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Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Indian River Florida Tea Party - Tallahassee Update

 FL Legislative Update

Consumers

 BIKE SAFETY (Failed)

Says bicycle helmets worn by riders under 16 must meet federal safety requirements. (SB 118/HB 981)

BOOSTER SEATS (Failed)

Requires booster seats for children between 4 and 7 years old who are shorter than 4 feet 9 inches. (SB 238/HB 11)

Criminal and civil justice

BATH SALTS (Passed)

Bans Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or bath salts. (SB 1886/HB 1039)

BESTIALITY (Passed)

Bans, for the first time in Florida, abuse that involves sexual contact with an animal. (HB 125/SB 344)

CIVIL CITATIONS (Passed)

Requires program to issue civil citations to first-time juvenile offenders. (HB 997)

CIVIL RIGHTS (Passed)

Allows some ex-felons to apply for an occupational license and public employment before having rights restored. (SB 146/HB 449)

CONCEALED WEAPONS (Passed)

A concealed weapon permit holder who accidentally shows a gun would no longer be subject to penalty. Dramatically narrower than original bill, which allowed permit holders to carry their guns openly, including on elementary school and college campuses. (SB 234)

DOCTORS AND GUNS (Passed)

Limits instances when doctors can ask patients if they own firearms. (SB 155)

INMATE RE-ENTRY (Failed)

Allows more inmates who are near the end of their sentences to live in supervised residential areas after they prove their trustworthiness. (SB 1390)

MANDATORY SENTENCES (Failed)

Eliminates minimum mandatory sentences for nonviolent offenders convicted of drug offenses. (SB 1334/HB 917)

PILL MILLS (Passed)

Limits ability of doctors to dispense prescription drugs. Establishes stiff penalties for illegally dispensing prescription drugs. (SB 818/HB 7095)

POLICE LINEUPS (Failed)

Sets new guidelines for police lineups — for example, having them supervised by officers not involved in an investigation — to try to reduce the number of wrongful convictions. (SB 1206/HB 0821)

PRETRIAL RELEASE PROGRAMS (Failed)

Limits pretrial release programs to indigent defendants represented by public defenders. Sheriffs opposed bill, saying it would increase jail costs because fewer inmates could post bail. (SB 372/HB 1379)

RED-LIGHT CAMERAS (Failed)

Outlaws traffic infraction cameras at intersections, repealing legislation adopted last year. (SB 672/ HB 4087)

SEXTING (Passed)

Decriminalizes sending sexually explicit text messages, photos or videos via cell phone or other electronic devices by minors. The first offense would be punished by a fine or community service hours, with escalating penalties for each offense. (SB 888/HB 75)

SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA (Passed)

Outlaws synthetic marijuana. (SB204/HB39)

TREATMENT BASED-DRUG COURTS (Signed into law)

Expands treatment-based court programs as a sentencing option in eight counties, including Pinellas and Hillsborough. (SB 400)

Education

 CHARTER SCHOOLS (Passed)

Lifts barriers for charter schools to expand, in part by designating certain schools as “high-performing.” (SB 1546/HB 7195)

CLASS SIZE (Passed)

Changes the definition of the educational core curriculum, reducing the number of courses that must meet class-size caps. (SB 2120/HB 5101)

EDUCATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY (Passed)

Catch-all bill that, among other things, limits gifts to school board members and their relatives to $50. (SB 1696/HB 1255)

SAGGY PANTS (Passed)

Requires school boards to prohibit students from wearing clothes that show their underwear or body parts. (HB 61/SB 228)

SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERSHIP (Failed)

Restructures the Miami-Dade County School Board to condense the number of single-member districts from nine to seven and add two at-large, countywide seats. (SB 778/HB 307)

SCHOOL LUNCH (Passed)

Transfers school food and nutrition programs from the Department of Education to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. (SB 1312/HB 7219)

SCHOOL VOUCHERS — FLORIDA TAX CREDIT SCHOLARSHIPS (Passed)

Removes a limitation on tax credits for companies that fund private-school vouchers for low-income students. (SB 1388/HB 965)

