Tallahassee update as 2022 Session continues …

By Peter Schorsch
Sixty Days Newsletter
February 9, 3033

[Highlights of the Florida Legiislative Session for February 7, 2022]

A slew of teachers, parents and students descended on the Capitol to speak out against a bill (SB 1834) that would limit classroom discussions of LGBTQ issues. Derided by Democrats and LGBTQ rights advocates as the “don’t say gay” bill, the legislation will give parents the right to sue if they feel their child’s school crossed the line. Despite the wave of public testimony opposing the bill, the measure cleared the Senate Education Committee with a party-line vote. In a rare move, the Biden administration issued a statement slamming the bill and the Republican lawmakers who supported it, saying it runs counter to the “basic values” of “children’s safety, protection and freedom.” Here’s your nightly rundown.

Make it rain. The House and Senate appropriations committees are poised to vote on their budget plans Wednesday, setting the stage for a floor vote later in Session.

Contentious care. A contentious plan (HB 7047) to overhaul the state’s mammoth health care safety net took its second step forward in the House.

Move along. A bill (SB 1664) banning protests outside of people’s homes cleared its second Senate committee.

Move along II. The House residential protest bill (HB 1571) also advanced, with an amendment making the violation punishable by up 60 days in jail, a $500 fine and six months of probation.

Union busting. Legislation (HB 1197) that would require public employee union members to reaffirm annually they want to remain members advanced to its final House panel.

Extra time. Legislation (HB 689) to give first responders more time to begin claims for work-related PTSD is approaching its final committee hearings.

Auxiliary funding. A House panel advanced a bill (HB 573) that would allow tourist development taxes to fund law enforcement.

Shoplifting spree. A retailer-backed bill (HB 1511) upping penalties for thieves who steal from multiple stores within a short period sped through the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Subcommittee.

Sack SACS. A Senate committee voted along party lines to advance a committee bill (SPB 7044) requiring state colleges and universities to switch up accreditation bodies.

Get paid. A House committee greenlit a bill (HB 461) to allow college-bound students to meet Bright Futures volunteer hour requirements by working a paid job.

One night only. An anti-human trafficking bill (SB 1852) prohibiting hotels from offering hourly rates cleared its first committee in the Senate.

Markel Act. A bill (SB 1408) that would allow grandparents to petition for visitation rights if their grandchild’s surviving parent is implicated in the other’s death cleared its second committee.

To boldly go. A proposal (HB 1303) to create a government authority to boost the Bold City space industry shot through the House Tourism, Infrastructure and Energy Subcommittee.

K-9 care. A bill (HB 25) allowing the owners of retired law enforcement dogs to recoup some of their pet’s vet costs passed its second House committee.