Florida Family Policy Council’s Legislative
Legislative Session 2023: Week 3 of 9
Last week was week 3 of the Florida Legislative Session, and with it came some fantastic victories!
The week kicked off Monday afternoon as Sen. Clay Yarborough defended SB 1320, Parents’ Rights in Education Part 2, restricting classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in PreK-8th grade; protecting students and school employees from being forced to address others using “preferred” pronouns when such terms contradict biological sex; tightening sex ed curriculum standards and increase parental appeal procedures to remove harmful materials from school classrooms and libraries. The bill passed and moved on to the next committee stop.
Later in the day, Sen. Erin Grall presented SB 300, The Heartbeat Protection Act, a bill to protect babies in the state of Florida after 6 weeks, restrict chemical abortions, and expand resources to support the Florida Pregnancy Care Network to help unexpectant mothers; the bill was approved and now moves on to the next stop.
Tuesday afternoon saw Sen. Clay Yarborough present SB 1438, Protecting Children from Adult Entertainment Act. 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. The bill passed and heads to its second committee stop.
Wednesday afternoon, Reps. Randy Fine and Ralph Massullo defended HB 1421, the Gender Interventions on Minors Act, legislation seeking to protect minors from harmful gender “reassignment” chemical and surgical castration procedures, sharing the scientific and research data against these harmful procedures. The bill passed and heads to its second stop.
On Thursday, HB 1223 was merged in one bill with HB 1069. Reps. Stan McClain and Adam Anderson skillfully presented the newly amended HB 1069, the House version of the Parents’ Rights in Education Part 2 with the committee approving the bill, which now heads to the full House for a final vote next week.
Simultaneously, at the same time on Thursday, Sen. Clay Yarborough defended SB 254, The Gender Interventions on Minors Act, in the second committee stop, Fiscal Policy. This legislation seeking to protect minors from harmful gender “reassignment” chemical and surgical castration procedures; the proposal passed and now heads to the Senate for a final vote.
In addition to some of the major bill action above, several other priority bills advanced through the legislature; below, we have listed for you 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 all 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.
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: HB 7 passed the first committee and is now awaiting the final committee stop, Health and Human Services Committee. On Monday, SB 300 passed the Health Policy Committee, the first of two committees, 7-4. SB 300 is now scheduled to be heard in the Fiscal Policy Committee on Tuesday, March 28th at 8:30 am in Room 110S in the Senate Office 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: The House version is awaiting a hearing in the first of three committees. On Monday, SB 1306 passed the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee, 7-0 and moves to its second of three committees.
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 Friday, HB 899 passed all committee stops and is now scheduled to be heard on the House floor next week. On Monday, SB 870 passed the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee, 4-3, and now moves on to the final committee stop.
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.
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: On Wednesday, HB 1421 passed the Healthcare Regulation Subcommittee 12-5 and now heads to the final committee stop. HB 1421 is now scheduled to be heard in its final committee hearing, Health and Human Services Committee on Monday, March 27th at 2:00 pm in Room 404H in the House Office Building! On Thursday, SB 254 passed the final committee stop, Fiscal Policy, 13-6, and now heads to the full Senate.
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 drag shows. Penalties range from serious fines for initial offences, to loss of business license for repeat offences.
Action: On Friday, HB 1423 passed the Commerce Committee, 13-6, and now advances to the final committee stop. On Tuesday, SB 1438 passed the Judiciary Committee, 8-3, and now advances to the final committee stop on the Senate side.
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: The house version has been assigned to three committees and is awaiting hearings; the senate version has been assigned to two committees.
SUPPORT 4. 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.
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 Thursday, the Senate took up HB 1, which had been approved by the House last week, and also passed the bill, 26-12. HB 1 now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature!
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: On Thursday, HB 1223 was merged into HB 1069, becoming one amended bill. Subsequently, HB 1069 passed the House Education and Employment Committee, 14-6, and is now scheduled to be heard on the full house floor next week period. On Monday, SB 1320 passed the Education PreK-12 Committee, 9-3, and now moves to the final Senate committee.
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 all the committees and is now scheduled to be heard on the House floor next week. SB 52 is now scheduled to be heard in the Fiscal Policy Committee on Tuesday, March 28th at 8:30 am in Room 110S in the Senate Office Building!
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 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 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 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: 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 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. SB 610 is now scheduled to be heard in the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee on Monday, March 20th at 11:30 pm in Room 37S in the Senate Office Building!