March 10—

The 2017 Legislative Session has officially kicked off, with many of the bills that we’re tracking seeing action this week. 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.

Anitere FloresEach week we’ll have a League Legislative Champion that shows exemplary leadership in the Florida Legislature. This week our League Legislative Champion is SenatorĀ Anitere Flores. Continue reading to find out why!


 

EDUCATION

  • The Senate Education Committee passed SB 436. Dubbed the “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act”, this bill will ensure students do not face discrimination based on their religious beliefs. However, the League is in opposition to this bill because it would allow students to be proselytized by speakers during any school event. Follow the issue here: http://bit.ly/FLSB436
  • SB 376 was heard and passed in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on PreK-12 Education. This bill sets requirements for charter schools to receive funding from the state and bans personal financial enrichment. Sen. Gary Farmer withdrew his amendments to the bill which would have increased millage and addressed a few other issues. The League has withdrawn support and is now in opposition. Read up on the issue here: http://bit.ly/FLSB376
ELECTIONS & ETHICS

  • ICYMI (In Case You Missed It): The Florida Supreme Court is considering the Voting Rights amendment. Arguments were heard on Monday. This would allow most automatic rights restoration for eligible felons upon completion of their sentence. The League is in full support of this ballot measure. Read it here: http://apne.ws/2nn69q6
  • SB 934 was temporarily postponed (TP’d) by the Senate Criminal Justice committee on Monday. This bill would allow for the restoration of civil rights after completion of sentence. The League supports SB 934.
  • The Senate Criminal Justice Committee passed SJR 270 on Monday. This proposes an amendment to the constitution that would automatically restore the rights of felons upon completion of their sentence. The League supports this bill.
  • SB 80 addresses whether fees should be awarded to the plaintiff and requires public records requests be made in writing to be eligible to collect attorney’s fees. This could prevent legitimate requests from being filed because of the financial barrier. The Senate Community Affairs Committee passed the bill and it moves onto the Senate Judiciary Committee next. The League is in opposition to this bill. Read on it here: http://bit.ly/FLSB80
  • Senate Ethics & Elections passed SB 954 on Tuesday that would allow an elector’s mismatched signature to be cured. The Supervisor of Elections must immediately notify an elector once they’ve realized the ballot has a missing or mismatched signature. The League supports SB 954.
  • HB 105 is similar to SB 954. It passed the last committee stop on Wednesday and is now on 2nd reading in the House. The League supports HB 105. Follow it here: http://bit.ly/FL2017HB105
  • HB 7021 is part of Speaker Corcoran’s ethics reform. This bill requires all municipal elected officials to provide a full public financial disclosure, disclose potential conflicts of interests and expands who must receive an annual ethics training. It would also create a local government lobbyist registration. HB 7021 passed favorably in the House Appropriations Committee and moves onto the Government Accountability Committee. The League is in support of this bill.
  • The Senate Rules Committee passed SB 352 along party lines and moves onto the Floor. This bill addresses reapportionment and redistricting. As the bill stands, the League is in opposition because it’s an attempt to dictate judicial procedure when the judiciary should remain independent from the other branches. Read on it here: http://bit.ly/FL2017SB352
  • The League supports HB 7003, which prohibits legislators and elected officers from representing another person or entity for compensation before any state government body for a specific period of time following vacation of office. It just passed its 3rd Reading in the House. Read on it here: http://bit.ly/FL2017HB7003
GUN SAFETY

  • SB 128 shifts the burden of proof to the state and requires prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s self-defense claim is not valid. This bill has passed the Florida Senate. The League is opposed to this bill and all related ones. Read an editorial from the NY Times here: http://nyti.ms/2nniL0j
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB 616 on Tuesday that would allow permit holders to temporarily surrender their weapon or firearm prior to entering a courthouse. The League has no position on the bill.
  • The League has no position on HB 291 that would exempt law enforcement officers from the 3-day handgun purchase waiting period. It passed out of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee on Wednesday.
  • This week’s Senate Judiciary Committee had an interesting turn of events. With SB 910, SB 912, and SB 646 being TP’d, creating an uncertain future for all three bills. Shout out to Senator Anitere Flores for speaking out against guns on campus, airports, and other places. The League is opposed to all three bills and will continue to monitor them.

In a WFSU interview, Sen. Flores stated, “…my stance since I’ve been in the Senate on guns has been, I think, rather consistent, in that I reflect the majority of my constituents.” Read it here: http://fla.st/2mKbhr9

HEALTHCARE

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

  • The League has no position on HB 587, which would establish a pilot program to eliminate specific non-native species. The House Natural Resources and Public Lands Subcommittee passed unanimously and moves onto the House Agricultural and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee.
  • The Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee unanimously passed SB 442 which will ban fracking in the state. This bill is a long time coming and the League is proud to support this bill. Read more on it here: http://bit.ly/FL2017SB442
  • The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources saw both SB 234 and SB 10 on Wednesday. The League maintains no position on SB 234 right now until Amendment 1 is fully funded prior to dedicating additional funds elsewhere.
  • Prior to the committee, a strike all amendment to SB 10 passed. The League continues to review our no position on SB 10. Read up on the bill here: http://bit.ly/FL2017SB10

The bill specifically states “There is a need to change the focus and direction of the state’s major land acquisition programs and to shift funding and bonding capabilities from land acquisition for conservation purposes towards land acquisition and improvements to land and water areas to protect, restore, and develop water resources.

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 receives suggestions on which issues we should make a priority from local league each year. From this list we’re able to create a comprehensive list of priorities and lobby for or against these issues in the Capital.

Questions, comments or concerns? Don’t hesitate to send me an email at LWVFAdvocacy@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

Kelly Quintero

Legislative Advocate

LWV of Florida

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