Capitol Report– April 14

As we get closer to the end of session, we’ll be sending out action alerts and notes on the activity we saw in the past week.

With Passover and Easter this week, we only saw a handful of bills we’re tracking come up in session or committee.

As a reminder, 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.

FarmerThis week, the League Legislative Champion is Senator Gary Farmer for his leadership.
Keep reading to find out why!

EDUCATION

  • HB 7069 will create the Best and Brightest Teacher and Principal Scholar Award Program that would recognize the academic achievements of teachers and principals and award them with scholarships. The League supports this bill.
  • The League is in opposition to HB 5101HB 5103 and HB 5105. These bills are linked and part of the House’s effort to provide $200 million for charter school funding. The idea is to have charter schools set up shop in areas with failing public schools and essentially replace those schools – this is specifically for HB 5105HB 5101 removes the added hour of reading that is required for schools with the lowest passing rate on the Florida language arts test. The Senate motioned to have HB 5105 conferenced (both the Senate President and Speaker of the House appoint members to a committee to reach a final agreement on the bill). Read more here on the Schools of Hope: http://bit.ly/2p3f1G9
  • SB 360 requires the Department of Education to conduct a comprehensive study of state with nationally recognized high-performing middle schools in reading and math. The League is in support of this bill. It moves onto its last committee stop in Senate Appropriations.
  • SB 376 passed the Senate floor with two amendments from Sen. Gary Farmer, our League Legislative Champion. The League is still in oppositionto this bill despite the amendments because it did not increase the potential millage a local district could implement. Thank you Sen. Farmer for your persistence to ensure fair funding for our public schools!
ELECTIONS & ETHICS

  • While there weren’t any related bills this past week, we continue to monitor all Election related bills that are coming up. Lots to come next week! Watch for Action Alerts! Happy Easter!
GUN SAFETY

  • The League is in opposition to SB 1330/HB 849 that would allow for private schools at religious institutions to decide whether they allow guns on their property. The property owner is able to make that decision. We believe there is no need to introduce firearms into churches and parochial schools where children are present. It passed out of the Senate Rules committee this week.
  • The League is in opposition to SB 1052 that references Stand Your Ground and removes “attack” from the statute. This means you would not need to be attacked where you reside for you to Stand Your Ground. The Senate has temporarily postponed (TP’d) this bill but expect to see it again this coming week.
HEALTHCARE

  • While there weren’t any related bills this past week, we continue to monitor all Health Care bills that are coming up.
NATURAL RESOURCES

  • SB 10 faced rigorous questioning on Wednesday from Senators. This bill is Senate President Joe Negron and Sen. Rob Bradley‘s attempt to solve the Lake Okeechobee discharge issue. Sen. Bradley passed an amendment last week that significantly changed the bill and addressed all of our issues with the bill. SB 10 passed with a 36-3 vote. The League is in support of SB 10. It now goes to the House.
  • SB 234 passed out of the Senate, but not without an amendment from Sen. Linda Stewart. This bill requires allocation for water management districts from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF). The amendment would have set aside 25% of the LATF for Florida Forever with $50 million going to the Florida Communities Trust. Ultimately, Sen. Stewart withdrew the amendment with the promise that Sen. Bradley would work with her on this issue next year. The League is in opposition.
  • SB 90 was back on this week’s agenda in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax sponsored by last week’s League Legislative Champion Sen. Bradley. The League is in support of this bill that will implement Amendment 4 and expand solar opportunities for Florida. Read more here: http://bit.ly/2peIvAw
Submitted by: Kelly Quintero
Legislative Advocate
LWV of Florida

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