Good Bills
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This list refers to bills filed during the 2015 Florida legislative session.

LIFE:

SB 724 / HB 633, 24-Hour Reflection Period before Abortion:  Sen. Flores (R), Rep. Sullivan (R).

This bill would require that after the physician who is to perform an abortion, or referring physician, informs the woman of the potential risks of abortions and the gestational age of the fetus, that there be a 24 hour reflection period before abortion is performed and while physically present in the same room as the woman.  There are waiting times for buying a gun and even for getting married.  This is a powerful way to allow the mother time to really reflect and consider the weight of what she is doing in this permanent and life changing decision.  This bill seems to have the most support of leadership and therefore the greatest chances of passage.

SB 920 / HB 147, Hospital Admitting Privileges for Abortion Doctors:  Sen. Stargel (R), Rep. Hill (R).  Requires certain physicians to have admitting privileges at a hospital within specified distance of location where the abortion is performed or induced; provides penalties.  Many doctors who perform abortions are poorly qualified and because complications often occur in the surgical procedure of abortion these doctors should be required to have “admitting privileges” at a local hospital for safety and emergency situations.

B 1502 / HB 247, Florida for Life Act:  Sen. Evers (R), Rep. Van Zant (R)

This is a major abortion bill which is a direct challenge to Roe v Wade and which is filed symbolically each year but has never been heard in committee because if it passed it would be immediately struck down as unconstitutional under state and federal precedent. If the U.S. Supreme Court ever strikes down Roe v Wade and makes the issue a proper matter of state’s rights then this would be a great bill after that happens.  Even in a post-Roe environment Florida has a judicially created abortion right in its state constitution even more powerful than Roe.

FAMILY:

HB 583 / SB 1464, Requiring Men to use Men’s Bathrooms – Privacy and Single Sex Use of Public Showers, Locker rooms and Bathrooms , Rep. Artiles (R),  Sen. Dean (R)

We participated in the first committee hearing of Rep. Frank Artiles effort to produce a bill that would provide a strong protection of privacy for all individuals of all ages in the use of designated bathroom facilities.   This effort is to combat a city ordinance passed recently in Miami-Dade allowing the use of sex designated facilities by any transgender person that they feel is appropriate to their subjective state of mind at that time.  The bill would require biological men to use men’s rooms and biological women to use women’s rooms.

Adoption and Foster Care Reform

SB 320 / HB 7013, Adoption and Foster Care, Sen. Gaetz (D), Rep. Brodeur, (R)

This bill directs the Department of Children and Families to establish an adoption incentive program for certain agencies and subcontractors, thus enabling the department to conduct a comprehensive baseline assessment of lead agencies and provider performance and to compile annual data reports for the most recent 5 years of available performance information.  This bill also will provide certain amounts of funds payable to a qualifying adoptive employee who adopts specified children under certain circumstances.

NOTE: The bill itself is good, because it provides incentives for adoption. However, because the House added an amendment removing the longstanding prohibition against homosexual adoption in Florida Statute, we are no longer in support of the House version of the bill. The House bill does not provide conscience protection for religious adoption organizations.

Protecting the Public from Human Trafficking:

Posting of NHTRC phone number and text number

SB 534 / HB 369, Sen. Latvala (R), Rep. Kerner (D)

Senator Jack Latvala, along with companion House bill by Co-sponsors Spano (R) and Kerner (D), introduced this bill that would require the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline (NHTRC) number and text number to be posted in all Florida transportation hubs and establishments where employees and the public should be aware of how to recognize and report labor and sex trafficking.   This bill would substantially enable victims, predominantly women and children, to gain important knowledge and privately relay evidence and their condition to qualified authorities that potentially can respond to their need and escape from this devastating criminal enslavement.

HB 465 / SB 1106, Criminal Penalties; Records Exemption:  Sen. Flores (R), Rep. Spano (R)

This bill provides enhanced criminal penalties (focused on the pimps) for soliciting another person to commit prostitution and similar offenses.  It enhances protection for victims of all ages by creating a blocking firewall which states an exemption is created that blocks from public records certain requirements of information that reveals the identity of victims of certain human trafficking offenses and information relating to the criminal history records of human trafficking victims that have been ordered expunged.  This protective exemption would enable stronger security and privacy from public records revealing information about the location of safe houses, safe foster homes, and other residential facilities serving victims of sexual exploitation.

Creating Stronger Parental Rights:

SB 1532 / HB 737, Parental Rights:  Sen. Altman (R), Rep. Bileca (R)

This bill was referred to the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs House Subcommittee in an effort to expand with revision the legislative intent to establish the right of a parent to make decisions regarding the care, custody, and management of his or her child.   This protective benchmark would provide a firewall for the parents by requiring that specific findings be legally established by a controlling governmental agency to overcome that right.