Family Policy Council's
Legislative Session - Week 1 of 9
week was the first and opening week of the 2017 Florida Legislative
The Legislature opened the
2017 session this week with a bang! On Tuesday, we saw addresses from
the Governor, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate President.
A battle has been brewing between Governor Rick
Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran
over legislation regarding Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.
Speaker Corcoran has taken aim at ending the two programs,
which are pet projects of Governor Scott's, as wasteful of taxpayer
dollars. Much of the Governor's State of the State could be
summed up with an "I'm talking to you, Speaker Corcoran." For his part,
Speaker Corcoran remained dedicated to ending the programs he calls
corporate welfare. The Governor believes the program creates
jobs and helps the economy. The House voted 87-28 to end
Enterprise Florida on Friday afternoon.
In a busy first week, the
Legislature passed its first bill which will be sent to the Governor to
sign. The subject? The death penalty. The Supreme Court ruled
that last year's law was unconstitutional and required a unanimous jury
verdict to impose the death penalty. The Legislature passed that
measure this week, and it is expected to be sent to the Governor
In the upcoming week, our entire
FFPC staff team will be at the Capitol along with about 225 pastors,
pro-life leaders and other citizen activists for the 2017 Pro-Family
Lobby Days at the Capitol event. We packed the event out and have
reached capacity at the Civic Center venue where the event is being
held. Otherwise, I would ask you to consider buying a
last-minute ticket. We will report on that at the end of the
week (in our next Legislative Insider's Report).
Kelly, our Director of Policy and
Communications, who has extensive experience
in lobbying and politics is doing a great job representing us full time
in Tallahassee. You will hear more from her in the upcoming
weeks with updates and live-streaming video. Follow us on
social media for instant and immediate information while the news is
breaking in Tallahassee. I would recommend following us
first and Facebook
For a look at some of the bills that Florida
Family Policy Council is tracking in 2017, look at our bill summaries
below my signature. The most up-to-date list of good
bills and bad
bills can always be found on our website. We will list our
top priority bills next week.
Thanks for your support,
/ FOSTER CARE
363 / SB
200 Temporary Respite Care for Families in Crisis
Sponsors: Rep. Frank White (R), Rep.
Patricia Williams (D), Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R)
This bill would help families who are
dealing with crises, such as drug abuse, illness, unemployment, or
homelessness which have not yet led to the Department of Children and
Families (DCF) to remove children from the home. Several private,
non-profit organizations in Florida work with respite care families to
provide a temporary, safe environment for children while their parents
work to reestablish a safe and stable living environment.
This is a voluntary program on the part of the parents and seeks to
intervene in situations before children are placed in child welfare due
to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
19 / SB
1140 Injuries Resulting from an Abortion
Sponsors: Rep. Erin Grall (R), Sen. Kelli
This bill gives women who have an abortion a
new way to sue the doctor performing the abortion if they sustain
physical or emotional injuries. Specifically, if a woman was
not properly informed of the possible risk of abortion and she suffers
emotional problems as a result, she may sue the abortionist.
If the doctor was negligent in performing the abortion and the woman
suffers physical injuries as a result, she may sue the
969 / SB
1130 Pregnancy Support Services
Sponsors: Rep. Jackie Toledo (R), Sen. Aaron
This bill requires the Florida Department of
Health to contract with the Florida Pregnancy Care Network (FPCN) to
provide pregnancy support services for women who suspect or know they
are pregnant. FPCN would then provide support to pregnant women and
address their wellness needs. The bill would require subcontractors
with FPCN to promote and support only childbirth. Services provided
must be noncoercive and could not include religious content.
841 / SB
1006 Humanity of the Unborn Child
Sponsors: Julio Gonzalez (R), Sen. Dennis
This bill requires the Department of Health
(DOH) publish the following on their website: pregnancy support and
adoption services in the state (both public and private), their contact
info, and a description of services at these agencies. A statement
alerting pregnant mothers that there are agencies to assist them must
be posted on the DOH website as well as at medical offices, hospitals,
etc. that provide OB/GYN services. This bill also assists local crisis
pregnancy groups with community outreach and awareness campaigns for
options to abortion for expectant mothers.
203 / SB
348 Pain Capable Abortion Ban
Sponsors: Rep. Joe Gruters (R), Sen. Greg
This bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks,
except in rare cases. It would require abortion clinics to report the
abortions they perform annually, along with descriptive information
such as the estimated age of the child, and what abortion method was
used, etc. The bill would also allow civil and criminal damages to be
brought against any physician who intentionally violates this ban.
7037 Addressing Gambling Long-Term
Sponsor: Rep. Mike La Rosa (R) and the
Tourism & Gaming Control Subcommittee
This bill will constrict or freeze gambling
in Florida by requiring the Governor to renegotiate the state’s compact
with the Seminole Tribe, with terms for a 20-year contract. It allows
the Seminole Tribe to provide banked card games and slots outside of
Miami-Dade and Broward counties exclusively, effectively freezing state
authorized gambling outside of these areas for the next 20 years. It
requires horse and dog tracks to have live races, limits the types of
card games allowed, and bans highly addictive slot machines from these
facilities. It prohibits new permits for horse and dog tracks and does
not allow them to be converted.
