Florida Senate Bills to Look Out For – 2017

Standard

Bills of interest from Florida Senate:

Updated 2/17/17

This is a working document being updated as bills come in. In order for a bill to become law the same version has to pass the House and Senate and be signed by the Governor. The House is unwieldy and harder to influence so I’m focusing on the Senate.  We expect some 1,500 bills to be filed by the filing deadline of March 7th. With only ~250 filed we have a long way to go. Please leave a comment with corrections, additions, deletions, etc. Contacting Senators now and attending committee meetings is paramount in influencing these bills.

Bolded bills are ones to look out.

Education:

  • SB2 : Major higher education bill. Would expand bright futures to cover 100% tuition, some fees, and $300 for books. Pushes students to graduate in 4 years, gives universities ability to adopt block tuition (pay for 15 credit hours no matter how many are taken), expands 2 year college to 4 year university pathway, expands scholarship program for 1st time students.
  • SB4: Adds ~$4 million to hire faculty at universities. Focus on medicine, law, graduate level business, and the like.
  • SB78 – Require recess in schools.
  • SB82 – Takes away in-state tuition to Dreamers (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
  • SB258: Up to $3,000 bonus for Advanced International Certification of Education. Makes the bonus a performance pay incentive based on students scores.
  • SB274 / HB403:  Forgives $16,000 in loans for STEM teachers after 8 years,  
  • SB286: Adds human trafficking awareness as requirement in schools.
  • SB436/HB303: Allowing prayer in public schools.
  • SB438: Forces school boards to review their out of school suspension policies.
  • SB468: Adds $10 million to voluntary prekindergarten through 3rd grade reading programs.
  • SB478 would shield university presidential searches from public records. Considering these positions are highly paid and often political in nature this should be opposed.
  • SB 538: Requires charter schools to show need in school district when applying.
  • SB604 increases the amount of millage a school board can levy.
  • SB688 establishes a scholarship for students who want to become teachers.

Environment:

  • SB98 – Anti-fracking bill.  
  • SJR108 – Another anti-fracking bill.
  • SB162 – Bans plastic bags.
  • SB422: Bans fracking. This one has legs.
  • SB532: requires that the Department of Environmental Protection notify the public about pollution.

Criminal Justice and Guns:

  • SB70 – would treat attacks on police as a hate crime.
  • SB128 – Expands protections under Stand Your Ground Defense. Puts onus on prosecutor as opposed to defended to prove Stand Your Ground not applicable in pre-trial.
  • SB260: Clarifies cyber bullying death threats.
  • SB 302: – would make it harder to arrest poor people who cannot pay court costs. It’s a good start but doesn’t go far enough. Have to show burden to pay fees before licence is revoked which could introduce bias. Also takes a lot for poor people to come before a judge to argue that they’re too poor to afford fees.
  • SB312: attempts to remove some bias with eyewitness identification.
  • SB418: Makes it a felony for causing damage to monuments for soldiers, law enforcement, etc. Could be used to target people going after Confederate monuments.
  • SB546: Withholds booking photos until convicted of a crime.
  • SB606: Makes it easier for inmates over 65 to get released early.
  • SB610: Let’s you sue people who don’t allow guns in their establishment.
  • SB616 allows people to essentially check their guns at courthouses.
  • SB618 allows people to carry guns in airports.
  • SB620 allows people to carry guns in legislative meetings.
  • SB624 sets guidelines for body cameras on cops. Problematic because it lets cops review footage before writing a report. 
  • SB626 allows people to carry guns to any county, etc, school board, etc. meeting.
  • SB640 allows people to carry guns into career centers.
  • SB644 – open carry of handguns.
  • SB646 allows firearms to briefly be displayed.

Healthcare:

  • SB102: Prevents retroactive denial of most claims.
  • SB328/ H543: Updates nursing licensing and continuing education requirements. 
  • SB614 – Medial Marijuana Act

Women’s Rights:

  • SB176 – Bill to make tampons tax free.
  • SCR 194: The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the US constitution.
  • SB252: Makes tampons, diapers, baby wipes tax exempt.
  • SB348: Fetal Pain Bill will ban abortions after 20 weeks.
  • SB412: Alimony reform bill. Could disproportionately affect women.

Worker’s Rights:

  • SB534: Preempts local hiring preferences and nullify sections Gainesville Living and Alachua County Minimum Wage Ordinances. Sponsor Sen. Perry.
  • SB410/HB219: Adds gender identity to anti-discrimination prohibitions in employment. Also adds the “Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Protection Act” which prohibits employers from asking about past wages or disallowing workers to discuss their wages with each other.
  • SB516: improves workers’ compensation benefits for first responders. 
  • SB636 and SB638 commissions a study on income inequality and allows state government agencies to prepare income inequality impact statements.
  • SB666 – crates the Florida Competitive Workforce Act which adds sexual orientation and gender identity to anti-discrimination clause.

Voting Rights:

  • SB72 -Would make it easier to register to vote through DMV.
  • SB74 – Proposes amendment to state constitution for the automatic restoration of rights for felons.  
  • SB242: Popular vote for US president.
  • SB270: Proposal to state constitution to restore voting rights for most felons. HB51 and HB53 in the House.
  • HB 409 would require county Supervisor of Elections officers to text voters on the first day of early voting and also on election day. This bill would increase voter participation so it’s unlikely the Republican controlled House, Senate, and Governor will support it.
  • SB544: Makes it easier to correct Vote By Mail signature errors.
  • SB726 allows people to turn in their vote by mail ballots to early voting sites.

Other:

  • SB80 – Makes it harder for lawyers to get fees for violations to public records requests.
  • SB120 – Anti-immigrant bill that would 1 up any offense an undocumented persons. Would make 1st degree misdemeanors a 3rd degree felony, 3rd felony a 2nd felony, etc.
  • SB140 – Open carry bill.
  • SB144: Prohibits use of phone while driving by those under 18.
  • SB160 Bill to increase minimum wage $1 plus inflation a year until $15 an hour is met.
  • SB254: Bans assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines.
  • SB268: Updates housing discrimination law.
  • SJR 482: Adds proposal to the state constitution for term limits to Supreme Court Justices.
  • SB486: Increases the amount of tax-exempt income for corporate income tax and franchise tax.
  • SB578/HB273 – Bans conversion therapy for those under 18.