Inside this issue
  Constitution Revision Commission Begins Series of Public Hearings  
  The Constitution Revision Commission, which convenes every 20 years to suggest changes to the Florida Constitution, has thus far held four public hearings to seek citizens' input. At a meeting in Tallahassee on Wednesday, April 12, Michael Sheedy, executive director, provided remarks to the commission on behalf of the FCCB. Any proposed constitutional amendments recommended by the commission will go on the ballot for the November 2018 elections and would require approval from 60 percent of voters to pass.

The FCCB looks for the commission to address troublesome sections of Florida's Constitution, including:
  • Article 1, Section 23: Our state's privacy clause has been interpreted by the courts to give a greater right to abortion than the U.S. Constitution.
  • Article I, Section 3: The "no-aid" provision, known as the Blaine Amendment, creates questions about collaboration of religious organizations in government programs.
  • Article IX, Section 1: The "uniformity clause" has been interpreted to limit innovation in education.
Additional public hearings have been scheduled around the state from April 26-May 17. More information is available on the commission's official website.


  Proposal Seeks to Ensure Children Get a Second Chance  
  SB 196 by Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami) would ensure that all children in Florida receive equal access to civil citations, rather than arrest, when committing certain first-time, nonviolent misdemeanors. The bill was amended to allow data collection about the transfer of juveniles to the adult justice system, a provision supported by the FCCB. Ingrid Delgado, FCCB associate for social concerns/respect life, indicated support for the bill prior to its passage by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday. 

Juvenile civil citations serve as an alternative to criminal arrest and provide a second chance to youth who make mistakes while still holding them accountable for their actions. Such diversion programs also benefit society by reducing crime, saving the state money and helping build a productive citizenry.

Currently, companion measures in the House differ significantly from the Senate bill.


  Assistance with Avoiding Suspension of Driver License Continues to Move in Senate  
  SB 302 by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) prohibits the suspension of driver licenses for failure to pay fees related to traffic citations if the person demonstrates the inability to pay. This FCCB supported measure requires that a payment plan option be included on a notice of driving privilege suspension due to nonpayment of a fine. If the violator is unable to pay the citation in full, he or she may avoid a suspension by agreeing to a payment plan, based on his or her ability to pay. On Thursday, the bill was passed by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice, its second of three committees of reference.

A similar measure in the House, HB 1017 (Ingram) was passed by its first committee of reference early in the session.


  Recent News from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops  

April 13, 2017: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Chairman Calls for Arkansas to Abandon Scheduled Death Row Executions - "Justice and Mercy are better served by commuting their sentences to life imprisonment."

Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development issued a statement this morning in response to the scheduled executions of seven men in 11 days in Arkansas. The state is planning to begin the executions on Easter Monday. Bishop Dewane joins the Catholic community of Arkansas, and people of good will across the country and around the world, in urging Governor Hutchinson to reconsider this plan.

April 10, 2017: Inclusion Act Receives Continued Strong Support From USCCB Chairmen
  • Religious freedom is important for all, including child welfare providers 
  • Inclusion Act protects religious freedom and excludes no one
  • Parental choice in adoption is important and deserves protection
FCCB has issed a federal action alert on the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act



  Have a Happy Easter!  
  The FCCB offices will be closed on Friday, April 14 in observance of Good Friday and will reopen on Monday, April 17.



April 13, 2017

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E-Update: Week 6

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 vote records and current status of FCCB priority bills, see our legislative bill report.

The 2017 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature began Tuesday, March 7 and is scheduled to conclude Friday, May 5.

E-Update: Week 1
E-Update: Week 2
E-Update: Week 3
E-Update: Week 4
E-Update: Week 5
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