Florida's Legislature - what's happening now?

Body

There are two weeks left in the state legislative session. Republican legislators are using their control to make it harder for returning felons to vote and for citizens to use the ballot initiative, restrict abortion rights,  pass anti-immigrant measures, and arm teachers, among other matters. 

Let’s make our voices heard about these issues. Contact your representative and let them know where you stand. In all your communications tell your legislators you are part of the Indivisible movement! They need to know we are a voting bloc and will determine their fates in future elections!

Find your state Senator and Representative here

 

Here are the highest priorities, courtesy of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida:

HB 7089; SB 7086 - OPPOSE

Voting Rights Restoration

This bill undermines Amendment 4, the constitutional amendment that restores the eligibility to vote to Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all of the terms of their sentence. The amendment, which excludes those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, received votes from 5.1million Floridians and passed in November.

The bill places unconstitutional restrictions on the eligibility to vote for individuals who should have their voting rights restored, as Floridians intended. Among other deficiencies, the bill creates additional financial barriers to voting that were not considered a part of a person's sentence after receiving sentencing instructions from a judge and conditions the right of people who are eligible to vote on whether or not they can afford to pay fees. 

 

HB 1335; SB 1774 - OPPOSE

Parental Consent

This bill requires teens to obtain parental consent prior to receiving an abortion. Most teens already seek the counsel of their parent or guardian when it comes to a decision like this. If they don't, there's usually a good reason. That's why leading health and medical professionals oppose these laws. And requiring this burdensome restriction will impact young people who already face obstacles to accessing care. Parents want to be involved in their teenagers' lives but good family communication can't be imposed by politicians. Our first priority must be to keep our teens safe. This legislation would have the opposite effect.   

 

HB 7075; SB 7070 - OPPOSE

School Choice/K-12 Education (Voucher Expansion)

This bill pertains to various existing voucher programs, including creating a new one called the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program. Passage of this bill will greatly expand "scholarships" and increase eligibility. The League of Women Voters affirms that funneling general revenue dollars to private and religious schools reduces general revenue for public schools and is clearly unconstitutional based on a 2006 Florida Supreme Court case.   

 

 HB 7093; SB 7030 - OPPOSE

School Safety and Security (Arming Teachers)

This bill is commonly known as the "Guardian" bill and intends to arm teachers. Last session a version of this bill passed, but stated that teachers who "exclusively perform classroom duties" are ineligible to participate. The current version eliminates that clause, thus allowing teachers to carry a gun into the classroom. The House version was scheduled for a floor vote this past Wednesday but was temporarily postponed. 

 

HB 527; SB 168 - OPPOSE

Federal Immigration Enforcement

This bill prohibits sanctuary policies in Florida. It is a misguided and discriminatory anti-immigrant bill that would endanger immigrants, people of color, and every community in our state. 

It will also hurt already limited law enforcement resources by making their work more difficult because it will further erode police-community trust. Victims of crime and survivors may not come forward for fear of being targeted.

 

 HB 7113; SB 7068 - OPPOSE

Transportation

This bill will carve three corridors through Florida's undeveloped areas:

  • "Southwest-Central Florida Connector" extending from Collier to Polk County (a previous highway was planned for this route called the Heartland Parkway)
  • "Suncoast Connector" - extending from Citrus to Jefferson County
  • "Northern Turnpike Connector" extending from the northern terminus of the Florida Turnpike northwest to the Suncoast Parkway 

Building these roads is very expensive, costing over $500M between 2020 and 2023 and more after that. This will take money away from other infrastructure projects such as wastewater, drinking water, and repair of existing roads and bridges.

These roads will also result in urban sprawl and will devastate the habitat of dozens of threatened and endangered species. These roads will destroy important wetlands, forests, springs, and aquifer recharge areas. 

 

 HB 49; SB 332 - SUPPORT 

Incarcerated Women

"Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act"; requires correctional facilities to provide incarcerated women with sanitary products

 

HJR 229; SJR 274 - OPPOSE  

Limitation on Terms of Office for Members of a District School   

This bill will put a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot in 2020 to mandate term limits for school board members. It's an effort to preempt local voters, and also a payback to school board members who have opposed legislative efforts to expand testing and divert tax dollars to private and charter schools.   

 

HB 847; SB 432 - OPPOSE  

Employment Conditions

This bill would preempt local governments from establishing their own employment laws such as minimum wage, and would rescind existing laws.   

 

HB 587/SB 290 - SUPPORT

Medicaid School-based Services

This bill allows reimbursement to healthcare providers by Medicaid for certain services in schools. It would not cost the state any money and would provide much-needed healthcare to children.