1383 / SB
852 Child Victims of Human Trafficking
Sponsors: Rep. Jeanette Nuņez (R), Sen. Rene
This bill seeks to help children who have
been the victims of sex trafficking by requiring the Department of
Children and Families (DCF) to maintain a database of services
available for victims of commercial sexual exploitation,
increases the situations in which a defendant’s confession
may be used at trial, outlines procedures for assessment and staffing
in evaluating and assisting victims, and requires either DCF or the
local sheriff’s office to follow up with victims within six months to
evaluate services used and their effectiveness.
665 / SB
286 Human Trafficking Education in Schools
Sponsors: Rep. Ross Spano (R), Sen. Greg
Requires health education in public schools
to include information regarding the dangers and signs of human
303 / SB
436 Religious Liberty in Public Schools or “Florida Student
and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act”
Sponsors: Rep. Kim Daniels (D), Rep.
Patricia Williams (D), Sen. Dennis Baxley (R)
This bill would prohibit a school district
from discriminating against students, parents, or school personnel on
the basis of religious viewpoints or expression. This bill
states that a school cannot penalize or reward a student’s religious
expression in their coursework, artwork, or other specified
assignments. It provides equal access to all religions and
non-religions before, during, and after school.
281 / SB
574 Opposing United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
Sponsors: Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D), Sen.
Kevin Rader (D)
The UNSC adopted Resolution 2334 in December
2016, which stated that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a
flagrant violation of international law, has no legal validity, and is
a major obstacle to the vision of two states living side-by-side in
peace and security. The US abstained from voting when it had the power
to veto Resolution 2334. This Resolution pronounces that the
Legislature opposes and requests the repeal or fundamental alteration
of Resolution 2334 so that it: is no longer one-sided and anti-Israel and
authorizes all final-status issues toward a two-state solution to be
resolved through direct, bilateral negotiations between the parties
623 / SB
666 Creating Special Rights for LGBT Citizens or “Florida’s
Competitive Workforce Act”
Sponsors: Rep. Ben Diamond (D), Rep. Rene
Plasencia (R), Sen. Jeff Clemens (D)
The worst bill in the Florida Legislature
because of its effect on public safety and freedom of conscience. It
adds sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to Florida’s
Civil Rights Act of 1992 as impermissible grounds for discrimination.
This bill provides a new way for LGBT individuals to sue employers and
small businesses for discrimination. Would allow men access
to use women’s showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms.
A full list of House
659 / SB
742 Creating Special Rights for LGBT Citizens in Housing
Sponsors: Rep. Holly Merrill Raschein (R),
Sen. Jack Latvala (R)
Adds sexual orientation and gender identity
to Florida’s Fair Housing Act as impermissible grounds for
discrimination. Provides a new way for those in the LGBT
community to sue property owners, rental agencies, real estate firms,
etc. for discrimination. Would allow men access into women’s domestic
violence and homeless shelters.
273 / SB
578 Banning Conversion Therapy
Sponsors: Rep. David Richardson (D), Sen.
Jeff Clemens (D)
This bill makes it unlawful for people in
Florida who are licensed to provide professional counseling and others,
like pastors who are licensed counselors, to counsel youth under the
age of 18 struggling with their "sexual orientation and/or gender
identity" to think and live in a heterosexual manner consistent with
their biological gender, even if the child (as the patient) asks for
their help to do so.
8 Gaming Expansion Bill
Sponsor: Sen. Bill Galvano (R)
This bill is a massive and unprecedented
expansion of gambling in the State of Florida. It ratifies and amends
the 2015 Seminole Gaming Compact to allow lottery tickets at gas pumps,
slot machines, blackjack, poker games, and fantasy sports to be offered
across Florida. SB 8 would allow 24/7 slot machines in the
state wherever approved in a countywide referendum and would permit
free or reduced-price alcoholic beverages to be served to those using
the slots. Furthermore, it would allow horse and dog tracks
to quit live races and replace the live races with other types of
gambling while giving $20 million of taxpayer dollars annually to live
thoroughbred racing. Lastly, it creates an “Office of
Amusements” to allow and oversee fantasy sports gaming.
6025 / SB
1114 Abortion Funding and Abortion Clinic Records
Sponsors: Rep. Lori Berman (D), Sen. Jeff
Removes a prohibition against taxpayer
dollars going to organizations/clinics that perform abortions. Removes
the requirement that the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA)
review at least 50% of patient records.
6041 / SB
1174 Marriage Equality
Sponsors: Rep. David Richardson (D), Sen.
Removes the language in the statute which
prohibited same-sex couples from marrying and the State of Florida from
recognizing same-sex marriages from other states.
81 / SB
106 Hard Liquor in Grocery Stores
Sponsors: Rep. Bryan Avila (R), Sen. Anitere
Often called "Whiskey and Wheaties," this
bill would allow grocery stores and large retail stores to sell hard
liquor in their main store rather than building or renting a separate
store to sell liquor. It would also allow stores to have an entrance
that physically connects a liquor store with a retail store.
Lastly, it would also allow smaller, hard liquor bottles to
be sold in larger bins next to other products giving greater access to
both kids and shoplifters.