Florida Family Action, the legislative arm of the Florida Family Policy Council, is committed to protecting and defending life, marriage, family and religious liberty. One of the ways we influence culture in these areas is by engaging our elected officials in Tallahassee. Florida Family Action will engage the Legislature on both good bills and bad bills as it relates to our core values.

The 2020 Florida Legislative Session (60 days) is Tuesday, January 14th to Friday, March 13th.

Thank you for your continued support this session as we work in Tallahassee to advocate for pro-family values!

Sincerely,

John Stemberger
President and General Counsel
Florida Family Policy Council

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Legislative Resources

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How a bill becomes a Florida law

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2020 Legislative Agenda

LIFE:

SUPPORT: HB 265 by Grall/SB 404 by Stargel – Abortion (Requiring Parental Consent before Abortion): This bill would require the written consent of a parent or legal guardian of a minor seeking an abortion before that minor is permitted to obtain an abortion. The bill protects the health and safety of minors and the fundamental right of parents to direct their children’s upbringing.

SUPPORT: SB 734 by Gruters – Termination of Pregnancy, (Pre-natal non-discrimination): This bill would prohibit an abortion from being performed for the reason that the unborn child has been diagnosed with or otherwise determined to be at risk for Down Syndrome. The majority of unborn children who receive a diagnosis of Down Syndrome are aborted. This practice amounts to discrimination against people with disabilities. This bill would ensure the protection of unborn children determined to have Down Syndrome.

SUPPORT: SB 864 by Baxley/HB 1217 by Beltran – Surrendered Newborn Infants: This bill increases the age of surrender from 7 days to 30 days old. It authorizes hospitals, emergency medical services stations, and fire stations to use newborn safety devices to accept surrendered newborn infants and requires such hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station visually check and test the device within specified time frames. The bill also provides additional locations under which the prohibition on the initiation of criminal investigations based solely on the surrendering of a newborn infant applies.

SUPPORT: HB 271 by Hill – Abortion (Heartbeat): This bill defines a preborn human being and intrauterine heartbeat. The bill would prohibit abortion to be performed on any preborn human if an intrauterine heartbeat is detectable. The premise for that prohibition is the fact that the heartbeat indicates the presence of a living human being. The bill removes emergency medical exceptions and requires the physician to let the expectant mother hear the heartbeat and be informed of statistics related to the survival of the preborn child.

OPPOSE: HB 6047 by Eskamani – Reproductive Issues (repeal of current laws): This bill would eliminate the 24-hour waiting period requirement for obtaining an abortion. It would also repeal prohibitions on state funding of abortion clinics. This bill is an attempt to dilute common-sense informed consent procedures for abortion and increase state funding of abortion.

OPPOSE: HB 95 by Polsky/SB 60 by Book – Joint Resolution Bill (Representation of Women): This resolution proposes an amendment to the State Constitution that would allow a vote on abortion issues in the Legislature only if half the members of that house are women. Such an amendment could result in the disenfranchisement of Florida citizens who elect male Representatives or Senators.

 

MARRIAGE AND FAMILY:

SUPPORT: HB 319 by Yarborough/SB 682 by Baxley – Guide to a Healthy Marriage: This bill would create a committee that would author and publish a Florida Guide to a Healthy Marriage – to be made available to couples seeking marriage licenses in Florida. The purpose of the guide is to provide a more comprehensive presentation of challenges, goals, and expectations of marriage in order to facilitate healthier marriages.

SUPPORT: SB 1634, by Stargel/HB 1059 by Grall – Parental Rights: This bill is known as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights.” The bill finds that it is a fundamental right for parents to direct the upbringing, education and care of their minor children. It prohibits the State and all political subdivisions from infringing on parental rights without demonstrating a compelling interest narrowly tailored to meet that interest. The bill also requires each district school board in consultation with parents, teachers, and administrators, to develop and adopt a policy to promote parental involvement in the public school system. The bill provides that parents have the right to make health care decisions for their child and prohibits certain health care procedures from being administered without parental consent.

OPPOSE: HB 6011 by Hattersley/SB 1010 by Farmer – Marriage Equality: Florida statute still recognizes marriage as between one man and one woman, although, in practice, Florida issues marriage licenses to same sex couples. This bill would repeal that language and statutorily recognize marriage between persons of the same sex/gender.

