|Capitol Report – April 7
We’re officially halfway through the 2017 Legislative Session and things are moving quickly!
This week we heard a combination of bills and together we were able to send our message on them. Make sure you hang tight because the rest of session will go by before you know it.
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.
This week, the League Legislative Champion is Senator Rob Bradley for his leadership. Keep reading to find out why!
- The Senate Education committee finally heard SB 926 on Monday and it had plenty of amendments to make your head spin! The League supports this bill with all of the amendments added to it.
- The League is in opposition to SB 796 which seeks to create charter districts any way possible to take away local control. It proposes a High Impact Charter Organization that would focus specifically on low income areas which does not always improve achievements for either teachers or students.
- SB 1552 will create the Best and Brightest Teacher and Principal Scholar Award Program that would recognize the contributions of teachers and principals with scholarships. The League supports this bill.
- SB 436 passed out of the Senate and was sent to the House. HB 303 was substituted for the Senate-approved version and was subsequently adopted by the House. It now is being sent to the Senate for final approval again (amendments from the original Senate bill were eliminated). The League is in opposition to this bill. Follow the story here: http://bit.ly/2patn3M
- The League continues its neutral position on HB 591 that passed out of its last committee stop on Tuesday. The bill hopes to allow flexibility and not lose funding as long as they are compliant with their class sizes. Read about it here: http://bit.ly/2oaMGvT
- The League is in opposition to HB 5101, HB 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 5105. HB 5101 removes the added hour of reading that is required for schools with the lowest passing rate on the Florida language arts test. Read more here: http://bit.ly/2ohbROa and http://hrld.us/2oRCC9M
- HB 293 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.
- SB 376 passed its final committee stop this week in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The League is still in opposition to this bill because it splits funding between public and charter schools. There have been some amendments on the bill in the past that Sen. Simmons has promised to integrate into the bill but has not done so.
|ELECTIONS & ETHICS
- The League is in support of HB 707, which addresses potential voter fraud issues by having the Florida Secretary of State share voter registration information across states. This will prevent multiple registrations. Our state Supervisors of Elections (SOEs) support this bill.The bill passed out of the House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee. It has one more committee before heading to the floor.
- The League is in support of SB 862 by Sen. Lee that exempts 16 and 17 year-olds from public records request after they’ve pre-registered to vote. It passed through the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee. This bill only has one more stop in the Senate Rules committee before going to the Senate floor.
- SB 598 passed out of the Senate Ethics and Elections committee this week. This bill would allow those who cast a provisional ballot to present identification or evidence to affirm their ballot. The League is in support of this bill.
- The League is in support of SB 726 that would allow vote-by-mail ballot to be turned into any early voting site during operating hours. This bill only has one more committee stop to go. Its companion, HB 521, has already passed the House Floor with 113-0 votes. Follow it here: http://bit.ly/2nMmHrg
- SB 1070 and SB 1072 passed out of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee. These bills would ensure that the Secretary of State enters into an interstate agreement to verify voter registration information. SB 1072 would exempt 16 and 17 year-olds from public records. These bills will prevent voters from being registered in multiple states. The League supports both bills.
- SB 1160 requires a candidate to provide a money order or cashier’s check from their campaign account if they are not qualifying by petition. This bill also prohibits elected officials from being designated as a poll watcher. The League is in support of this bill. Read more here: http://bit.ly/2paz15W
- SB 954/HB 105 ensures Supervisor of Elections contact vote-by-mail electors with mismatched signatures to cure their ballot. HB 105 passed the House last week and SB 954 adopted the language from HB 105 to subsequently pass the Senate. Read it here: http://bit.ly/2nM1jSU
- 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 Education committee this week.
- HB 245 was substituted for its Senate companion, SB 128, and passed the House. However, the Senate is unwilling to compromise on the language for this bill and prefers there be evidence that provides “proof beyond reasonable doubt” compared to the House’s “clear and convincing evidence”. This bill would shift the burden of proof in Stand Your Ground cases to the state. The League is in opposition. Read more here: http://hrld.us/2oKwnYx
- HB 779 allows for temporary exposure of a concealed weapon by a permit holder and would reduce the 2nd degree misdemeanor to a $25 non-criminal violation the first time; $500 non-criminal violation the second time; and, a 2nd degree misdemeanor the third time. The League is in opposition to this bill.
- 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. Read more here: http://hrld.us/2o6DiYT
- While there weren’t any related bills this past week, we continue to monitor all Health Care bills that are coming up.
- HB 587 passed out of the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee this week. The League is in opposition to this bill because the Florida Wildlife Commission is an independent body that should be able to create its own policies without being dictated by the Legislature.
- The League is in support of SB 198 that would require the Governor to make an appointment to the Environmental Regulation Commission within a certain time frame. It now moves into its final committee stop – Senate Rules.
- HB 1351 passed out of the House Ways and Means committee which is meant to implement Amendment 4 that passed on the August ballot. However, the House bill is “using the bill to implement the amendment to also impose disclosure and paperwork requirements for companies that finance and install solar energy products…” as stated by Mary Ellen Klas from the Miami Herald. The League is in opposition to this bill. Continue reading here: http://hrld.us/2o6K5BT
- SB 10 sparked a two hour discussion on Wednesday with its amendments. This bill is Senate President Joe Negron and Sen. Rob Bradley‘s attempt to solve the Lake Okeechobee discharge issue. Sen. Bradley’s amendment significantly changed the bill and addressed all of our issues with the bill. Thanks to our League Legislative Champion of the week, Sen. Bradley, the League is now in support of SB 10. Read more here: http://bit.ly/2nTw8Gd
A special shout out to Sen. Jack Latvala for his Quote of the Week. Listen to 4:55:39: http://bit.ly/2ohfp2Q
- SB 234 passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and will now head to the floor. This bill requires allocation for water management districts from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. The League is in opposition.
- The League is in opposition to SB 996 which will deter public participation in government by Floridians who unsuccessfully challenge development decisions to pay attorney fees and costs of real estate developers up to $50,000. It was temporarily postponed (TP’d) by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.
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