• Florida Policy Watch

FL Leg Roundup Part III: Voting Rights, Right to Protest & Privacy

TALLAHASSEE, FL - In the final weeks of legislative session the Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis played with legislative rules to pass HB1 the DeSantis Anti-Protest bill and pass one of the nation's most egregious and comprehensive voter supression bills (SB90). Still waiting to be signed into law by the Governor is a drones bill that allows law enforcement to use drone surveillance without a warrant (SB44) and which may be used in conjunction with HB1 to put protests under surveillance and push massive arrests after-the-fact.

Bill: HB1 DeSantis Anti-protest Bill

Category: First Amendment, Free Speech, Racial Justice, Criminal Justice

Status: Passed the Senate and House as HB1 despite the fact that its Senate committees never heard the companion bill SB 484. Signed into law by the Governor.

Summary: This massive bill criminalizes the first amendment right to protest and legalizes the use of a vehicle to run over protestors (Stand Your Ground Law where the car is the gun). The bill also increases penalties for defacing monuments and contains a preemption clause that limits state funding to local municipalities that choose to defund police. It allows for civil lawsuits of local municipalities by individuals if they “fail to provide police protection” thus encouraging the over policing of events. The bill also creates a new criminal offense of “mob intimidation,” defined as a group of three or more people who act with a “common intent” to compel “or attempt to compel” another person to “do any act” or “assume or abandon a particular viewpoint.” The offense is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.

Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/3eczAsM

Get More Involved: Join one of the many groups that fought this bill and will continue to fight the bill as it moves through the courts and comes up in legislation next session (committee meetings start in September 2021). This includes, Florida Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression, ACLU of Florida, Southern Poverty Law Center, Black Voters Matter, Florida Rising, Florida Conservation Voters, and many local groups including Tallahassee Community Action Committee and Jacksonville Community Action Committee.

Learn More and Protect Yourself:

1) ACLU of Florida's What Did HB1 Do?

2) ACLU of Florida's Know Your Rights Under HB1

Bill: SB90 Vote-by-Mail Ballots

Category: Voting Rights, Elections

Status: Signed into law by Governor DeSantis on May 5th, 2021.

Summary: Despite the fact that the majority of Republicans who voted on this bill admit that there is nothing wrong with the vote-by-mail ballot system in Florida this bill creates more vote-by-mail restrictions and processes for voters thus creating a deterrent to the vote-by-mail system. Specifically it: Limits the duration of requests for vote-by-mail ballots to all elections through the end of the calendar year of the next regularly scheduled general election; requires vote-by-mail ballot requests to include additional identifying information regarding the requesting elector; prohibits the use of drop boxes for the return of vote-by-mail ballots, etc. This is a massive bill that is still being read and interpretated by legal experts around the state. Stay with us for follow up actions - especially by groups cooperating with corporations for a boycott of Florida as a result of this voter supression bill.

Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/30FZFIx

Follow the Lawsuits:

1) ACLU of Florida lawsuit

2) NAACP Legal Defense Fund Lawsuit

3) List of organizations with lawsuits in this article by the Tallahassee Democrat

Bill: CS/SB 44 Drones

Category: Criminal Justice, Privacy, First Amendment

Status: Ordered enrolled and waiting to be signed into law by Governor DeSantis

Summary: Allows law enforcement and fire departments to use drone surveillance without a warrant and may accompany HB1 in legal surveillance during protests for arrests after the fact.

Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/38F6Kxn

Full Bill Tracker

Tracker lists bills by their current status, prioritizing bills that are moving the fastest.


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Florida Policy Action Network is a project of the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy and the Florida People's Advocacy Center. The mission of FPAN is to uplift directly impacted voices and combine movement research, public policy analysis, and citizen supported advocacy to change the way elected officials in Florida debate issues that directly impact the state's most marginalized and oppressed. We need your support to continue our work.


To find out more explore our website at https://www.flpan.org

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