Eigth Week of the 2001 Regular Legislative Session

 

The conference process to resolve differences in the Senate and House versions of the budget began on Wednesday. Legislators are required to have three days to review the joint budget before a final vote can occur in the House and Senate. With only seven full days left until sine die (last day of regular session), leaders have indicated they are working towards passing the budget on time to avoid an extension of the regular 60-day session. 

fcc_logo_2011

April 25 – April 29, 2011
EIGHTH WEEK OF THE 2011 REGULAR LEGISLATIVE SESSION

The conference process to resolve differences in the Senate and House versions of the budget began on Wednesday. Legislators are required to have three days to review the joint budget before a final vote can occur in the House and Senate. With only seven full days left until sine die (last day of regular session), leaders have indicated they are working towards passing the budget on time to avoid an extension of the regular 60-day session. 


HIGHLIGHTED ACTIVITY FOR THE WEEK:

Life and Death
During this exceptional week, six prolife bills passed the Florida House. Two of the bills, Abortion Constitutional Amendment and Abortion Coverage in Health Exchange, were passed by the Senate with technical amendments requiring them both to go back to the House for final passage. The remaining four bills are in messages and await action by the Senate.   

Abortion Constitutional Amendment – CS/HJR 1179 (Baxley) – passed (82-35)
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 the U.S. Constitution. CS/CS/SJR 1538 (Flores) was laid on the table by the Senate, which took up CS/HJR 1179 in its place. The bill was amended before being passed by the Senate (27-12) and will need to go back to the House.

Choose Life License Plate – HB 501 (Baxley) – passed (82-35)
Provides that fees collected on the specialty plate be distributed to Choose Life, Inc. for redistribution to crisis pregnancy centers assisting women considering an adoption plan for their child. Currently the fees go to counties for distribution. CS/CS/SB 196 (Fasano) is on the Senate calendar on second reading. 

 

Ultrasound Before Abortion – CS/HB 1127 (Porter) – passed (81-37)
Requires an ultrasound be performed and reviewed with a woman prior to an abortion. The woman may decline to view and hear a description of the ultrasound by signing an opt out form. CS/SB 1744 (Storms) is in the Senate Budget Committee.

 

Parental Notice of Abortion – HB 1247 (Stargel) – passed (82-35)
Strengthens the parental notice mandate by requiring a notarized letter from a parent that waives the right to be notified, providing maturity standards for judges to consider and limiting the court in which a minor may seek a judicial bypass to the circuit in which she resides. SB 1770 (Hays) remains in the Senate Budget Committee.

 

Abortion Regulation – CS/CS/HB 1397 (Burgin) – passed (79-36)
Revises regulations governing the operation of abortion clinics. CS/SB 1748 (Flores) was withdrawn from Senate Criminal Justice and is now in Budget.

 

Health Insurance Exchange – CS/HB 97 (Gaetz, M.) – passed (80-37)
Restricts abortion coverage when a subsidy is used to purchase insurance in the future state exchange established by last year’s federal health reform. The Senate took up the House bill in place of CS/CS/SB 1414 (Wise). The Senate amended and passed it (28-11). The bill returns to the House for final passage.


Social Concerns

Immigration
CS/SB 2040 (Judiciary) was withdrawn from the Senate Budget Committee and is on second reading in the Senate. This bill offers an alternative to E-Verify by utilizing state-issued identification cards and allows local law enforcement to decide if they have the finances and manpower to sign on to a 287(g) agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to receive training and perform immigration officer functions. During the week, D. Michael McCarron, Executive Director, sent a letter to Senate President Mike Haridopolos and all members of the Senate urging them not to advance immigration legislation and let federal laws fix our broken immigration system.


Immigrants rally at the Captiol to oppose proposed legislation

CS/HB 7089 (Snyder) saw no action this week but remains available for the House to take up. The bill requires all private and public employers to use the E-Verify system to check the immigration status of new hires. It also allows arrest without a warrant by an officer who believes a person is unlawfully present in the United States.

 
Juvenile Civil Citations
CS/HB 997 (Pilon) 
passed the House unanimously, was received by the Senate and referred to Criminal Justice, Judiciary and Budget. CS/SB 1300 (Storms) was temporarily postponed on second reading by the Senate. This proposed legislation requires first-time misdemeanor, juvenile offenders to participate in local civil citation diversion program rather than receive incarceration.

Eyewitness Identification
CS/SB 1206 (Negron)
 was amended and passed by the full Senate (34-5). It is now in messages to the House. CS/HB 821 (Thurston, Jr.) has been placed on the House calendar on second reading. This measure requires law enforcement agencies to follow certain specified procedures when conducting line-ups for eyewitness identification.


Education
McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities
CS/HB 1329 (Bileca) passed the House with bi-partisan support (98-17). This proposed legislation provides additional education options for students with disabilities by expanding program eligibility. The Senate took up and substituted the House bill for CS/SB 1656 (Wise), and it is now on third reading. The Senate President has indicated that this bill will be voted on in the Senate on Monday, May 2. Please respond to our action alert and contact your Senator to urge him or her to vote ‘yes’ on this bill.

ACTION ALERT: Urge Expansion of McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

Student Safety
The House unanimously passed CS/HB 481 (Kiar), and it is now in messages to the Senate. The measure 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. It provides an opt in method for private schools to determine whether or not to receive such alerts. Companion SB 588 (Flores) remains in its first committee of reference.


Other
Religious Freedom
CS/HJR 1471 (Plakon) passed the full House (81-35) and is in messages to the Senate. This joint resolution proposes an amendment to the State Constitution that deletes the prohibition against using public revenues directly or indirectly in aid of any religious institution. It’s companion, SJR 1218 (Altman) remains in the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee and is unlikely to receive further consideration this year.


See our full legislative report, updated on a daily basis, for more information on the bills mentioned in this summary and other proposed legislation being followed by the Florida Catholic Conference. The report also provides links to the Florida Senate and House and access to a glossary of legislative terms.

Prior Legislative Summaries
> Session Summary: Week 1
> Session Summary: Week 2
> Session Summary: Week 3
> Session Summary: Week 4
> Session Summary: Week 5
> Session Summary: Week 6
> Session Summary: Week 7