Inside this issue
  2016 Legislative Session: Final Summary  
  The Regular Session of the Florida Legislature came to a close (sine die) at 6:45 p.m. on Friday, March 11. The motion to adjourn sine die, Latin for 'without day,' is the last action of a session of the Florida legislature.

The following legislative proposals were actively engaged by the FCCB during the Session. For more information on these proposals and the final status of other closely followed bills, see our Legislative Bill Report.


  Bills that Passed the Legislature  
  Bills passed by the legislature will be presented to Governor Rick Scott for final action. From the date the governor receives a bill, he has 15 days to either sign, veto, or let the bill become law without his signature. Final votes are linked to House and Senate records; click on each vote to see how your legislators voted.

Enhanced Abortion Regulations
SUPPORTED BY FCCB - Catholic Days at the Capitol issue
SB 1722 (Staregl) / HB 1411 (Burton) requires all doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges or a transfer agreement with a hospital not more than thirty (30) minutes away by emergency vehicle. In addition, the measure calls for the prohibition of public funding for an organization that owns, operates, or is affiliated with a licensed abortion clinic, with some exceptions. It also requires comprehensive reporting of abortion statistics to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Senate vote: 25-15
House vote: 76-40
Presented to the governor (has until 3/26/16 to act).

On March 15, Michael Sheedy, FCCB executive director, sent a letter to Governor Scott urging him to approve HB 1411.

Death Penalty Sentencing
MONITORED BY FCCB (Unanimous Jury supported by FCCB) - Catholic Days at the Capitol issue
CS/SB 7068 (Criminal Justice) / HB 7101 (Criminal Justice Subcommittee)
addresses the January 12, 2016 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Hurst v. Florida that found Florida's system for sentencing a person to death unconstitutional because it allows a judge, not the jury, to find each fact necessary to impose a death sentence. The legislation also requires that at least 10 of 12 jurors agree when recommending death. 

Senate vote: 35-5
House vote: 93-20
Signed by governor on March 7.

Human Trafficking
SB 784 (Flores) / HB 545 (Spano) prohibits youth under the age of 18 from being prosecuted for prostitution and provides that sexually exploiting a child through prostitution be viewed as human trafficking.

Senate vote: 39-0
House vote: 117-0
Signed by governor on March 8.

Juvenile Criminal Record Expungment
SB 386 (Detert) / HB 147 (Latvala, C.) requires automatic expungement of juvenile criminal records when offenders reach the age of 21, with exceptions for those who have been classified as violent or habitual offenders.

Senate vote: 37-0
House vote: 113-2
Signed by governor on March 10.

Religious Freedom
SB 110 (Bean) / HB 43 (Plakon) provides that churches or religious organizations, or their employees, including clergy, may not be required to solemnize any marriage or provide services, facilities or goods for related purposes if such action would violate sincerely held religious beliefs.

Senate vote: 23-15
House vote: 82-37
Signed by governor on March 10.

SB 232 (Detert) / HB 403 (Ahern) revises duties for the newly named Office of Public and Professional Guardians which will now create guardian standards, investigate complaints against guardians, and discipline guardians who do not maintain the standards set forth.

Senate vote: 40-0
House vote: 115-2
Signed by governor on March 10.

Students with Special Needs
  • SB 672 (Gaetz, D.) / HB 7011 (Education Appropiations Subcommittee) renames the Florida Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts Program to the Gardiner Scholarship and expands the program to include eligibility for autism spectrum disorder and muscular dystrophy and 3- and 4-year-olds.
    • Senate vote: 39-0
    • House vote: 109-1
    • Signed by governor on January 21.
  • SB 1088 (Stargel) / HB 837 (Bileca) develops a 'transition-to-work' program, jointly offered by private schools and businesses, for young adults aged 17-22 with disabilities who are recipients of the McKay Scholarship. The measure also requires colleges and universities to submit articulation agreements made with private schools in their geographic area to the Florida Department of Education in an effort to determine the participation level of students served.
    • Senate vote: 39-0
    • House vote: 114-0
    • Presented to the governor (has until 3/26/16 to act).


