Seventh Week of the 2011 Regular Legislative Session


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April 18 – April 22, 2011

Due to Passover and Easter holidays, this was a short week at the Capitol. House members returned to Tallahassee for meetings Wednesday and Thursday, while the Senate was off the entire week.


Life and Death
Ultrasound Before Abortion
HB 1127 (Porter) was reported favorable by the House Health and Human Services Committee (11-5) with a strike-all that clarified opt out provisions and exemptions for certain victims of crime. During the meeting, Conference staff stated support for the bill. This measure requires an ultrasound be performed and reviewed with a woman prior to an abortion. The woman may decline to view the ultrasound by signing an opt out form. SB 1744 (Storms) is in the Senate Budget Committee.

Abortion Regulation
During a meeting of the House Health and Human Services Committee, Conference staff indicated support for CS/HB 1397 (Burgin), which passed the committee (11-5). This proposed legislation revises regulations governing the operation of abortion clinics. CS/SB 1748 (Flores) goes next to Criminal Justice.

Abortion Constitutional Amendment
CS/HJR 1179 (Baxley) passed House Judiciary, its final committee of reference. The measure 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) is on the Senate calendar.

Scheduled in Committee Next Week
Parental Notice of Abortion – SB 1770 (Hays) – Judiciary, 04/25/11, 9:45am

Social Concerns
Earlier this week, a letter from D. Michael McCarron, Executive Director, to Speaker Dean Cannon and all House members urged legislators to vote ‘no’ on HB 7089 and allow Congress to address our broken immigration system. CS/HB 7089 (Snyder) 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. This bill has passed its committees of reference and now can be taken up by the full House.

ACTION ALERT: Urge Your State House Member to Vote No on HB 7089, Regarding Immigration

CS/SB 2040 (Judiciary) is in the Senate Budget Committee. 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. Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies to receive training and perform immigration officer functions.

School Nutrition Programs
CS/CS/HB 7219 (State Affairs)
was passed unanimously by the House Appropriations Committee and is now available to be taken up by the full House. Conference staff waived testimony and stated support for the bill during the committee meeting. This bill 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/CS/SB 1312 (Siplin) is on the agenda next Tuesday in Senate Rules, its final committee of reference.

Scheduled in Committee Next Week
Sentencing of Inmates – CS/SB 1334 (Bogdanoff) – Judiciary, 04/25/11, 9:45am
Eyewitness Identification – CS/CS/SB 1206 (Negron) – Budget, 04/25/11, 1:15pm
School Nutrition Programs – CS/CS/CS 1312 (Siplin) – Rules, 04/26/11, 1pm

Restricting Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Exchange
CS/HB 97 (Gaetz, M.) passed the House Health and Human Services Committee (11-5), with Conference staff stating support for the bill. CS/CS/SB 1414 (Wise) has passed all committee references and is available to be taken up by the full Senate. This proposed legislation restricts abortion coverage when a subsidy is used to purchase insurance in the state exchange established by federal health reform. 

Scheduled in Committee Next Week
Biomedical Research Funding – CS/SB 720 (Gaetz, D.) – Budget, 04/25/11, 1:15 pm

Student Safety
CS/HB 481 (Kiar) cleared the House Education Committee unanimously. Conference staff waived in support during the committee meeting. 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. The bill is now on the House calendar. Companion SB 588 (Flores) has not been heard by its first committee of reference, Senate Education Pre-K-12.

Scheduled in Committee Next Week
Senate Budget, 04/25/11, 1:15pm:
McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities – CS/SB 1656 (Wise)
Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program – CS/SB 1388 (Flores)
Opportunity Scholarship Program – SB 1822 (Benacquisto)
K-12 Virtual Schools – SB 1620 (Flores)

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