Inside this issue
  House and Senate in Formal Budget Negotiations  
  House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron announced on Thursday they had reached an agreement on budget allocations. Allocations determine how much money will go to each broad area of the budget. The agreement between the leaders allowed the formal process of negotiating differences between the two chambers' spending plans to begin Thursday afternoon. Lawmakers are trying to approve a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 before the scheduled May 5 end of the legislative session. Last week, as legislators prepared for budget negotiations, the FCCB outlined recommendations on several priorities in a letter to House Appropriations Chairman Carlos Trujillo.  


  Grieving Families Act Receives Final Passage  
  HB 101 (Cortes, B.) received final passage in the Senate and will go to the governor for his signature. The bill allows parents whose pregnancies result in miscarriage after the 9th week but before completion of the 20th week of gestation to request nonviable birth certificates from the Department of Health. Currently, certificates of birth are available for stillborn children after 20 weeks gestational age. FCCB supports this legislation that will allow parents who previously had no official record of children lost before the 20-week threshold to formally memorialize them. SB 672 (Bean) was the companion measure in the Senate.  


  House Passes Unfunded Local Enforcement of Federal Immigration Policy  
  So called "sanctuary" bill, HB 697 (Metz), was passed by its final committee of reference on Monday, followed by passage in the full House on Friday. The bill requires local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration policy without accompanying funding. As a result, local resources for preventing crime and protecting the public will be redirected to immigration enforcement. In a letter to the bill's sponsor, Executive Director Michael Sheedy outlined FCCB's concerns with the measure. The Senate companion, SB 786 (Bean), has not been heard by any of its committees of reference, indicating the measure is likely dead for the session.  


  Senate Advances Bill to Provide Children a Second Chance  
  HB 301 (White) was taken up by the full Senate and amended with the provisions of SB 196 (Flores) on second reading. The measure would ensure that all children in Florida receive equal access to civil citations, rather than arrest, when committing certain first-time, nonviolent misdemeanors. 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. The bill also allows for data collection regarding the transfer of juveniles to the adult justice system, a provision supported by the FCCB. If the Senate passes the amended bill as expected it must return to the House for further consideration and final passage.  


  St. Patrick Catholic School Students Visit the Capitol  

7th and 8th grade students from St. Patrick Catholic School in Gainesville visited Tallahassee this week. In addition to spending time at the old and new capitol buildings, they were able to visit the Mission San Luis historical site.


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

April 27, 2017: As the U.S. House of Representatives appears poised to vote on the American Health Care Act (HB 1628), Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, stressed that remaining flaws in the bill will harm poor and vulnerable people and called on members to insist upon changes.

Contact your U.S. Representative in Congress and ask them to ensure that any replacement to the Affordable Care Act maintains meaningful coverage for the poor, the elderly and the chronically ill, in addition to providing essential protections for the unborn.

Click here to send your message.

April 26, 2017: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the USCCB's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, reacted to the announcement by the Democratic National Committee's chair pledging support only for pro-abortion candidates. Calling the pledge "very disturbing," Cardinal Dolan urged party members to "challenge their leadership to recant this intolerant position."



April 28, 2017

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E-Update: Week 8

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
E-Update: Week 6
E-Update: Week 7
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