Inside this issue
  2019 Legislative Session to Conclude  
  The Regular Session of the Florida Legislature will come to a close on Saturday, May 4. Due to a mandatory 72-hour "cooling off" period for legislators to review the budget before final passage, the session was extended one day beyond its May 3 scheduled end. All other business before the Legislature has concluded.

On Saturday, the House and Senate chambers will debate and vote on a $91.1 billion state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. By every expectation, it will pass in its current form. The budget will go to Governor Ron DeSantis who has line item veto authority.

The final status of FCCB budget priorities include:

Pregnancy Support Services - Funding remains at its current level. $4 million is allocated to the Florida Pregnancy Care Network to provide services such as counseling, referrals, material support, training, and pregnancy and childbirth education to pregnant mothers as they prepare to parent or place their babies for adoption. FCCB has been supportive of the program since its inception in 2005, and Catholic Days participants advocated for the inclusion of the program in Florida statutes in 2018.

Affordable Housing Trust Fund - The legislature has appropriated $200 million to affordable housing programs. Over half, $115 million, is going toward affordable housing programs in the Panhandle areas affected by Hurricane Michael. The total allocation is about $77 million higher than last year. $125 million of available housing funds was swept to general revenue for other projects. The FCCB has long supported full funding of housing trust funds to assist vulnerable populations with housing needs. 

Protection of Natural Resources - 2019 Catholic Days at the Capitol Issue - The budget includes about $682 million for environmental needs, such as Everglades restoration and protection of freshwater springs. The allocation exceeds Gov. DeSantis' $625 million proposal for the protection of Florida's environment and water quality - Catholic Days Backgrounder.

Security Funding for Nonpublic Schools - The FCCB proposed an increase in funding to harden the physical security of certain accredited nonpublic schools. However, only a very small sector of nonpublic schools received funding for security. The budget includes $2.5 million for Jewish Day Schools for purposes of hardening their campuses. Public charter schools received $158 million in the budget for capital improvements.
 

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.
 

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  Bills Passed by the Legislature  
  Bills passed by the legislature will be presented to Governor DeSantis 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. Links are provided to final House and Senate votes.


Former Governor Jeb Bush, an ardent supporter of school choice, was present on the House floor for the final vote on SB 7070. He was joined by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and Senate President Bill Galvano.

PARENTAL EMPOWERMENT IN EDUCATION
2019 Catholic Days at the Capitol Issue
  • HB 7075 (Education, Sullivan) / SB 7070 (Education): MONITOR
    Creates the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program, a  state-funded program for students from lower-income families to attend eligible non-public schools that meet their educational needs; also reduces the current 12,974 student waitlist for the Florida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarship Program; contains a provision of concern to the FCCB that establishes a new methodology to calculate the value of new and existing scholarships, decreasing the value of scholarships for students above sixth grade - Catholic Days Backgrounder

    House: Passed 76-39
    Senate: Passed 23-17
    Governor: Not yet presented to governor
STATE-LEVEL IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT
  • HB 527 (Byrd) / SB 168 (Gruters): OPPOSE
    Mandates local jurisdictions comply with all requests made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold individuals - even those who have not been convicted of a crime - beyond the time they would otherwise be released from a law enforcement agency - FCCB statement on final passage of SB 168

    House: Passed 68-45
    Senate: Passed 22-18
    Governor: Not yet presented to governor (Governor DeSantis has expressed support for and campaigned on the issue during last year's election.)
END-OF-LIFE CARE
  • HB 375 (Pigman) / SB 592 (Albritton): SUPPORT
    Simplifies provision of pain management for patients admitted to hospice

    House: Passed (114-0)
    Senate: Passed (39-0)
    Governor: Not yet presented to governor
CRIMINAL JUSTICE
  • HB 7125 (Judiciary) / SB 642 (Brandes): SUPPORT
    Provides for criminal justice reforms, including eliminating mandatory direct file for juveniles, reducing the number of non-driving offenses that can result in driver license suspension, increasing felony theft threshold, allowing the incarcerated to apply for occupational licenses, and removing technical violations that send people back to prison

    House: Passed (110-0)
    Senate: Passed (39-1)
    Governor: Not yet presented to governor
 

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  Bills That Died During the Session  
  PARENTAL CONSENT PRIOR TO A MINOR'S ABORTION
2019 Catholic Days at the Capitol Issue
  • HB 1335 (Grall) / SB 1774 (Stargel): SUPPORT
    Requires that a parent or legal guardian provide consent before a minor can undergo an abortion; allows the minor to petition the court for a waiver when parental abuse may be of concern - Catholic Days Backgrounder

    House: Passed (69-44)
    Senate: Died in committee
JUVENILE JUSTICE
  • HB 339 (Alexander) / SB 850 (Powell): SUPPORT
    Establishes minimum age at which children can be indicted as adults 

    House: Died in committee
    Senate: Died in committee
     
  • HB 575 (Bush) / SB 876 (Powell): SUPPORT
    Repeals mandatory direct file (this provision was added to HB 7125 which achieved final passage); creates a due process hearing for children to petition the court to try them as juveniles rather than adults; houses minors in juvenile facilities, rather than adult facilities, pending the court's decision in the due process hearing

    House: Died in committee
    Senate: Died in committee
     
  • HB 755 (Alexander) / SB 624 (Montford): SUPPORT
    Prohibits placing juveniles in solitary confinement, with limited exceptions

    House: Died in committee
    Senate: Died in committee
CONSUMER LOANS
  • HB 469 (Fernandez-Barquin) / SB 874 (Rouson): OPPOSE
    Creates a new statewide consumer-loan program that could raise the allowable interest rate on small-dollar loans to 36%

    House: Died on House Calendar
    Senate: Passed (33-4)
ACCESS TO CARE
  • SB 192 (Bean): OPPOSE
    Makes permanent the temporary elimination of the Medicaid retroactive eligibility period (90 days prior to Medicaid eligibility) for non-pregnant adults; final budget implementing bill keeps the temporary elimination through the end of fiscal year 2019-2020 and requires the Agency for Health Care Administration to submit a report to the Governor and Legislature as to the impact of this policy change on Medicaid beneficiaries and providers

    Senate: Died in committee
CONTRACEPTION
  • HB 579 (Davis) / SB 410 (Berman): OPPOSE
    Establishes a long-acting reversible contraception pilot program in Duval, Hillsborough & Palm Beach Counties
House: Died in committee
Senate: Died in committee

DUAL ENROLLMENT STUDENTS
  • HB 189 (Zika) / SB 1342 (Stargel): SUPPORT
    Restores access to free instructional materials for certain dual enrollment students; prohibits colleges and universities from charging nonpublic schools for dual enrollment courses taken by students 
House: Passed (113-0)
Senate: Died in committee
 

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  Recent News from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)  
   

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May 3, 2019

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2019 FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE SESSION


E-Update: Week 9 / Final Session Summary

The 2019 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature began March 5 and will conclude May 4.

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

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
 

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