GOOD BILLS: 2017 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
ADOPTION / FOSTER CARE
This bill would help families who are dealing with crises, such as drug abuse, illness, unemployment, or homelessness which have not yet led to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to remove children from the home. Several private, non-profit organizations in Florida work with respite care families to provide a temporary, safe environment for children while their parents work to reestablish a safe and stable living environment. This is a voluntary program on the part of the parents and seeks to intervene in situations before children are placed in child welfare due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
This bill gives women who have an abortion a new way to sue the doctor performing the abortion if they sustain physical or emotional injuries. Specifically, if a woman was not properly informed of the possible risk of abortion and she suffers emotional problems as a result, she may sue the abortionist. If the doctor was negligent in performing the abortion and the woman suffers physical injuries as a result, she may sue the abortionist.
This bill requires the Florida Department of Health to contract with the Florida Pregnancy Care Network (FPCN) to provide pregnancy support services for women who suspect or know they are pregnant. FPCN would then provide support to pregnant women and address their wellness needs. The bill would require subcontractors with FPCN to promote and support only childbirth. Services provided must be noncoercive and could not include religious content.
This bill requires the Department of Health (DOH) publish the following on their website: pregnancy support and adoption services in the state (both public and private), their contact info, and a description of services at these agencies. A statement alerting pregnant mothers that there are agencies to assist them must be posted on the DOH website as well as at medical offices, hospitals, etc. that provide OB/GYN services. This bill also assists local crisis pregnancy groups with community outreach and awareness campaigns for options to abortion for expectant mothers.
This bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks, except in rare cases. It would require abortion clinics to report the abortions they perform annually, along with descriptive information such as the estimated age of the child, and what abortion method was used, etc. The bill would also allow civil and criminal damages to be brought against any physician who intentionally violates this ban.
HB 7037 Addressing Gambling Long-Term
Sponsor: Rep. Mike La Rosa (R) and the Tourism & Gaming Control Subcommittee
This bill will constrict or freeze gambling in Florida by requiring the Governor to renegotiate the state’s compact with the Seminole Tribe, with terms for a 20-year contract. It allows the Seminole Tribe to provide banked card games and slots outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties exclusively, effectively freezing state authorized gambling outside of these areas for the next 20 years. It requires horse and dog tracks to have live races, limits the types of card games allowed, and bans highly addictive slot machines from these facilities. It prohibits new permits for horse and dog tracks and does not allow them to be converted.
This bill seeks to help children who have been the victims of sex trafficking by requiring the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to maintain a database of services available for victims of commercial sexual exploitation, increases the situations in which a defendant’s confession may be used at trial, outlines procedures for assessment and staffing in evaluating and assisting victims, and requires either DCF or the local sheriff’s office to follow up with victims within six months to evaluate services used and their effectiveness.
Requires health education in public schools to include information regarding the dangers and signs of human trafficking.
HB 303 / SB 436 Religious Liberty in Public Schools or “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act”
Sponsors: Rep. Kim Daniels (D), Rep. Patricia Williams (D), Sen. Dennis Baxley (R)
This bill would prohibit a school district from discriminating against students, parents, or school personnel on the basis of religious viewpoints or expression. This bill states that a school cannot penalize or reward a student’s religious expression in their coursework, artwork, or other specified assignments. It provides equal access to all religions and non-religions before, during, and after school.
The UNSC adopted Resolution 2334 in December 2016, which stated that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a flagrant violation of international law, has no legal validity, and is a major obstacle to the vision of two states living side-by-side in peace and security. The US abstained from voting when it had the power to veto Resolution 2334. This Resolution pronounces that the Legislature opposes and requests the repeal or fundamental alteration of Resolution 2334 so that it: is no longer one-sided and anti-Israel and authorizes all final-status issues toward a two-state solution to be resolved through direct, bilateral negotiations between the parties involved.