• Florida Policy Watch

FL Legislative Roundup: Session Week 6 - 4/5-9/2021

TALLAHASSEE, FL - This week in the Florida Legislature: 1) the DeSantis Anti-Protest Bill (HB1) passes its only Senate Committee and is on its way to the Senate Floor (it has already passed the House); 2) Anti-trans youth athlete bill (HB1475/SB2012) passes its final House Committee and is headed to the House Floor; 3) gutting of the state retirement system passes the House (SB84); 4) Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust sweep moves through the House and passes cutting affordable housing dollars in half; 5) Senate Rules Committee is packed with bad bills next Tuesday April 14th, and is set to hear many bills on their last committee stop including: a) the anti-trans bill (SB2012), b) the mail-in-ballot voter suppression bill (SB 90), c) the union busting bill (SB78), d) the guns in religious institutions bill (HB259), and e) the so-called "moments of silence" prayer in public schools bill (HB529); 6) the American Legislative Exchange Council attack on public education is succeeding as the limiting of Bright Futures passes in the Senate ( SB86/HB281); 7) the anti-abortion bill (SB1664/HB1221) passed its last House committee and is on the second reading calendar in the House; 8) campaign financing bill that will likely limit contributions to radical grassroots organizations is on the special order calendar on the House Floor on 4/13/2021 and on the Senate Floor on 4/14/2021; and finally, 9) the "Drones" bill that gives law enforcement the right to use drones without a warrant is getting fast tracked despite its unconstitutional challenge to the right to privacy. It passed in the Senate and is in messaging to the House. This bill would further enhance HB1 by allowing drone surveillance to be used as evidence in surveillance of a peaceful protest.

WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK (and what's coming):

Bill: HB1/SB484 DeSantis Anti-protest Bill

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

This Week: Passed Senate Appropriations on Friday, April 9th. Already passed in the House. On Senate Special Order Calendar for 4/14/2021. Will likely be up for vote on 4/15/2021

Summary: This (now 58 page) 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

Actions: Send an email to the ENTIRE SENATE HERE. Tweet at the bill sponsors and call them and tell that you OPPOSE HB1/SB484: Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin - @RepJuanFBarquin, 850-717-5119 or 305-222-4119 and Senator Burgess - @dannyburgessfl, 850-487-5020 or 813-779-7059.

Bill: SB2012/HB1475 Anti-Transgender Youth Athletic Ban

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

This Week: Passed last House committee. On House Special Order Calendar for 4/13/2021 - will probably go up for a vote on 4/14/2021 in House. On agenda for its last Senate Committee, Senate Rules, this coming 4/14/2021 at 9:00 am.

Summary: Prohibits and limits transgender girls ability to participate in athletic sports with some provisions (dependent on consistent hormone levels 12 months in a row).

Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/3c4m4of

Actions: Send an email to the bill to the ENTIRE Florida House and Senate HERE. The tweet the letter at the bill sponsors Senator Kelli Stargel @kellistargel and House Rep Kaylee Tuck @kayleetuck2

Bill: SB90 Vote-by-Mail Ballots

Category: Voting Rights, Elections

Status This Week:. Placed on agenda in its third and last Senate Committee, Senate Rules, for 4/14/2021 at 9:00 am.

Summary: Despite the fact that the majority of Republicans who have 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.

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

Actions: Send an email to the bill’s next Senate Committee HERE. Then tweet the letter and call the bill sponsor and chair of the rules committee. Bill sponsor, Senator Dennis Baxley - 850-487- 5012 (Tally office), @dennisbaxley (Twitter) and Chair of the Rules Committee, Senator Kathleen Passidomo - 850-487-5028 (Tally office), @kathleen4SWFL (Twitter)

Bill: HB241/SB582 Unsafe Schools or so-called “Parental Rights”

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

This Week: Passed in the House.

Summary: Limits sex educations, gives unreasonable rights to parents to restrict and control curriculum, violates LGBTQIA+ privacy and rights, and curtails things like black, women, LGBTQIA+ history and education.

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

Action: Email the entire Senate and tell them to VOTE NO on SB582/HB241 HERE

Bill: SB86/HB281 Bright Futures Scholarship Limitation and Reduction

Category: Education, Students Rights, Economic Justice, Workers Rights, Higher Education

This Week: Passed in the Senate and is in messaging to the House

Summary: Passed in the Senate and is in messaging to the House

Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/3mEH5uD

Bill: SB498/HB259 - Guns in Religious Institutions Bill

Category: Guns

Status This Week:. Passed the Senate Criminal Justice Committee (second of three) on 3/9/2021 and is now in Senate Rules. Passed the House Education and Employment Committee (second of Three) on 3/10/2021 and now in House Judiciary.