SCHOOL VOUCHERS — MCKAY SCHOLARSHIPS (Passed)

Allows more children to qualify for private-school vouchers under the McKay Scholarship program for students with disabilities. (SB 1656/HB 1329)

SCHOOL VOUCHERS — OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIPS (Passed)

Allows more students to qualify to move to other public schools by expanding the definition of a “failing” school. (SB 1822/HB 1331)

TEACHER TENURE (Signed into law)

Teacher evaluations will be based in part on student test scores, and administrators will be able to more easily fire teachers with weak evaluations. (SB 736/HB 7019)

VIRTUAL SCHOOLS (Passed)

Expands online school offerings by allowing more students to enroll in virtual school and letting private companies participate in online education. Requires incoming high school students take at least one online course before graduating. (SB 1620/HB 7197)

PROFESSOR TENURE (Failed)

Ends tenure in the state’s community colleges. (HB 7193)

Energy and environment

BILLBOARDS (Failed)

Lets billboard companies decide whether they want to pay into a fund for planting trees — instead of requiring them to — when they get permits to chop down trees that belong to taxpayers. (SB 1570)

CITIZEN CHALLENGES (Passed)

Reverses state’s “burden of proof” requirement that potential polluters show their project won’t contaminate air or water. Replaces it with requirement that citizens and other challengers provide proof that project will harm air or water. (HB 993/SB 1382)

GROWTH MANAGEMENT (Passed)

Shifts review and regulation for development from the state to local governments with repeal of 1985 Growth Management Act. (HB 7207)

OCEAN OUTFALLS (Failed)

Gives South Florida counties more time and leeway to fulfill requirements limiting the discharge of rainwater and treated sewage into the Atlantic Ocean. (SB 796/HB 613)

RENEWABLE ENERGY (Failed)

Allows utilities to raise rates $377 million, or as much as $2.60 a month for average customers, every year for the next five years to build solar or biomass renewable energy plants and bypass the Public Service Commission. (SB 7082)

SEAPORTS (Passed)

Gives Citrus County until July 2014 to apply for state funding to study feasibility of a “Port Citrus” on the old barge canal. (SB 524/HB 283)

SEWAGE AS FERTILIZER (Failed)

Lifts not-yet-implemented ban on spraying treated waste from septic tanks as fertilizer on farmers’ fields. (HB 1479)

Ethics and elections

BLIND TRUSTS (Failed)

Requires the governor, lieutenant governor and three Cabinet members to place their personal assets into blind trusts. (SB 86)

CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS (Failed)

Increases the $500 maximum campaign contribution to $10,000 for gubernatorial candidates, $5,000 for Cabinet races and $2,500 for state legislative candidates. (SB 1690)

ELECTED OFFICIAL RECALL (Failed)

Constitutional amendment proposals to allow recalls of state officials either through petition or statute. (HJR 785/HB 787)

ELECTIONS (Passed)

Reduces days of early voting from 14 to eight, requires some voters who have moved to cast provisional ballots, tightens the time for third-party groups to submit voter registration forms and reduces the time that signatures on citizen-led ballot initiatives are valid. (SB 2086/HB 1355)

ETHICS (Failed)

Bars a lawmaker from voting on legislation that would “inure to his or her special private gain or loss” or to an employer, relative, business associate or board upon which the official sits. (SB 2088/HB 1071)

GIFT BAN (Failed)

Allows lobbyists to provide $25 worth of food and drink or gifts to lawmakers. Items worth more than $25 up to $100 would be reported, and anything over $100 would require approval of Senate president or House speaker. (SB 1322)

Gambling

 CASINO RESORTS (Failed)

Allows for development of resort casinos in up to five areas of state. (SB 2050/HB 1415)

GAMBLING COMMISSION (Failed)

Consolidates lottery and pari-mutuels; imposes new regulations on sweepstakes gambling operations. (SB 666)

GREYHOUND RACING (Failed)

Frees dog track owners from requirement that they hold certain number of live races each year to maintain licenses for a casino or card room. (SB 1594/HB 1145)

