• Florida Policy Watch

FL Legislative Roundup: Committee Week Four 2/8 - 2/12

TALLAHASSEE, FL - This week in the Florida Legislature: Anti-trans youth bill filed, union busting bill continues to be fast tracked, corporate ALEC attack on academic freedom and patients' rights, bills that remove sunshine law and transparency in the university hiring process, and Florida House and Senate Democrats hold medicaid expansion and police accountability press events. Find out how you can help from home and online and what is coming up next week in Legislative Committee Week Five.


Bill: HB935 Anti-transgender Youth Medical Care and Athletics Ban

Category: LGBTQIA+ Rights, Transgender Justice, Education, Healthcare, Public Health, Youth

This Week: Filed by Anthony Sabatini on 2/10/2021

Summary: HB935 criminalizes healthcare providers who provide highly necessary transgender care to youth under age of 18 in Florida and creates provisions to prevent transgender K-12 youth from participating in athletics and intramural sports. Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/3afGKtI

Actions: Send an email to the bill sponsor and his staff demanding that he withdraw the legislation. Then tweet at the bill sponsor with the letter and call him - House Rep. Anthony Sabatini: 352-989-9100 (Local Office), 850-717-5032 (Capitol Office) and @anthonysabatini (Twitter Handle)

Bill: SB74 COVID Liability Immunity for healthcare facilities including nursing homes

Categories: COVID, Workers Rights, Amendment 7, Corporate Influence, Healthcare, Seniors

This Week: Passed in Senate Judiciary 2/10/2021 (6 to 4) and now in second committee assignment - Senate Health Policy

Summary: This legislation essentially creates civil lawsuit immunity for healthcare facilities and nursing homes leaving patients with no way to hold healthcare providers accountable for negligence around COVID-19 treatment and spread within the facilities. This is particularly worrisome for nursing homes in Florida who have a track record of profit driven care-related problems. Roughly 70% of nursing homes in the United States are for-profit, and recent reports show that that these for-profit nursing homes are cited for violations at a higher rate than nonprofit facilities and things got worse after the virus hit. SB74 is backed by for-profit and industry related healthcare corporations and will, like its corporate counterpart HB7/SB72, put profits before people and patients, seniors,and employees of these agencies with no way to hold the profit driven healthcare facilities accountable for negligence during the pandemic. Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/3ruhy8I

Actions on SB74: 1) 1) Email Legislators in SB74 next committee stop (Senate Health Policy) and the bill sponsor and his staff and 2) call and tweet the email you wrote at the bill sponsor - Senator Jeff Brandes: 850-487-5024 and @jeffreybrandes

Bill: SB220 Sunshine Law Restriction - Reduction of Transparency in University Presidential applications

Category: Higher Education, Sunshine Law, Freedom of Information Act, Transparency, Corporate Influence

Calendar: On Committee agenda-- Governmental Oversight and Accountability, 02/17/21, 9:00 am, 37 Senate Building

Summary: This bill basically removed the university and college president application from the sunshine law and transparency process. It is a American Legislative Exchange Council and American Trustees and Alumni Association corporate backed legislation to prioritize “free market” administrative staff. Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/3rO6VxD

Actions: Call and tweet the email you wrote at the bill sponsor - Senator Jeff Brandes: 850-487-5024 and @jeffreybrandes

Bill: SB78 Union Busting Bill aka “Dues and Uniform Assessments”

Category: Workers Rights, Labor

This Week: Passed Senate Judiciary on 2/10/2021 on a party line vote (6 to 4) and is pending reference review under Rule 4.7(2)

Summary: Instead of working to help Floridians impacted by COVID-19, our legislature is taking advantage of low worker turnout at the state legislature to pass SB78 “Dues and Uniform Payments”. This legislation is essentially a union busting bill that requires public employees, including teachers, firefighters, and law enforcement officers, to reauthorize union membership annually and requires a separate authorization for deductions increasing the administrative tasks and labor of unpaid union volunteers and administrative staff at schools, public offices, law enforcement agencies and frontline workers.

Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/2YUUUK8

Actions: Call and/or tweet the email you wrote at the bill sponsor - Senator Ray Rodrigues: 850-487-5027 and @isayray

Bill: SB 264/HB233 - Corporate attack on Academic Freedom (Pro-Hate Speech and University Surveillance)

Category: First Amendment, Higher Education, Academic Freedom, Corporate Influence, University surveillance

This Week: Passed the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education on 2/9/2021 (6 to 3) and is now in Senate Appropriations

Summary: Using similar language as the 2017 American Legislative Exchange Council “Campus Free Speech” bills this legislation calls for annual assessments run by the Board of Governors that would monitor what the bill sponsors call “intellectual freedom” and “viewpoint diversity” so as to “prohibit the Board of Governors from shielding state university students from certain speech” and “expressive activities”. In lay language this would allow for university sponsored “hate speech” events, activities, and promotion, push climate change denial and global capitalist agendas, and promote corporate backed State Policy Network and ALEC positions that push a corporate and white supremacist agenda and limit critial race, gender and/or economic theory and history. This bill also allows the recording of audio and video in classrooms increasing classroom surveillance and chilling the academic capacity of other students and academic instructors to teach “leftist” or critical positions.

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

Actions: 1) Call and tweet the email you wrote at the bill sponsor - Senator Ray Rodrigues: 850-487-5027 and @isayray

Bill: SB48 School Choice and Voucher Bill - Privatization of Education

Category: Public Education, Student’s Rights, Equity

This Week: Assigned to committee agenda-- Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, 02/17/21, 3:30 pm

Summary: Instead of supporting public school students with more funding and teacher support our legislature is fast-tracking a massive 158 page school choice voucher bill that will redirect public funds into corporate backed private non-profit, for-profit and religious schools. This voucher bill streamlines the state’s five voucher programs in to two placing scholarship funding and school funding in the dark without accountability. Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/2N3gt8G

Actions: Call and tweet at the bill sponsor - Senator Manny Diaz: 850-487-5036 and @senmannydiazjr


HB1/SB484, DeSantis Anti-Protest Bill is not up for committee this week but we need you to take continued action. Please send an email to its next committee stops for HB1/SB484.

For More Information Read:

Legislative Update on DeSantis Anti-Protest Bill

Write a letter here:

LEGISLATIVE WEEK TO COME (click for more information)
Allied Partner Actions THIS PAST WEEK

Florida Senate Democrats Call for Medicaid Expansion in Response to Pandemic

article by Troy Kinsey, Bay News Nine

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Senate Democrats reiterated their call Tuesday for Tallahassee's majority Republicans to embrace Medicaid expansion as a means of covering uninsured Floridians while tackling a projected revenue shortfall in the process.... Read More

Florida Legislative Black Caucus calls for 'fair and just' police reforms

article by Ryan Dailey, News Service of Florida

Following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May and the ensuing summer of nationwide protests, the Florida Legislative Black Caucus is pushing a slew of bills for the 2021 legislative session that members say “promote fair and just” police reforms... Read More

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