Summary: Allows for the conceal carry of weapons and firearms in religious institutions (currently prohibited) in Florida.

Link to More Information:https://bit.ly/3lgI03R

Bill: SB7052 Florida K-12 Education Tax Credit Fund

Category: Education, Privatization of Education, Poverty, Racial Justice

This Week: Passed the House. Referred to Senate Rules. On agenda in Senate Rules this Wednesday 4/14/2021.

Summary: Providing trust fund tax credits for education without accountability or regulation and then exempting the trust fund from the general revenue service charge; requiring any balance in the trust fund at the end of any fiscal year to remain in the trust fund and be available for carrying out the purpose of the trust fund without accountability and regardless of whether the family chooses to return to public school. Basically further corporatization of public funds for education and taking money from the poor and moving it to private “rich” schools without any accountability.

Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/2OtI0AS

Bill: HB5401/SB2512 Affordable Housing Fund Sweep

Category: Housing, Economic Justice, Budget

This Week: Placed on third calendar reading and substituted with SB 2512. Passed in the House as SB

2512. Ordered enrolled in the Senate. In messaging.

Summary: This bill would permanently reduce dollars for affordable housing by 50 to 66% while giving nearly one billion in tax breaks to big businesses.

Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/3g0UQCt

Actions: Send an email to the entire Senate and House HERE.

Bill: SB84 Attack on Public Employees Retirement

Category: Workers Rights, Retirement

This Week: Passed the House and is in Messages to the Senate.

Summary: This legislation essentially restricts and limits complicates the retirement plan process for public workers in the state of Florida.

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

Actions: Call and tweet at the bill sponsor - Senator Ray Rodrigues: 850-487-5027 and @isayray

Bill: SB1664/HB1221 Felony Abortions

Category: Reproductive Justice, Women’s Rights, Economic Justice

This Week: Passed its last House committee this week and is on the second reading calendar on the floor

of the House.

Summary: This bill is a targeted attack on reproductive freedom. The bill proposes to limit what it describes as “disability abortions,” which would involve situations in which physicians know pregnant women are seeking abortions because fetuses will have disabilities.

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

Bill: SB1890/HB699 Campaign Financing

Category: Voting Rights, Campaign Finance, Economic Justice

This Week: Placed on special order calendar in the House (HB 699) on 4/13/2021 and Special Order

calendar in the Senate (SB1890) on 4/14/2021

Summary: This bill would likely limit contributions of grassroots organizations

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

Bill: SB410/HB545 Reproductive Health and Disease Education

Category: Women’s Rights, Reproductive Justice, Gender Justice, Sex Education, HIV,

Status This Week:. Temporarily postponed in the House Education and Employment committee this week.

Summary: Senate Bill 410 would require parents/guardians to proactively

opt-in to sexual health education for their student. The standard now is to opt out. Providing young people with the information they need to make responsible decisions about their sexual health is critical to reducing unintended teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Scientific evidence shows that comprehensive sex education helps young adults withstand pressures and promotes healthy, responsible and mutually protective relationships.

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

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

Category: Workers Rights, Labor

This Week: On calendar in its last committee, Senate Rules, on 4/14/2021.

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.

Bill: SB856/HB839 State Preemption of Energy Infrastructure Regulations

Category: Environmental Justice, Home Rule, Climate Justice, Preemption, Clean Energy

This Week: Not on agenda this week but we need to keep up the pressure.

Summary: Retroactively prohibits local governments from passing any law, ordinance, regulation, policy, or resolution that prohibits, restricts or requires the construction, expansion, upgrading, or repair of energy infrastructure. The bill also preempts to the state all regulation over the construction of "energy infrastructure" which is broadly defined to include any infrastructure involved in the production, import, storage, or use of energy (drilling oil wells, solar panels, the location of gas stations, and more).

Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/3bZL2VC

Actions: Send an email to the bill’s next Senate Committee HERE.

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

Category: Public Education, Student’s Rights, Equity

This Week: Placed on Senate calendar second reading on 3/10/202.

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 into 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

Bill: CS/SB 44 Drones

Category: Criminal Justice, Privacy, First Amendment

This Week: Passed in the Senate on 3/18/2021 and is in messages to the House.

Summary: Allows law enforcement and fire departments to use drone surveillance without a warrant..

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.


HB1 (anti-protest) and SB2021(anti-trans youth athlete)

LEGISLATIVE WEEK TO COME (click for more information)

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