Legislative Committee News
The first week of Florida’s 2019 legislative session is complete. Many members of the Democratic Women’s Club traveled to Tallahassee to speak to and lobby their representatives. A big Thank You for all who took the time to make this trip. We look forward to hearing about your experiences.
Below are some Key Actions that occurred during the first week. Please note that these bills are in Committees. Therefore, they might not make it to the floor for a vote. We’ll be watching:
Voting: SB 268. The bill passed the Ethics and Elections Committee and is now in the Rules Committee. It was introduced by Sen. Dennis Baxley. The bill makes in-person voting more accessible for the visually impaired and requires voter interface devices to produce a voter-verifiable paper output, thus, it revises rules regarding manual recounts of certain ballots. We should support.
The Environment, HB 325. The bill is in the State Affairs Committee and a companion bill SB 446 has moved to the Appropriations Committee. The bill revises the criteria used by the Dept. of Environmental Protection to determine and assign annual funding priorities for specified beach management and erosion control projects. It looks like a bill we could support.
SB 502, would prohibit a store or food service business from providing a carryout bag made of plastic film to a customer and prohibit a food service business from selling or providing a single-use plastic straw to a customer. Referred to Commerce and Tourism and Community Affairs. SB 694, would authorize certain municipalities to establish pilot programs to regulate or ban disposable plastic bags. We should support.
Home Rule, SB 82. This bill, if passed, would prohibit local governments from regulating vegetable gardens on residential properties. This is a power grab – counties and municipalities have home rule and this bill preempts their power. We should oppose.
Education, HB 195. If passed, the bill would require each school district to offer specified courses related to the study of the Bible as elective courses. It passed through the PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee. It exclusively supports teaching the Christian Bible. Its sponsor, Rep. Daniels, refused to include other holy books. This bill violates state law and FL Constitution. It is moving to Appropriations Committee. We should oppose.
Education, SJR 344. The bill has potential impact on education because it proposes amending FL Constitution to authorize the Legislature to prohibit increases in the assessed value of homestead property for school district levy purposes. The sponsor is Sen Diaz and it is moving to the Finance and Tax Committee. We should oppose as it is unclear how many homeowners will be affected and how much revenue would be lost.
We expect to see bills on whether teachers should be allowed to carry guns at school; patients can be authorized to smoke medical marijuana; sport betting can be legalized; and new restrictions on abortion can be approved. Gov. DeSantis is pushing a major expansion of voucher programs that provide state-funded scholarships for students to attend private schools.
Send me an email: [email protected] if you would like to be a part of the Legislative Committee.