ONLINE POKER (Failed)

Regulates online poker games by allowing Floridians to play with other Floridians through an Intranet system operated out of parimutuel card rooms. (SB 812)

SWEEPSTAKES CAFES (Failed)

Prohibits use of simulated gaming for promotional purposes. (HB 217)

Government and rulemaking

GOVERNMENT PENSIONS (Passed)

Local government employees face new limits on sick leave and overtime under a compromise plan. (SB 1128/HB 7241)

GUN CONTROL (Passed)

Prohibits local governments from regulating firearms. (HB 45)

PENSION REFORM (Passed)

Employees in the Florida Retirement System will pay three percent of their salaries into their retirement accounts, face higher retirement ages and their retirement accounts will no longer collect cost-of-living-adjustment starting July 1. (SB 2100, HB 1405)

CABINET RULES REPEALS (Failed)

Provision in rulemaking bill would have allowed Cabinet members during their first six months in office to repeal rules if they are obsolete or if they conflict with policies members are trying to implement was removed from bill that passed. (HB 993)

Health care and human services

ABORTION — CHOOSE LIFE (Passed)

Proceeds from Choose Life license plates will go to Choose Life, Inc., to assist pregnant women, instead of counties. (SB 196/HB 501)

ABORTION — HEALTH CARE EXCHANGES (Passed)

Health care plans created through the federal health care law cannot offer coverage for abortions. (SB 1414/HB 97)

ABORTION — PARENTAL NOTIFICATION (Passed)

Requires minors seeking a judicial waiver for parental notification of an abortion to get the waiver in district court rather than a wider-reaching appeals court. (SB 1770/HB 1247)

ABORTION — THIRD-TRIMESTER BAN (Failed)

Expands ban on third-trimester abortions to include viability of the fetus. Doctors who perform abortions would be required to receive ethics training. (SB 1748/HB 1397)

ABORTION — ULTRASOUND (Passed)

Women preparing to undergo an abortion must be offered the opportunity to have the results and images of an ultrasound explained to them. Woman can decline to see the image. (SB 1744/HB 1127)

MEDICAID (Passed)

Reforms place the program’s three million recipients into managed care. HMOs and other large, managed-care networks will bid with the state on managing any number of 11 regions in state. Also makes it more difficult for recipients to sue Medicaid doctors and hospitals. (SB 1972/HB 7107, 7109)

NURSING HOMES (Failed)

Provides a $300,000 limit on pain and suffering damages in wrongful death cases against nursing homes. Requires the court to hold a hearing before allowing punitive damages. (HB 661)

SALE OR LEASE OF A PUBLIC HOSPITAL (Failed)

Requires a judge — or in some cases, voters — to sign off on the proposed sale or lease of a public hospital. (SB 1448/HB 619)

SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY (Passed)

Extends state lawsuit protection to university doctors teaching at public hospitals. (SB 1676/HB 1393)

Insurance

AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE (Failed)

Among other things, bill gives insurers 90 days to investigate auto accidents claims for possible fraud before paying claims. (SB 1930/HB 1411)

AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE (Failed)

Limits attorney’s fees in personal injury protection lawsuits. (SB 1694/HB 967)

CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE (Failed)

Allows state-run insurer to raise rates by up to 25 percent. The current maximum 10 percent. (SB 1714/HB 1243)

PROPERTY INSURANCE (Passed)

Allows insurance companies to offer comprehensive sinkhole coverage for primary structures only. Sets a three-year window for filing claims for damage caused by hurricanes and windstorms. (SB 408/HB 803)

Military Affairs

 COLLEGE CHOICE (Failed)

Allows veterans who lived in Florida four years before entering the armed forces to be admitted to any state bachelor’s program of their choice. (SB 894/HB 693)

DRIVER’S LICENSE FEES (Failed)

Reduces driver’s license fees for certain disabled veterans. (SB 368/HB 123)

PROPERTY TAXES (Passed)

Extends certain property tax breaks to disabled veterans 65 years or older who have a service-connected disability but were not Florida residents before entering service. (SB 592/HB 439)