OPPOSE: SB 698 by Book/HB 1287 by Jenne – Assisted Reproduction Facilities: This bill would allow reproductive facilities to create their own rules and procedures for the distribution of embryos. It requires a donor to enter into a contract with a donor bank or fertility clinic before he or she may donate that indicates what will be done with gametes and embryos if the donor dies or is incapacitated, the designated recipient dies or is incapacitated, the donor and recipient divorce or separate, and if the gamete or embryo is unused or donated to science/a different donor. It also requires the Department of Health to perform annual inspections of donor banks and fertility clinics without notice; providing civil and criminal causes of action for, criminal penalties for, and disciplinary action against a physician who intentionally or recklessly artificially inseminates a patient with the incorrect sperm, eggs, or embryos, etc. by charging them with sexual battery and a felony of the 3rd degree.

OPPOSE: SB 64 by Book – Exemptions from School-Entry Health Requirements: This bill would eliminate parents’ ability to exempt their children from immunizations on religious grounds. The bill would require all school children to receive immunizations, regardless of religious objections of parents.

SUPPORT: SB 1864 by Baxley/HB 1365 by Sabatini – Vulnerable Child Protection Act: This bill defines “sex” as “the biological state of being female or male based on sex organs, chromosomes, and endogenous hormone profiles,” and prohibits health practitioners from performing any procedures or causing any procedures to be performed on a minor for the purpose of changing the minor’s sex.

 

SEXUAL ORIENTATION:

SUPPORT: HB 305 by Rommel/SB 1126 by Gruters: This bill defines “condition of employment” as it relates to the employer/employee relationship and prohibits municipalities from enacting requirements on conditions of employment that are not mandated by state or federal law. The effect of this bill would be to void local ordinances in Florida that require sexual orientation and gender identity to be part of their employment anti-discrimination policy.

SUPPORT: HB 3C1 by Grant/SB 1336 by Perry: This bill expressly preempts occupational licensing to the state. This preemption supersedes any local government licensing requirement of occupations. The bill would, in effect, repeal current local government prohibition of “conversion therapy” as a condition for licensure and would prohibit local governments from enacting future bans.

SUPPORT: HB 537 by Donalds: This bill preempts local government from enacting rules of licensure or regulation of a home-based business. The effect of such a rule is that only the state would be permitted to regulate home-based businesses. Local governments would no longer have the ability to ban “conversion therapy” as a requirement for licensure of a home-based business.

OPPOSE: HB 41 by Grieco/SB 180 by Rodriguez – Conversion Therapy: This bill defines “conversion therapy” as “any practice or treatment performed on an individual with the goal of changing the individual’s sexual orientation, including, but not limited to, efforts to change behavior, gender identity, or gender expression, or efforts to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attraction or feelings toward an individual of the same gender.” The bill prohibits any counselor/therapist from practicing “conversion therapy” with any person under the age of 18. Any practitioner found to be in violation of the provision would be subject to disciplinary action. This bill would work a chilling effect on counselors in the practice of their chosen profession.

OPPOSE: HB 655 by Geller/SB 940 by Rader – Crimes Evidencing Prejudice: This bill expands grounds for reclassification of offenses to include prejudice based on gender or gender identity of any person – in addition to qualifications already listed in statute such as race and ethnicity. The bill specifies that reclassification occurs if commission of offenses is based on prejudice towards any person on specified grounds. This bill would create a potentially harsher penalty for a crime committed against a person who identifies as LGBTQ.

OPPOSE: HB 161 by Toledo (Prime-Cosponsor, Webb) /SB 206 by Rouson – Prohibited Discrimination: This bill prohibits “discrimination” based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public lodging establishments and public food service establishments. It revises provisions of Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 and the Fair Housing Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill also proports to provide an exception for constitutionally protected free exercise of religion. The “exception” reads, “This section does not limit the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the State Constitution.” Such an exception is vague and leaves business owners who have sincerely held religious or moral beliefs open to penalties. This bill would be especially onerous to people who own small businesses.

