The Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC) hosted its 4th annual Pro-Family Days in Tallahassee this past Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, FFPC trained attendees how to lobby and briefed them on current life, gambling, and LGBT bills being considered by the Legislature. We were joined by policy experts Bill Bunkley of Florida Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Sara Johnson of No Casinos, Amber Kelly of Florida Family Action, and FFPC President John Stemberger. Over 250 supporters and legislators from around the state joined us this year in Tallahassee for Pro-Family Days.
Visit our Facebook page for photos from this year’s event. More photos will continue to be added in the coming days. Tag yourself and share these photos with your friends and encourage them to join us next year for this exciting event! Follow us on Facebook to continue to receive our most current updates on what’s happening around the state relating to life, religious liberty, and family issues.
On Tuesday, FFPC hosted a Legislative Prayer Breakfast attended by over 250 people, including 15 elected officials. Guest speakers included Governor Rick Scott, Commissioner Adam Putnam, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, Representative Kim Daniels, Representative Jamie Grant, Senator Greg Steube, and keynotes Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel Kellie Fiedorek, and her client Barronelle Stutzman a Washington florist and grandmother targeted by her state for living out her faith.
During the event, FFPC also honored additional Champion of the Family legislators who were unable to join us at our 2016 Annual Dinner.
At the Capitol, the week started off very busy for the Legislature with a number of groups visiting the Capitol with a variety of interests. One group that protested asking for “equal pay” for women is tied to an employment discrimination bill. The problem with this bill is that it includes gender identity as a protected class – meaning a man who identifies as a woman would be covered under the bill – essentially making the bill meaningless as some feminists are now seeing.
The cold weather that came to Tallahassee mid-week seemed to slow down the Legislature. The Senate went so far as to cancel some of its meetings at the end of the week. Next week we expect to see a number of bills heard in committee.
Now let’s take a look at some of the bills that were heard in the Legislature this week…
This bill was heard in both the House and the Senate this week. Planned Parenthood opposes the bill showing the radical pro-abortion nature of the abortion giant – they oppose a bill which does not harm them in any way and helps pregnant women and their children.
The 10-4 vote in the House was party-line with Democrats opposing the measure. The 4-2 Senate vote had Sen. Montford (D) voting for the bill, ensuring that it did not die in committee.
HB 7037 Addressing Gambling Long-Term
Sponsor: Rep. Mike La Rosa (R) and the Tourism & Gaming Control Subcommittee
The House did not take up the bill this week, but it is scheduled for next week in the Ways & Means Committee, the final stop before a vote by the full House.
HB 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 was heard in its first committee in the House, passing unanimously in a 14-0 vote. The Senate passed their version out of its final committee in a 5-4 vote along party lines. Florida Family Action calls on the Florida Legislature to affirm the religious liberty of all citizens, especially in counties with non-discrimination laws which include sexual orientation and gender identity. Religious liberty should not be limited to specific individuals in specific situations but is a robust right of expression.
The Senate heard this bill in the Judiciary committee (the first of two committee stops) on Tuesday and moved it forward in a 6-2 vote.
This remains the single worst and anti-liberty 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. It would allow men access to use women’s showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms.
There was no movement on either the House or Senate versions of the bill this week. Florida Family Action urges legislators to vote no on this bill and related bills which will not help strengthen Florida’s economy, regardless of what opponents claim.
SB 8 Gaming Expansion Bill
Sponsor: Sen. Bill Galvano (R)
This bill passed out of its final committee before the official start of the legislative session. While it was ready for a full vote by the Senate, it was not scheduled for one this week.
The “Whiskey and Wheaties” bill just barely passed out of the House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee. With some members not present during the committee meeting, the bill was passed in a 7-6 vote. It is expected to be heard in its final House committee next week while the Senate is soon expected to take up its version for a vote by the full Senate.