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Capitol Report: January 12, 2018

Capitol Report: January 12, 2018

Capitol Report

“Bringing Tallahassee to your Doorstep”

January 12, 2018

Filed by: Stephanie Owens

It is an honor and a pleasure to serve as your legislative advocate. Wow, what a week!  We start the Legislative Session tracking over 135 bills that address our 2018 Legislative Priorities and 38 of the bills are high priority bills.

The League will always take one of three positions: 1. Support; 2. Oppose; or 3. No Position. No position means we are neutral on the issue and are closely monitoring the bill. A no position can change if a bill is amended and sways the League to either a Support or Oppose position. A Support or Oppose can also change from an amendment.

This year, we are also tracking the proposals developed by the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). The CRC convenes once every 20 years to examine the Florida Constitution and propose changes for voter consideration. The changes, created as ballot initiatives, for Floridians to vote on the November 2018 election. Learn more about the CRC here. The CRC Committees are considering the remaining 85 proposals after over 600 public and commissioner generated submissions. I’ll mention a few of their efforts from time to time. For more information follow us here.


Legislative Week in Review

Election Law

HB 609 – Vote-by-Mail Ballots
Position: High Priority/Support
Authorizes absent elector to personally deliver, or have his or her immediate family member personally deliver, his or her completed vote-by-mail ballot to early voting site during specified hours;
1/10/2018 – passed Favorable by Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee. Now moves to Public Integrity and Ethics Committee


SB 1684 – School Improvement
Position: High Priority/Support:
Revises Schools of Hope turnaround plan to define persistently low performing school as one that completes two years of a district turnaround plan and has not improved its grade to a “C”. Also includes and extra hour and extended day or summer instruction. Defines alternatives for schools that do not improve including conversion charters and contracting with outside entities.
1/12/2018: Referred to Education Appropriations Subcommittee on Pre-K – 12 Education

Gun Safety

HB 6013 – Return of Property
Position: High Priority/Oppose
Return of Property: Removes provision requiring court to order return of pistol or firearm when pistol or firearm is taken by officer with search warrant or without search warrant upon viewing breach of peace.
1/11/2018 – Favorable by Judiciary Committee; 13 Yeas, 6 Nays
Placed on Calendar, on 2nd reading

Health Care

HB 41 – Pregnancy Support and Wellness Services
SB 444 – Pregnancy Support Services Bean
Position: High Priority/Oppose
Pregnancy Support and Wellness Services: Requires DOH to contract with not-for-profit statewide alliance of organizations to provide pregnancy support & wellness services through subcontractors; provides duties of department; provides contract requirements; requires services to be provided in no coercive manner & forbids inclusion of religious content.

The Florida Reproductive Freedom Coalition knows that Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) are anti-abortion, often religiously affiliated organizations masquerading as women’s health clinics while failing to provide comprehensive, evidence-based medical care. CPCs use deceptive and manipulative practices to ultimately shame women out of getting reproductive care – particularly birth control and abortion. These fake clinics use deceptive advertising practices such as intentionally placing advertisements under the “abortion services” heading of phone and Internet directories and choosing names that are similar to abortion clinics to confuse women about what types of services they provide.

1/12/2018 – The Crisis Pregnancy Center bill passed the final read in the House and is on the Senate Appropriations Committee for next Thursday, January 18th from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM. This is the LAST committee stop for the CPC bill in the Senate.

Natural Resources 

SB 370 – Land Acquisition Trust Fund
Priority High/Support
Land Acquisition Trust Fund; Requiring a specified annual appropriation to the Florida Forever Trust Fund, etc. Requires $100 million to be appropriated annually from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to the Florida Forever Trust Fund, to be distributed in accordance with the Florida Forever Act.

The bill was amended to restrict the funds from being used for administrative costs within the departments of Environmental Protection, Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, and State, and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The bill was unanimously reported favorably as amended, by the committee members present.

1/11/2018 SENATE reported out as Favorable with CS by Appropriations;
Identical Bill: HB 1353 – Land Acquisition Trust Fund

HB 1353 which is now in the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; it needs to be amended in the same manner as SB 370.

Did you know:

  • Action Alerts: When we send out Action Alerts, it means a bill is at a CRITICAL stage in our advocacy and we need you! Your phone calls make a difference! It is YOUR VOICE that can influence a legislator’s decision on a bill! Please help boost our efforts in Tallahassee with your phone call or email when alerted!
  • You can personally track the bills through myfloridahouse.gov
  • You can watch most of the committee hearings and floor debate on The Florida Channel

Looking for a specific bill or issue that you think the League should take a position on? LWVF prides itself on being a grassroots organization and establishes our legislative priorities from local league input before each upcoming session. From those priorities, we’re able to create a comprehensive list of bills to lobby for or against in the Capitol.

Questions, comments or concerns about a specific bill that we’re tracking? There is a dedicated team of League Action Team Leads that focus on each Legislative Priority Area. I strongly suggest you join their statewide conference calls to keep updated on issues!

Till next week!

Happy advocating,

Stephanie Owens
LWV of Florida Lobbyist

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