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Capitol Reports » Capitol Report: March 1, 2020

Capitol Report: March 1, 2020

Capitol Report
“Bringing Tallahassee to your doorstep”
March 1, 2020
Provided by: Capitol Alliance Group
106 E. College Ave, Suite 640 Tallahassee, FL 32301


With marathon Rules and Appropriations committee meetings scheduled, some bills continue to breath while others are on life support. After clearing the Rules Committee this week, a bill making it harder for citizens to amend the state constitution heads for the Senate floor.

With only 2 weeks remaining in the 2020 Legislative Session, the House and Senate chambers will begin budget negotiations next week and meet through the weekend.

The Capitol Alliance Group remains actively engaged with the League’s legislative agenda and high priority issues. The CAG are tracking over 20 high priority bills for the LWVFL.
House 45th Day Rule

February 27 marked the 45th day of Regular Session, after which, notice shall be provided no later than 4:30 p.m. before any committee or subcommittee meeting. Also, after the 45th day, by a majority vote, the House may, on the motion of the Chair or Vice-Chair of the Rules Committee, move to communications, messages from the Senate, bills and joint resolutions on Third Reading, or Special Orders.

Gun Bills Fail To Gain Traction As End of Session Nears

Time is beginning to run out for a score of gun bills languishing in committees as the Legislature begins week No. 8 of a nine-week legislative session.
Nearly three dozen proposals related to gun rights are stuck in review panels that will not meet again this year.
Just three others remain viable and could make it out of committee — but because of the number of bills still waiting to be heard, they may not get introduced to the House and Senate floors.
With approximately 10 meeting days left, only three proposals remain standing.

Gun legislation that could still pass:

SB 728/HB 311 – The Verbal Threat Prohibition
The proposal makes it a third-degree felony to threaten the use of a firearm to do bodily harm. HB 311 has cleared all committees and heads to the House floor. SB 728’s final committee stop is Appropriations on March 3.

HB 183/SB 1524 Prohibited Places for Weapons and Firearms
The measure repeals the ban on local elected officials carrying concealed weapons to public meetings. The House bill cleared all committees and waits to be heard on the floor. The Senate proposal was never heard in committee.

HB 1437 Safety of Religious Institutions
The bill has cleared all three committee stops and waits to be scheduled for floor debate. It allows people to carry concealed weapons at religious institutions that share properties with schools. There is no Senate companion.

E-Verify Bill Moves In House

This week, Representative Byrd, R- Jacksonville Beach introduced legislation (HB 1265) that passed the Commerce Committee largely upon party-lines – allowing for private employers to verify the employment eligibility for workers. Rep Byrd noted employers already using the required I-9 verification system could continue doing so. That should ease cost concerns for small businesses. This marks the first movement for E-Verify legislation in the House, while the Senate has advanced their bill through two committees.

DeSantis Wants Courts To Revisit Felon Voting

The DeSantis administration is asking an appellate court to revisit the three-judge panel’s decision this month that upheld a federal judge’s ruling that the state cannot deprive the right to vote to felons who are unable to pay court-ordered fees and fines.

The 33-page motion, filed Wednesday, asks the full 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case, what is known as an “en banc” hearing. The motion accused the three-judge panel of applying the wrong type of analysis, known as “heightened scrutiny,” to arrive at the Feb. 19 decision.

Senate Budget Chair At-Large Says Budget Is In Good Shape

Despite the chambers receiving allocations to date in order to begin the negotiation process and end session on time, Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, offered a little word of encouragement earlier this week in saying all remains in good shape.

The Senate has proposed a $92.83 billion spending package while the House came in at $91.37 billion. Negotiators have to work out differences on issues such as pay for state workers and teachers, the use of affordable-housing dollars, spending on the Florida Forever land-preservation program, a House push to eliminate Visit Florida, and hospital funding. Session is scheduled to end March 13, with the budget needing to be completed by March 10 because of a 72-hour “cooling off” period – before the respective chambers can vote on the budget.

Tuesday – Feb. 25, 2020
Appropriations Subcommittee on Education

  • SB 70 – Panic Alarms by Sen. Book; PASSED (testimony in support)

House Appropriation Committee

  • HB 903 Fines and Fees by Rep. Donalds; PASSED (waived in support)
  • HB 7067 Education by Ed. Committee, Sullivan; PASSED (waived in opposition)
  • HB 7097 Taxation by Ways & Means, Avilia, Beltran; PASSED (waived in opposition)

Wednesday – Feb. 26, 2020
Education Committee

  • HB 23 – Panic Alarms in Public Schools by Rep. Latvala; PASSED (waived in support)

Rules Committee

Lobby Core Chair Trish Neely testified on the following:

  • SB 1634 – Parental Rights by Sen. Stargel; Bill was temporarily postponed – On Rules agenda Monday, March 2. (testimony in opposition)
  • SB 7062 – Citizen Initiatives by Judiciary; Bill was temporarily postponed – On Rules agenda for Monday, March 2. (testimony in opposition)
  • SB 1794 – Constitutional Amendments by Sen. Hutson; PASSED (testimony in opposition)

Thursday – Feb. 27, 2020

Senate Appropriations

SB 70 – Panic Alarms in School by Sen. Book; PASSED (waived in support)

The League of Women Voters of Florida encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The League of Women Voters of Florida Education Fund works to register voters, provide voters with election information through voter guides as well as candidate forums and debates.


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