Third Week of the 2011 Regular Legislative Session

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March 21-25, 2011
THIRD 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
Ultrasound Before Abortion 
Requires an ultrasound be performed and reviewed with a woman before giving informed consent for an abortion. Provides that the woman may decline to review the ultrasound. On Tuesday, HB 1127 (Porter) was reported favorably (10-4) by the Health and Human Services Quality Subcommittee. During the meeting, the Conference waived testimony and indicated support for the bill. The measure is now in Health and Human Services, its final committee of reference. Companion, SB 1744 (Storms) is scheduled to be heard by the Health Regulation Committee on Monday, March 28.

Parental Notice of Abortion 
Revises procedure for judicial waiver of parental notice by a minor seeking an abortion. HB 1247 (Stargel) was found favorable (9-5) at a meeting of the Civil Justice Committee during which the Conference waived in support. Provisions of the bill were discussed that include increasing from two to three days the amount of time a judge has to rule on the waiver, requiring a notarized letter from a parent that waives the right to be notified and limiting the court in which the minor may seek a waiver to the circuit court in which she resides. The bill also provides maturity standards for use by judges when making decisions on parental notice waivers. The bill is now in the House Judiciary Committee. Companion bill, SB 1770 (Hays), has been referred to Health Regulation, Judiciary, and Budget Committees.
 
Abortion Regulation 
Revises regulations governing the activities of abortion clinics. On Tuesday, CS/HB 1397 (Burgin) was reported favorably (9-3) with a Committee Substitute by Health and Human Services Quality. The Conference waived in support of the bill during the committee meeting. Next stop is the Health and Human Services Committee. Its companion bill, SB 1748 (Flores), is on the agenda for Senate Health Regulation on Monday, March 28.

Scheduled for Next Week
Abortion Constitutional Amendment SJR 1538 (Flores)
– Judiciary Committee, Monday, March 28.

 

Watch a video of Senator Anitere Flores, sponsor of SJR 1538, which prevents public tax dollars from being spent to provide elective abortion services and ensures that our state courts do not interpret the Florida Constitution to provide broader rights to an abortion than the federal Constitution.


Social Concerns
Motor Vehicle Title Loans 
Revises requirements for title loan agreements and allows for significant interest rate increases on title loans. HB 877 (Gibbons) was reported unfavorably by Business and Consumer Affairs (1-12) and was laid on the table. On behalf of the Conference, Sheila Hopkins, Associate Director for Social Concerns/Respect Life signed-on to a letter from several organizations that opposed the measure citing that the bill would have reinstated triple-digit interest rates and allowed vehicle title lenders to charge 264%, over 8 times higher than permitted under today’s law. Loans of this nature are made without regard to the consumer’s ability to pay that could result in loss of a family’s vehicle. Companion bill SB 990 (Bennett) is pending withdrawal.

Homeless Program Funding
This week the Conference issued an action alert urging support for homeless programs at risk of being eliminated from our state budget that resulted in a tremendous response by our network members. Both the House and Senate Health Appropriations Committees restored funding for programs that provide assistance to homeless populations in our state. In addition, the Office of Homelessness at the Department of Children and Families has been restored and an additional $366,000 has been allocated for homeless transition programs. We thank all those who took action on behalf of homeless individuals and families.

Scheduled for Next Week
Independent Living/Out-of Home Youth to Adult Transition Services – SJR 1902 (Rich)
– Children, Families and Elder Affairs, Monday, March 28.


Health


Michael Sheedy testifies in support of CS/SB 1414.


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. CS/SB 1414 (Wise) was reported favorably with a Committee Substitute by the Banking and Insurance Committee on Tuesday. During the meeting, Michael Sheedy, Associate Director for Health, provided public testimony in support of the bill. Next stop is the Budget Committee. Companion HB 97 (Gaetz, M.) goes next to Insurance and Banking.


Scheduled for Next Week
Expansion of Medicaid Managed Care – SB 1972 (Negron) – Health Regulation, Wednesday, March 30 


Education
Student Safety 
Requires emergency response agencies to notify public school districts – and private schools that opt in for alerts – when certain types of emergency situations exist in a local area. These emergencies may include bomb threats, natural disasters and fires. On Wednesday, CS/HB 481 (Kiar) was found favorable (12-0) with a Committee Substitute by K-20 Competitiveness and is referred next to Community and Military Affairs. Companion SB 588 (Flores) has yet to be heard by its first committee of reference, Education Pre-K-12.

Scheduled for Next Week
McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities – HB 1329 (Bileca) – 
K-20 Innovation, Monday, March 28



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