  Bills that Died During the Session  
  • SB 118 (Hutson) / HB 9 (Trujillo) creates a state felony and increases the penalty for the illegal reentry of undocumented persons. More on FCCB concerns.
  • SB 872 (Bean) / HB 675 (Metz) requires local law enforcement agencies enforce federal immigration policy. More on FCCB concerns.
  • SB 1712 (Simpson) / HB 1095 (Ray) prohibits the state, political subdivisions, their agencies and employees, and persons receiving state funds from assisting with entry or resettlement of certain foreign refugees and immigrants. More on FCCB concerns.
Juvenile Justice
  • SB 314 (Diaz de la Portilla) / SB 558 (Altman) establishes minimum age at which a child can be charged as an adult.
  • SB 408 (Altman) / HB 7085 (Criminal Justice Subcommittee) requires officers to issue juvenile offenders civil citations for first-time nonviolent misdemeanors.
Suspension of Driver License
  • SB 7046 Transportation / HB 207 (Rouson) prohibits suspension of driver licenses for failure to pay fees or other charges related to traffic citations.
  • SB 1394 (Brandes) was amended to require that a payment plan option be included on a notice of driving privilege suspension due to nonpayment of a fine.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
SB 120 (Abruzzo) / HB 45 (Raschein) adds actual or perceived "sexual orientation, gender identity or expression" to those classes protected under the Florida Civil Rights Act, applying to housing, employment and other public accommodations.

Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
SB 664 (Brandes) / HB 957 (Gonzalez) requires the Department of Health to develop and adopt a physician order for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) form.

SB 1116 (Joyner) / HB 947 (Berman) establishes a long-acting reversible contraception pilot program in Hillsborough, Palm Beach, and Pinellas Counties.

Dual Enrollment
  • SB 824 (Stargel) requires state colleges and universities to establish agreements with local private schools to allow high school students to take certain free courses; designates state funding to cover tuition costs for dual enrollment otherwise invoiced to private schools.
  • SB 1522 (Stargel) / HB 835 (Eisnaugle) allows home education students to access career and technical courses and programs offered by school districts; exempts home education programs and private schools from being invoiced for dual enrollment courses offered to students by public colleges and universities.


  Final Status of FCCB Budget Priorities  
  The House and Senate chambers approved an $82.3 billion state budget for fiscal year 2016-2017. The budget will go to Governor Scott who will have 15 days to sign, veto, or partially veto the document.

Pregnancy Support Services: The budget allocates an additional $2 million in recurring funds for a total of $4 million to a network of pregnancy help centers that provides services such as pregnancy and childbirth education, counseling, referrals, and infant care and parenting classes. The budget allows for funding of additional assistance with wellness services and life skills.

KidCare: The budget contains a $28.8 million allocation and eliminates the five-year waiting period for low-income, lawfully-residing immigrant children to participate in the KidCare insurance program. This allows for health insurance coverage and preventive care during the first critical years of development for approximately 17,000 children. Undocumented immigrants of any age remain ineligible for the program. The measure has been a perennial priority of the FCCB and a previous Catholic Days at the Capitol issue.

Affordable Housing: The legislature has appropriated $200 million of affordable housing trust fund dollars, an increase of $25 million from last year. However, it sweeps $116 million of available housing trust funds to general revenue. The FCCB has long supported full funding of housing trusts to assist vulnerable populations with affordable housing needs.

Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK): Despite FCCB recommendations to increase the individual scholarship amount by at least $50, the budget level funds the scholarship at $2,437 per child for the upcoming school year. During budget negotiations, the House had recommended a $37 per-child increase. The Senate proposed level funding and that position ultimately prevailed.

Bolstering VPK funding has been a recent Catholic Days at the Capitol issue. Per-pupil scholarship amounts currently remain lower than 2007-2008 school-year levels. Lower funding makes it challenging for schools to continue serving children participating in the program. 

Healthy Families Florida (HFF): The budget includes an increase of $1.9 million for the state's premier child abuse and neglect prevention program and brings HFF to a total allocation of $28.3 million. This returns funding to just over 2010 levels when six years ago the legislature withdrew $10 million in general revenue from the HFF budget.


March 15, 2016

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E-Update: Final Session Summary

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 FCCB priority bills, see our legislative bill report.

The 2016 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature began Tuesday, January 12 and concluded Friday, March 11.

E-Update: Week 1
E-Update: Week 2
E-Update: Week 3
E-Update: Week 4
E-Update: Week 5
E-Update: Week 6
E-Update: Week 7
E-Update: Week 8
E-Update: Week 9

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