Tallahassee update for February 22, 2022

By Peter Schorsch
Sixty Days Newsletter
February 23, 2022

The House is expected to approve legislation (HB 1557) on Tuesday that would ban classroom “instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity” for students in kindergarten through third grade, or “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” Ahead of debate on the proposal, which critics have labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, sponsor Rep. Joe Harding withdrew his controversial amendment introduced last week that would have required schools to inform a parent of their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity within six weeks of finding out. While Democrats celebrated the death of that amendment, their efforts to block the overall bill fell short. Here’s your nightly rundown.

Major defeat. Rules Chair and future Senate President Kathleen Passidomo said she was not able to convince her fellow Republicans sponsoring the 15-week abortion ban to add an exemption for rape and incest victims.

Anti-WOKE. A Republican effort (HB 7) to prohibit certain lessons and training related to race, color, sex or national origin is primed for a Wednesday vote in the House.

Tax cut. A grab-bag of tax cuts (HB 7071) passed through the House Appropriations Committee and will now head to the floor for a full vote.

Connection lost. A Senate panel pulled $500M in funding from a pair of bills (SB 1800/SB 1802) aimed at rural broadband expansion.

Funding cut. The House budget plan could send more than $127 million in new funding to community-based care agencies, but providers in South Florida counties could see their funding cut.

Time for change. A bill (HB 1143) that would bring the first major reforms to Florida’s Baker Act law in 50 years cleared its penultimate committee in the House.

Tamper proof. Legislation (HB 287) that would ramp up penalties for evidence tampering in certain felony cases is ready for a floor vote in the House.

Clock is ticking. Florida’s policies for handling domestic violence cases could come under scrutiny through a bill (SB 1598) now moving through the Legislature, but time is not on the measure’s side.

Strong opposition. The Family Law Section of The Florida Bar laid out its opposition to a bill (HB 1395) ending permanent alimony ahead of a floor vote in the House.

‘Hello, how are you?’ Unlike the Senate version, the House telehealth bill (HB 17) wouldn’t allow audio-only telehealth.