STATE PARKS (Passed)

Gives parents of deceased veterans lifetime annual passes to state parks. (SB 236/HB 95)

TUITION (Failed)

Gives any veteran in the country the in-state tuition rate to attend one of Florida’s colleges or universities. (SB 826/683)

VETERANS COURT (Failed)

Allows counties to develop jail-diversion programs for veterans charged with certain crimes as a result of traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder or substance use stemming from military combat. (SB 138)

VETERANS DAY (Failed)

Requires schools to observe Veterans Day as a holiday and not hold classes. (SB 1062/HB 375)

Rick Scott priorities

DRUG TESTS FOR WELFARE RECIPIENTS (Passed)

Requires drug screening for adult welfare recipients, who will lose benefits for a year if they test positive. (HB 353)

DAUBERT STANDARD OF EXPERT TESTIMONY (Failed)

Changes standards by which judges admit expert testimony. (SB 822/HB 391)

GOOD SAMARITAN PROTECTIONS (Passed)

Protects from civil litigation people who offer temporary housing, food, water or electricity to an emergency first-responder or immediate family members of an emergency first-responder. (SB 450/HB 215)

IMMIGRATION (Failed)

Requires some public or private employers to use the federal government’s E-Verify system, and changes rules for law enforcement to check the immigration status of suspects or inmates. (SB 2040/HB 7089)

Taxes and budget

BUDGET (Passed)

The $69.7 billion plan funds state government for the 2011-2012 year. (SB 2000)

CORPORATE INCOME TAX (Passed)

A tax break of $1,100 a year on average for 15,000 small businesses as Republicans vowed that it will be the first step in a multi-year effort to cut the state’s annual $2 billion corporate tax. (HB 7185)

ONLINE TRAVEL TAX (Failed)

Shields online travel companies from paying taxes on retail price of hotel rooms they sell and allows them to continue to pay based on wholesale cost. (SB 376 /HB 493)

PROPERTY TAXES (Passed)

Requires property owners to pay 75 percent of their taxes while they appeal their property appraisals. (HB 281)

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION (Passed)

Pays for a tax cut for businesses by cutting state benefits for unemployed Floridians. Instead of making the maximum $275 weekly benefit available for 26 weeks, the state would use a sliding scale based on the unemployment rate. Benefits would be available for no more than 23 weeks and no less than 12 weeks. (HB 7005)

Transportation

 BILLBOARD PERMITS (Failed)

Provision sets more restrictive guidelines for billboard permit fees charged by counties and cities. (HB 1363)

ENDING SUNPASS DISCOUNT (Failed)

Eliminates discount on prepaid tolls for those who buy SunPass Cards (SB 1252)

Constitutional amendments (require voter approval in 2012)

ABORTION (Passed)

Prohibits use of taxpayer money for abortions. (SJR 1538/HJR 1179)

COURT REVAMP (Passed)

Lets Senate confirm new justices and makes it easier for the Legislature to void court rules. Also gives House access to now-confidential investigations of judicial misconduct in advance of impeachment proceedings. (HJR 7111)

FUNDING FOR RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS (Passed)

Does away with provision prohibiting the use of public money for religious institutions and adds language prohibiting the government from denying funding based on religion. (SJR 1218/HJR 1471)

INSURANCE MANDATES (Passed)

Prohibits government from compelling someone to buy health insurance. (SJR 2/HJR1)

MIAMI-DADE CHARTER (Failed)

Lets Miami-Dade lawmakers place county charter amendments directly on the ballot. (HJR 1321)

PROPERTY TAXES (Passed)

Provides additional tax breaks for first-time homebuyers, businesses and second-home owners. (HJR 381)

REVENUE CAP (Passed)

Limits growth of state revenues to new formula based on changes in population and inflation. (SJR 958)

Veto Override

 LEADERSHIP FUNDS

Allows leaders in the House and Senate to operate campaign accounts that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash. (HB 1207)

(from The Miami Herald, May 08, 2011)

 

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