January 23-27, 2012
THIRD WEEK OF THE 2012 REGULAR LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Each Friday afternoon during the 60-day Session, the Conference highlights legislative action on priority bills and provides a summary of activities of interest at the Capitol. For additional filed bills closely followed by Florida Catholic Conference staff, see the legislative bill report, which is updated on a daily basis.
Highlighted Bill Action This Week
LIFE AND DEATH
This week, which began on Sunday with the 39th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, three abortion related bills passed out of the House Health and Human Services Access Subcommittee:
Abortion Clinic Regulations
HB 277 (Burgin) was found favorable (10-5). Provisions of the bill include a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion can be performed, that an infant born alive after an attempted abortion is entitled to the same rights as other infants, and a requirement that abortion clinics be owned and operated by physicians with specified training. Sheila Hopkins, Associate Director for Social Concerns/Respect Life, gave testimony in support of the bill and cited a poll released this week by the Knights of Columbus and Marist College that indicates a strong majority of Americans continue to want restrictions on abortion. The bill is now in the House Health and Human Services Committee. Companion bill, SB 290 (Flores), has been referred to Senate Health Regulation. Read Ms. Hopkin’s full testimony.
HB 1327 (Plakon), which requires a doctor to sign an affidavit stating that he or she is not performing an abortion because of the child’s sex or race, was found favorable (9-5). Conference staff indicated support for the measure during the committee meeting. The bill is now in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee. Companion SB 1702 (Siplin) has been referred to Senate Health Regulation.
Postfertilization Age of Unborn Child
HB 839 (Davis) was found favorable (9-5). The bill prohibits an abortion if the postfertilization age of an unborn child is determined to be 20 or more weeks except in cases that could result in the death or permanent physical impairment of the woman. Conference staff stated support for the bill during the meeting. The measure is now in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee. Presently, there is no Senate companion for this bill.
Sentencing of Juvenile Offenders
CS/SB 92 (Joyner) was heard by the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations but was temporarily postponed before a vote was taken. Conference staff indicated support for the measure during the meeting. The bill provides that a juvenile offender who was 17 years of age or younger at the time of a nonhomicide offense and who is sentenced to 10 or more years in prison may petition the court for a reduction or suspension of sentence at age 25, if certain eligibility criteria are met. HB 635 (Stafford) is in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, its first committee of reference.
Two bills closely followed and supported by the Conference passed out of the House Rulemaking and Regulation Subcommittee this week. CS/HB 177 (Porth) directs the Department of Corrections to develop and administer a reentry program for nonviolent offenders and was found favorable with a Committee Substitute (14-1). The bill is now in the Justice Appropriations Subcommittee. CS/HB 367 (Reed) prohibits the use of restraints on a prisoner known to be pregnant during labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery and was found favorable (15-0).
SB 80 (Joyner) was passed favorably by the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations (6-0) and is now in Senate Budget. Conference staff indicated support for the measure during the subcommittee meeting. In an effort to reduce the trafficking of persons, the bill requires employees of massage parlors to have valid work authorization documents on the premises. The language was amended onto HB 7049 (Snyder), which is now in the Appropriations Committee.
HB 1351 (Glorioso) was found favorable by the Health and Human Services Access Subcommittee (15-0). Conference staff stated support for the measure during the meeting. The bill provides that a minor who is certified homeless may obtain a certified copy of his or her birth certificate and other identification documents and shall have specified rights as long as they retain that status. It is now in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee. Companion SB 1662 (Latvala) is on the agenda for Children, Families, and Elder Affairs, 01/31/12, 3:30 pm.
Florida Kidcare Program
CS/SB 510 (Rich), which removes the prohibition on children of state employees from participating in the Kidcare program if they are otherwise eligible, was reported favorably by the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services Appropriations (7-0). Conference staff stated support for the measure during the committee meeting. The bill is now in Senate Budget. Companion HB 849 (Schwartz) remains in the Health and Human Services Access Subcommittee.
Florida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarship Program
SB 962 (Benacquisto) increases the funding cap for the FTC Scholarship Program from $175 million to $250 million and was found favorable by the Budget Subcommittee on Finance and Tax (5-0). The measure is now in Senate Budget. HB 859 (Corcoran) increases the cap from $175 million to $229 million. In addition, it eliminates the eligibility requirement that students in grades K-5 have attended public school the prior year. The measure was reported favorably with a Committee Substitute by the House Finance and Tax Committee (17-6). It goes next to the Pre-K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee. The Conference supports both bills.
HB 273 (Kiar) was reported favorably by House Education, its final committee of reference. The bill requires emergency response agencies responsible for notifying public school districts of emergencies to also notify private schools in the district. Senate companion, SB 494 (Negron), has yet to be heard by its first committee of reference, Senate Education Pre-K-12. This measure is supported by the Conference.
HB 291 (Renuart) requires the adoption of policies relating to the nature and risk of concussion and head injury in youth athletes. The bill was found favorable by K-20 Innovation Subcommittee (11-1) and is on the agenda for the Health and Human Services Access Subcommittee, 01/30/12, 2:00 pm. Companion SB 256 (Flores) was heard by the Budget Subcommittee on Education Pre-K-12 Appropriations; however, time expired before a vote could be taken. The bill is back on the schedule for the subcommittee, 01/31/12, 8:00 am. This measure is being monitored by the Conference.