• Florida Policy Watch

FL Legislative Roundup: Session Week One 3/2 - 3/5

Updated: Mar 12

TALLAHASSEE, FL - This week in the Florida Legislature: the DeSantis Anti-Protest Bill (HB1/SB484) passes House Justice Apprpriations and is on its way to its third and last committee in the House despite massive public outcry; House prioritizes and passes corporate and government COVID liability immunity (HB7); another anti-trans youth bill filed by Senator Stargel (SB2012), the union busting bill (SB78) was postponed in Senate committee but companion bill in House starts pushing harder; ALEC attack on public education in the voucher bill (SB48) heads to the Senate Floor; two anti-environment preemption bills that prohibit local municipalities from promoting 100% clean energy are being prioritized in committee meetings next week; Florida Cares does a prison cell demonstration at Florida Capitol to show conditions of incarcerated people, Progress Florida Releases "The People's Response" to the Governor, Senate President, and House Speaker's agendas; and Florida Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression holds large rally on the steps of the Capitol about HB1. Find out how you can help from home and online and what is coming up next week in Legislative Session Week Two.


Bill: HB1/SB484 DeSantis Anti-protest Bill

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

This Week: Passed House Justice Appropriations (10-5) on Wednesday, March 3 and is now in House Judiciary. Still no agenda assignment on the Senate side.

Summary: This 52 page bill HB1 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 bill sponsors and the House Judiciary Committee (the bill’s next stop). Then tweet at the bill sponsors with the letter and call them: Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin - @RepJuanFBarquin, 850-717-5119 or 305-222-4119 and Senator Burgess - @dannyburgessfl, 850-487-5020 or 813-779-7059

Bill: HB7/SB72 COVID Liability Immunity for Corporations and Government Agencies

Category: COVID, Workers Rights, Amendment 7, Corporate Corruption, Criminal Justice, Education

This Week: Passed in the House on 3/5/2021

Summary: This legislation essentially creates civil lawsuit immunity for corporations, government agencies, and schools with no way to hold them accountable for negligence around COVID-19 including protection of employees, clients and consumers. SB72 is backed by for-profit and industry related corporations and puts profits before people.

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

Bill: SB2012/HB1475 Anti-Transgender Youth Athletic Ban

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

This Week: Filed by Senator Kelli Stargel on March 2 and referred to committee on March 4 (SB2012) and filed by Representative Kaylee Tuck on February 26.

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: Tweet and call the bill sponsor - Senator Kelli Stargel: (863) 668-3028 (Local Office), (850) 487-5022(Capitol Office) and @kellistargel (Twitter Handle) and Representative Kaylee Tuck (850) 717-5055 (Capitol Office) and (863) 386-6000 (Local Office) and @kayleetuck2 (Twitter Handle)

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 its first House and Senate committees on the first day of session (3/2/2021), namely House Health & Human Services Committee and Senate Judiciary.

Summary: Limits sex educations, gives unresonable 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

Bill: HB7005/SB74 COVID Liability Immunity for healthcare facilities including nursing homes

Category: COVID, Workers Rights, Amendment 7, Corporate Corruption, Healthcare, Seniors

This Week: Passed in Senate Health Policy 3/3/2021 (5 to 4) and now in second committee assignment - Senate Health Policy and passed as Committee Substitute for House Pandemics & Public Emergencies Committee on 03/02/2021

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

Bill: SB220/HB997 Sunshine Law Restriction - Reduction of Transparency in University Presidential applications

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

This Week: House companion bill filed (HB997) and Committee Substitute by Senate Government Oversight and Accountability approved on 3/2/2021. Now in its third Senate Committee.

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

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

Category: Workers Rights, Labor

This Week: Postponed in Senate Rules its third (and last) Senate Committee meeting on 3/4/2021 and put on the agenda for its first (of two) House committee meetings, House Government Oversight, for Monday, 03/08/2021 at 10:00 pm

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: 1) Sign up to testify or send written testimony at the House Government Oversight Committee on Tuesday, March 9th at 10:00 (you can send written testimony if you are not in town) and join members of the Florida AFL-CIO have made hundreds of calls to their senators telling them to vote NO on SB 78. Call your senator and representative and tell them to vote NO on HB 947 and HB 835. Click here to be connected to your representative.

Bill: SB856/HB839 State Preemption of Energy Infrastructure Regulations

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

This Week: Put on agenda for first House and Senate Committees next week. Will be heard in Senate Regulated Industries on Tuesday, March 9th at 9:00 am and the House Tourism, Infrastructure, and Energy Subcommittee on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 1:00 pm.

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:Sign up to testify or send written testimony on House Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee on Tuesday, March 9th at 1:00 pm (you can send written testimony if you are not in town) and SEND Rethink Energy Action ALERT EMAIL

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

Category: Public Education, Student’s Rights, Equity

This Week: Passed in its final Senate committee (Appropriations) and was adopted as a committee substitute in Appropriations on 02/04/2021 - now heading to the Senate Floor.

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

Allied Actions this Week

1) Florida Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression joins Florida legislators in a mass rally on the steps of the Florida Capitol... Read MORE

2) Florida CARES holds press conference on first day of session focused on criminal justice reform and prison reform.... Read MORE

3) Progressives release "People's Response" to push back against the Governor and Legislative agendas ... Read MORE


HB1/SB484, DeSantis Anti-Protest Bill passed its second committee this week and we need you to take continued action. Please send an email to its next committee stops for HB1/SB484. For More Information Read:

1) HB1 Legislative Alert: House Pushing Anti-protest Agenda

2) Legislative Update on DeSantis Anti-Protest Bill

3) DeSantis’ anti-riot plan would criminalize peaceful protesters, says woman shot with cop’s rubber bullet

4) These bad Florida bills aim to silence racial justice advocates

5) Legislature’s anti-protest bill is anti-American

6) State Attorney Andrew Warren's opposition

7) DeSantis plan to dictate local police budgets a step too far -- even for him

8) Despite summer of protests, social justice bills face uphill climb to become Florida law

9) Shameful': Black lawmaker, white lobbyist clash over FAMU, KKK and 'viewpoint diversity' bill

Write a letter here:

LEGISLATIVE WEEK TO COME (click for more information)

Allied Partner Actions THIS COMING WEEK

Equality Florida Pride at the CAPITOL, March 10

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — On March 10, the virtual PRIDE @ the Capitol features events throughout the day from 9:00am - 7:30pm ET where volunteers will engage with lawmakers and get a chance to hear from fierce legislative allies online. We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers who are interested in contacting Florida legislators to fight back against attacks on our community and pass pro-equality legislation! Sign up to join our virtual PRIDE today! Register Here

Rethink Energy: Reclaiming Florida's Future for All, March 9-10

ONLINE - Together with several other groups, we’re hosting an advocacy day: Reclaiming Florida’s Future for All! This year we’ll be virtual! Learn how to and advocate for Clean Energy, Climate, Equity, and Environmental Justice!Read More

Florida Policy Action Network Bill Tracker

(Click the image below)

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 support allied grassroots organizations working for social, racial, environemntal and economic justice by combining movement research, public policy analysis, and citizen supported advocacy and action to change the way elected officals 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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