in Education Act (Rep. Anderson/Rep. McClain/Sen. Yarborough)

Description: HB 1223 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. HB 1069 prohibits any sex education whatsoever in PreK-5th grades and 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 Alert: On Tuesday, HB 1223 passed the House Choice and Innovation Subcommittee 14-4 and heads to its final committee. On Wednesday, HB 1069 passed the House Education Quality Subcommittee 13-5, and heads to its final committee as well. SB 1320 is now scheduled to be heard in the Education PreK-12 Committee on Monday, March 20th at 12:30 pm in Room 412K in the Knott Building!


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: Both bills have been assigned to three committees. The Senate version is set for its second of three committees. It will be heard Tuesday, March 14th, at 1:30 pm in Room 412 in the Knott Building. On Thursday, the House version passed its first committee stop, Choice and Innovation Subcommittee, 17-0, and moves on to the second of three committees.


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: The House version has been assigned to two committees, while the Senate version has been assigned to three. Both bills are still awaiting hearings.


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: The House version has been assigned to four committees, while the Senate version has been assigned to three. Both bills are still awaiting hearings.

Other Relate
d Issues 

OPPOSE 1HB 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.


SUPPORT 2. 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: Both bills have been assigned to three committees each and are awaiting their first hearings.


SUPPORT 3. 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: The House version has been assigned to three committees and the Senate version has been assigned to two. Both are awaiting their first hearings.


SUPPORT 4. 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; the House bill has passed its first committee, while the Senate version is awaiting a hearing.

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