2011 Legislative Session: Week 4 Summary

Included with each weekly summary is a link to our full legislative report, which is updated on a daily basis. The report also provides access to definitions of legislative jargon, charts on how an idea becomes a law and links to the web pages of the Florida Senate and House.

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March 28-April 1, 2011
FOURTH WEEK OF THE 2011 REGULAR LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Included with each weekly summary is a link to our full legislative report, which is updated on a daily basis. The report also provides access to definitions of legislative jargon, charts on how an idea becomes a law and links to the web pages of the Florida Senate and House.


BILLS SEEING ACTION THIS WEEK
Life and Death
Abortion Constitutional Amendment
Proposes amendments to the State Constitution to prohibit public funding of abortions and prohibit the State Constitution from being interpreted to create broader rights to an abortion than those contained in the United States Constitution. On Monday, SJR 1538 (Flores) was found favorable (4-2) with a committee substitute by Judiciary. The resolution was amended to include an exception to the prohibition of funding for pregnancies that result from rape or incest. The Church teaches that a life created by the violence of rape and incest is an innocent child that should not be destroyed by the violence of abortion. The bill is now in the Budget Committee. Companion HJR 1179 (Baxley) is in the Health and Human Services Committee.

Fetal Pain
Requires a physician to inform a woman consenting to an abortion of the ability of the fetus to feel pain if the gestational age is determined to be 22 weeks or more. HB 321 (Trujillo) was reported favorably (11-3) with a committee substitute by the Health and Human Services Quality Subcommittee. The bill is referred next to Judiciary. SB 1948 (Storms) was on the agenda this week for Health Regulation, but time expired before the bill could be heard by the committee.

Scheduled for Next Week
The following three bills are on the agenda for Health Regulation, Monday, April 4:
Ultrasound Before Abortion – SB 1744 (Storms)
Parental Notice of Abortion –
SB 1770 (Hays)
Abortion Regulation – SB 1748 (Flores)

Choose Life License Plates – SB 196 (Fasano) – Community Affairs, Monday, April 4


Social Concerns
School Nutrition Programs
Transfers responsibilities for the administration of the school food and nutrition programs from the Department of Education to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. CS/SB 1312 (Siplin) was reported favorably (4-0) with a committee substitute by Agriculture. The Conference waived in support of the bill during the committee meeting. The bill was withdrawn from Education Pre-K-12 and is now in Budget. A companion, SAC1, was submitted as a committee bill by State Affairs (18-0).

Affordable Housing
Lifts the statutory cap on the amount of documentary stamp tax revenue that may be allocated to the State Housing Trust Fund and Local Government Housing Trust Fund for the purpose of assisting families with affordable home ownership or rental housing. HB 639 (Aubuchon) was passed (117-0) by the House on Thursday. Senate companion, SB 912 (Bennett), is now in Budget, its last committee of reference.

Earlier this week, the Conference sent an action alert urging legislators to strike Section 1 of SB 7200. This provision permanently redirects the state and local housing trust fund doc stamps to general revenue, bringing an end to the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Despite objections by members of the Sadowski Coalition, the bill passed out of the Budget Committee and will now go to the Senate floor.

Human Trafficking

Specifies documents that must be possessed by each person providing massage services; requires massage establishments to maintain valid work authorization documents on the premises. CS/SB 246 (Joyner) was reported favorably (21-0) by its final committee of reference, Budget, and goes next to the floor of the Senate. HB 477 (Burgin) is now in Business and Consumer Affairs. The Conference supports this good bill which is intended to address the trafficking of individuals sometimes associated with massage establishments.

As a component of a statewide trafficking awareness campaign initiated by the bishops of Florida, the Conference recently established a human trafficking resource web page.

 

Eyewitness Identification
Requires law enforcement agencies that conduct lineups to follow certain specified procedures. Action was taken on both Senate and House bills this week. CS/SB 1206 (Negron) was found favorable (4-1) with a committee substitute by Criminal Justice. The Conference waived in support at the meeting. The bill is scheduled to be heard by Judiciary on Monday, April 4. CS/HB 821 (Thurston, Jr.) was found favorable (12-2) with a committee substitute by Criminal Justice and is referred next to Justice Appropriations.

Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council
Deletes a provision that would abolish the Florida Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council. On Tuesday, HB 4167 (Ford) was reported favorably (12-0) by Government Operations. Sheila Hopkins, Associate Director of Social Concerns/Respect Life and Chair of the Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council, waived in support of the bill. The measure is now in Health and Human Services. SB 898 (Bennett) is on the agenda for Governmental Oversight and Accountability on Tuesday, April 5.

Scheduled for Next Week
The following two bills are on the agenda for the Judiciary Committee, Monday, April 4
Unauthorized Immigrants/Use of E-verify – SB 2040 (Judiciary)
Instate Tuition for Undocumented Students – SB 318 (Siplin)


Health
Health Insurance Exchange
Applies abortion coverage limits to health plans purchased in the insurance exchange established in federal health reform when coverage is subsidized by public funds. On Wednesday, CS/HB 97 (Gaetz, M.) was reported favorably (10-4) by Insurance and Banking. During the subcommittee meeting, Michael Sheedy, Associate Director for Health, provided public testimony in support of the bill. The measure is now in Health and Human Services. CS/SB 1414 (Wise) is now in the Budget Committee.

Scheduled for Next Week
Biomedical Research Funding – SB 720 Gaetz (D) –
Higher Education, Monday, April 4 


Education


James Herzog provides testimony in support of
CS/HB 1329. 

McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities
Expands participation in the program to additional students with disabilities including those on Section 504 accommodation plans. On Monday, CS/HB 1329 (Bileca) was reported favorably with a committee substitute by K-20 Innovation (14-0). During the meeting of the subcommittee, James Herzog, Associate Director for Education gave testimony in support of the bill stating that it would provide more options for students with disabilities and would encourage more Catholic schools to participate in the program. The bill is now in House PreK-12 Appropriations. Companion bill, SB 1656 (Wise), has been referred to Senate Education Pre-K-12.


Florida Tax Credit Scholarship
Authorizes the Department of Revenue to provide eligible scholarship-funding organizations a list of the top 100 corporate taxpayers in the state for the purpose of increasing participation in the program. On Wednesday, CS/SB 1388 (Flores) was found favorable (2-1) with a committee substitute by Education Pre-K-12. The Conference waived in support of the bill, which goes next to the Budget Committee. Later that same day, CS/HB 965 (Horner) was found favorable (20-3) with a committee substitute by Finance and Tax and is referred next to Economic Affairs. An amendment to both bills increased the allowable tax credit from 75 percent to 100 percent of the contribution made to the program by qualifying companies.

Student Safety
Requires response agencies that already notify public school districts about certain local emergencies that may include bomb threats, natural disasters and fires to also notify private schools; provides an “opt in” method for private schools to determine whether or not to receive such alerts. On Tuesday, CS/HB 481 (Kiar) was reported favorably (12-0) by Community and Military Affairs. The Conference waived in support during the committee meeting. The bill is now in House Education. Companion SB 588 (Flores) has yet to be heard by its first committee of reference, Senate Education Pre-K-12.

Scheduled for Next Week
K-12 Educational Instruction/Virtual Charter School – SB 1620 (Flores) – Education Pre-K-12, Tuesday, April 5
Student Athletes/Head Injuries – CS/SB 730 (Flores) – Health Regulation, Monday, April 4  


Other
Religious Freedom
Proposes an amendment to the State Constitution to provide that an individual may not be barred from participating in any public program because of choosing to use public benefits at a religious provider and to delete a prohibition, often referred to as the ‘Blaine Amendment’ or ‘No Aid Provision’, against using public revenues in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or any sectarian institution. On Tuesday, HJR 1471 (Plakon) was reported favorably (8-4) by Civil Justice and is now in Judiciary. Michael Sheedy, Associate Director for Health provided testimony in support of the resolution. A Q&A document was developed by the Conference to provide additional background. SJR 1218 (Altman) is scheduled to be heard by its first committee of reference, Judiciary, on Monday, April 4.   


Prior Legislative Summaries
> Session Summary: Week 1
> Session Summary: Week 2
> Session Summary: Week 3