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Capitol Report: Nov. 9, 2019


The third interim committee week for the 2020 Legislative session has concluded with additional policy and appropriations request bills filed. Approximately 1197 bills have been filed to date.  By the time Session kicks off, over 3,000 bills will have been filed; however, less than ten percent of those filed pass.
Many of the House and Senate appropriations committees spent time reviewing agency budget requests as the Governor prepares his recommended budget to be sent to the Legislature in December. In addition, several important issues were addressed this past week which we have highlighted. The CAG team is honored to represent the League of Women Voters of Florida.  We are closely monitoring priority legislation and engaging legislators with coordinated volunteers.

Interim Committee Meeting Schedule
In preparation for the 2020 Legislative Session, please be advised of the schedule for remaining fall interim committee meetings:

Tuesday, November 12 – Friday, November 15, 2019Monday, December 9 – Friday, December 13, 2019

The 2020 Legislative Session will convene on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.


LWVF Voting Rights Press Conference
State Senator Linda Stewart (D – Orlando) and Representative Geraldine F. Thompson (D – Windermere) hosted a press conference that highlighted efforts to protect voting rights in Florida. Senator Stewart, who filed SB 1802 on Elections during the 2019 Legislative Session, and Representative Thompson, who filed HB 1365 during the same session, plan to file bills in 2020 addressing issues that have plagued elections in Florida for decades. They were joined by Patricia Brigham, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida and other voting advocates. CAG team members attended the press conference.  

Abortion Parental Consent on Senate Agenda Next Week
With the House already moving quickly on the controversial issue, a Senate committee next week will take up a bill that would require minors to get consent from their parents before having abortions. The Senate Health Policy Committee is scheduled Tuesday November 12th to consider the bill (SB 404), filed by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland.
The House passed a parental-consent bill during the 2019 session, but the proposal died in the Senate. Sen. Stargel’s bill and a House version (HB 265) are filed for the 2020 session, which starts in January.  The House Health & Human Services Committee has approved the House version, readying it to go to the full House after the 2020 session starts.

Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, also said last week he supports a parental-consent requirement. The CAG intends to lobby hard against the bill in the Senate.

Florida Supreme Court Amendment 4 CaseThe Florida Supreme Court began considering Wednesday whether a voter-approved constitutional amendment restoring the voting rights of felons who complete their sentences means they also have to pay court-ordered fines, fees and restitution. 
Justice Ricky Polston pointed out that the court isn’t ruling on the constitutionality of the law, but rather the definition of what a sentence includes. “Whether the whole thing goes, or whether pieces of it stay, all those things would yet to be sorted out down the road, but it’s not before us right now,” he said. Whether the legal questions are settled before Florida votes in the presidential election remains to be seen.

Palm Beach County on Amendment 4
Palm Beach County residents with felony convictions who have completed their prison time and probation but owe money can still register to vote despite efforts by the Florida Legislature to keep them from the polls, State Attorney Dave Aronberg said Thursday.

Impact of previous Federal ruling on Amendment 4
In early October, two key Republican lawmakers said the intend to address some of the highlighted problems with Amendment 4 legislation that were recently criticized by Federal Judge Hinkle in his ruling on Amendment 4. Both Rep. Jamie Grant, R-Tampa, and his counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, intend on passing a bill to clean up the restoration process during January’s session.
U.S. District Judge Hinkle reserved particular ire over the changes lawmakers made to the state’s voter registration form, wondering whether lawmakers intentionally changed it to discourage felons from registering, and – in essence – stated the Supreme Court will have the “last word” on whether Amendment 4 includes payment of fines, fees and restitution.

Upcoming bills for the week of 11/11/2019

Tuesday 11/12
SB 436– Youth in Confinement, Criminal Justice committee (10:30am-12pm)
SB 404– Parental Consent for Abortion, Health Policy committee(10:30am-12pm)
SB 406– Public Records/Minor’s Petition to Waive Consent/Abortion, Health Policy committee (10:30am-12pm)
SB 130– Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, Education committee (3:30pm-5pm)

Wednesday 11/13
SB 150– Sanitary Sewer Laterals, Environment and Natural Resources (4pm-5:30pm)

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