Inside this issue
  Easter Blessings  


  Short Week for the Legislature  
  Lawmakers are taking an extended weekend to celebrate the Easter and Passover holidays. The Florida legislature has no meetings on the calendar for tomorrow, Friday, April 3 or Monday, April 6. Members of the Senate and House will return to the Capitol on Tuesday to resume activities of the 2015 legislative session.

FCCB offices will be closed tomorrow in observance of Good Friday.


  24-Hour Reflection Prior to Abortion Advances in both House and Senate  
  SB 724 (Flores), which provides a woman the opportunity to reflect for at least 24 hours after receiving information about her baby's gestational age and the risks of abortion before proceeding with the termination of her pregnancy, passed Senate Health Policy (5-3), its first committee of reference, on Tuesday, March 31. The bill will be heard next in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB 633 (Sullivan), the House companion, passed its final committee of reference, Health and Human Services (12-5), on Wednesday, April 1. The bill goes next to the House floor.

Amendments were offered in both Senate and House Committees, which were opposed by the FCCB. An amendment filed by Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood) would have allowed the physician to present the required information prior to the abortion electronically rather than in person as the bill states. Representative Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach) offered an amendment that would have allowed the physician who is to perform the abortion to delegate consultation responsibilities to a nurse or physician assistant. Both amendments failed.
If you have not yet had the opportunity to thank the two bill sponsors for their courage in bringing forward these life-affirming bills, click here to send Rep. Jennifer Sullivan and Senator Anitere Flores a note of gratitude and encouragement.


  Conscience Protection for Private Child-Placing Agencies Passed by House Judiciary  
  HB 7111 filed by the House Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee and Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) establishes conscience protections for adoption agencies in Florida.

This proposed legislation preserves the status quo with respect to agencies currently placing children for adoption. It adds no new barriers to adoption and foster care placement, but ensures that licensed entities that have served the best interests of Florida's children for decades may continue to operate into the future.
For instance, agencies that establish policies to prefer placement with married couples should be protected. Agencies that give preference to placing children in homes with both a mother and a father should be able to do so. The measure does not prevent adoption by otherwise qualified adults who can and do work with other agencies today.
In an environment that is increasingly intolerant of the exercise of religious principles and beliefs, the bill preserves the freedom of religious organizations to place Florida's children in need of adoption with loving families.

HB 7111 passed the House Judiciary Committee (11-4) on Thursday, April 2 and goes next to the full House chamber.
The FCCB wishes to thank constituents of members of the House Judiciary Committee who took the time to urge support for HB 7111, as well as those constituents who sent a thank you message to Rep. Brodeur for advancing this important legislation.


  House and Senate Committees Pass Civil Citation Measure for Juvenile Offenders  
  On Monday, March 30, HB 99 (Clarke-Reed) passed in the Justice Appropriations Subcommittee (11-1). The bill authorizes law enforcement officers to issue a warning, inform the child's parent or guardian of the child's infraction, or issue a civil citation to a juvenile who admits having committed a misdemeanor. FCCB supports the proposal, which ensures minors are held accountable for delinquent acts and receive necessary interventions while sparing them a criminal record. HB 99 is now in its final committee of reference, House Judiciary.

Companion measure SB 378 (Garcia) was passed by the Senate Rules Committee (9-2), its final committee of reference, on Thursday, April 2 and will head to the Senate floor.


  FCCB Provides Informational Testimony on POLST Provision  
  SB 1052 (Brandes), a bill that allows terminally ill patients to explore medications and treatments currently under clinical trial but not yet approved by the FDA, also contains a provision that provides for the use of a Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form.

At an April 2 meeting of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, Michael McQuone, FCCB associate director for health, provided testimony for informational purposes. He noted that POLST is much more extensive than a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNRO) and that further improvements are needed.

SB 1052 was passed unanimously by the Subcommittee and will go next to its final committee of reference, Fiscal Policy.

Companion HB 269 (Pilon), which remains free of the POLST language, was passed unanimously by the House Health & Human Services Committee on Wednesday, April 1, and has been placed on the House calendar on second reading.


  Catholic Education Groups to Honor James B. Herzog and D. Michael McCarron at National Convention  

The Diocese of Orlando will host the annual National Catholic Educators (NCEA) Convention and Expo April 7-9, 2015 at the Orange County Convention Center. As the largest event of its kind, the Convention is expected to draw thousands of participants who will be able to choose from hundreds of professional development sessions, meetings, liturgies, and special events.

Advanced and onsite registration for the NCEA Convention and Expo is available. For more information, click here.

Two FCCB leaders are among several honorees who will be presented with awards in conjunction with the Convention:
This year the Leonard F. DeFiore Parental Choice Advocate Award will be presented to James B. Herzog, Florida Catholic Conference/Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, associate director for education. This award is bestowed annually to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting full and fair parental choice in education.

D. Michael McCarron, Ph.D.
, former executive director of the Florida Catholic Conference, will accept the F. Sadlier Dinger Award at a breakfast and awards ceremony hosted by William H. Sadlier, Inc. at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. Instituted in 1980, the award is presented by the publishing company to a person who has contributed significantly to Catholic education.

Read the full press release


April 2, 2015

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Week 5 of 9

Each Friday during the 60-day session, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB) provides a summary of activity on priority bills and other items of interest at the Capitol.

For the current status of bills closely monitored by the FCCB, see our legislative bill report, which is updated on a daily basis.

The 2015 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature began Tuesday, March 3 and is scheduled to conclude Friday, May 1.

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