 

MARIJUANA:

OPPOSE: SB 1860 by Brandes/HB 1389 by Smith (C) – Availability of Marijuana for Adult Use: This bill repeals the language regulating Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC) and allows for the Department of Health to adopt by rule the operating standards for the packing, processing, cultivation, and labeling of marijuana. The bill revises the sales tax exemption for the sale of marijuana and marijuana delivery devices to only include sales to qualified patients or caregivers. It specifies application requirements for MMTCs to obtain cultivation licenses and processing licenses and authorizes MMTCs licensed to cultivate or process marijuana to use contractors to assist with the cultivation and processing of marijuana. This bill could potentially broaden the use and circulation of marijuana.

OPPOSE: SB 720 by Montford – Medical Use of Marijuana in Schools: This bill would allow a parent to request that authorized medical marijuana treatment be administered to their child in school.

OPPOSE: SB 962 by Berman – Medical Marijuana Employee Protection: This bill prohibits an employer from taking adverse personnel action against an employee or job applicant who is a qualified patient using medical marijuana. It requires an employer to provide written notice to an employee or job applicant who tests positive for marijuana of his or her right to explain the positive test result and provides procedures when an employee or job applicant tests positive for marijuana.

 

JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSIONS:

OPPOSE: HB 379 by Jacquet/SB 86 by Thurston – Judicial Nominating Commissions: This bill would alter the composition of JNCs by allowing only 3 members of the Florida to be appointed by the Bar Board of Governors, 3 to be appointed by the Governor (only two of whom can be Bar members) and prohibiting more than 5 members of the JNC from being from the same political party. It would also terminate terms of commission members as of specified date, provide for appointments and staggered terms for reconstituted commissions, and provide term limits. The bill requires diversity considerations in appointments and requires appointing authorities to collect and release certain demographic data from commission applicants and members. There are provisions for voting restrictions and conflict disclosure as well as a requirement that commission members complete an educational course after appointment.

 

EDUCATION:

OPPOSE: HB 45 by Eskamani/SB 56 by Rouson – Private School Eligibility Requirements:  Under the provisions of this bill, any private school that accepts students from the State Scholarship Program, “may not deny enrollment to a student based on the student’s race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” This provision would violate the right of a private school to hold certain religious views or policies.

SUPPORT: SB 1246 by Stargel – Dual Enrollment: This bill clarifies that secondary students eligible for dual enrollment programs include students who are enrolled in home education programs It prohibits district school boards and Florida College System institutions from denying students who have met eligibility requirements from participating in dual enrollment except under specified circumstances. The bill also provides that certain independent colleges and universities are eligible for inclusion in the dual enrollment and early admission programs and establishes the Dual Enrollment Scholarship Program.

 

GAMBLING:

OPPOSE: SB 968/970/972 by Brandes – Sports Wagering: This bill defines “sports wagering” and provides for the following: “Sports wagering authorized.—Notwithstanding any other law, a person who is 21 years of age or older may wager money or any other thing of value on a sports event if the wager is placed with the department or a licensee and the person is physically present in this state.” This bill requires the Department of the Lottery to regulate this practice. The result of this bill would be increased avenues for gambling in the state of Florida.

SUPPORT: HB 1195 by Plakon – Gaming: This bill authorizes and directs the Governor, in cooperation with Seminole Tribe of Florida, to execute new gaming compact. The bill creates Pari-mutuel Site Redevelopment and Job Creation Program, requires Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to revoke permit to conduct pari-mutuel wagering for permit-holder that fails to make specified payments or obtain operating license, prohibits division from issuing license to conduct or authorize slot machine gaming after specified date, revises tax rate on slot machine revenue at certain facilities, and prohibits specified card-room games.

SUPPORT: SB 1318 by Perry (R)/HB 991 by Robinson (R) – Lottery Games: This bill directs the Lottery to require vendors to place the following message prominently on all lottery tickets: “PLAY RESPONSIBLY.” The bill requires the Lottery to provide the same message in all advertisements or promotions of lottery games, including those on television, the Internet, print, and the radio. The bill prohibits the player’s use of electronic devices in playing lottery games and prohibits the Lottery from conducting a lottery game in which the winner is chosen on the basis of the activities or outcomes sporting events. The bill requires $500,000 annually from the Lottery’s Operating Trust Fund to be allocated toward preventing compulsive and addictive gambling.