FLCAN E-Update
Inside this issue
  2022 Florida Legislative Session Concludes  

The Regular Session of the Florida Legislature will come to a close on Monday, March 14. Florida's constitution requires a 72-hour public review, or "cooling off" period, before the House and Senate can vote on the budget. Because of delays in negotiating the budget, state lawmakers have had to extend the session past its scheduled end date of March 11 to hold a final vote on the spending plan. All other business before the Legislature has concluded. 

At the end of each week of 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. Previous summaries are available on our website. Full bill text and legislative actions can be found on the websites of the Florida House and Florida Senate.



  Final Status of FCCB Budget Priorities and Concerns  

On Monday, March 14, the House and Senate chambers will convene to vote on a record $112.1 billion state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2022. 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:

Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Funding Increase
2022 Catholic Days at the Capitol Issue
The Legislature increased the VPK per-student allocation by $317 or 12.75%. This is the largest increase to the per-student allocation since the program began in 2005-2006. VPK is one of the state's most popular school choice programs. Florida's Catholic schools have successfully served children in this program since its inception. However, VPK funding has seen a net decrease over the course of the program's 17 years. Catholic Days Backgrounder

Pregnancy Support Services - The Florida Pregnancy Care Network (FPCN) has been level funded at $4.5 million. FPCN pregnancy care centers 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.

Affordable Housing Trust Fund - The Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund will receive approximately $362.7 million, protected from being swept to general revenue. The FCCB has long supported full funding of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Affordable housing monies fund construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing, down payment assistance and limited rental development to assist the disabled, elderly, veterans and others in need of housing assistance.

Nursing Home and Hospital Funding - Nursing homes received a 7% increase in the Medicaid base rate. The increase is tied to the Senate President's priority to increase employee wages to $15 per hour. The increase is effective October 1, 2022 and covers all employees in the nursing home. Providers will be required to enter into a supplemental wage agreement with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to ensure compliance.

Hospitals avoided cuts to their overall rates this year. The legislature removed automatic rate enhancements this year for safety net hospitals, in response to the directed payment program. However, the legislature approved $50 million in outlier payments for hospitals that lose the automatic rate enhancement but do not participate in directed payment.

Immigration Enforcement - The budget includes a $12 million allocation for the Department of Transportation to contract with common carriers and partner with applicable federal agencies to facilitate a program to remove undocumented individuals deemed "unauthorized aliens" as defined in SB 1808. For more on this FCCB opposed bill, see below.

Hormonal Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (HLARC) - A $2 million recurring allocation for HLARC was included in the budget during final negotiations between the Senate and the House. The FCCB will again be urging Governor DeSantis to veto this funding expansion of abortifacient family planning, as he did in 2021.

The following legislative proposals were actively engaged by the FCCB during the Session.



  Bills Passed by the Legislature  

Bills passed by the legislature are 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.

FCCB Supported Bills:

2022 Catholic Days at the Capitol Issue
HB 5 (Grall) / SB 146 (Stargel): Support
Prohibits abortion after 15-weeks gestation; allowing exceptions for saving the life of the mother, avoiding an irreversible and substantial impairment of a major bodily function of the mother, and fatal fetal abnormalities. Other provisions include creation of a program to educate women regarding the health risks of tobacco exposure during pregnancy for unborn children; requiring the creation of review committees to study fetal and infant mortality in Florida; and requiring monthly mandatory reporting of the number of medication abortions. Catholic Days Backgrounder; FCCB press release praising passage
House: Passed (78-39); Senate: Passed (23-15)

HB 215 (DiCeglie) / SB 254 (Brodeur): Support
Provides that no emergency order may expressly prohibit a religious institution from regular religious services or activities. An emergency order may only be permitted if it applies to all affected institutions equally. 
House: Passed (88-29); Senate: Passed (31-3

HB 615 (Overdorf ) / SB 1436 (Garcia): Support
Directs the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking to assess how social media platforms are used to facilitate and support trafficking within Florida and make recommendations on how to reduce or prevent such use. Also requires the Council to develop training on human trafficking for firesafety inspectors and Florida foster parents and agency staff.
House: Passed (112-0); Senate: Passed (38-0

FCCB Opposed Bills:

HB 873 (Maney) / SB 1204 (Broxson): Oppose 
Provides exemption from public records requirements shielding entities and people involved in distributing, manufacturing and supplying drugs used in lethal injections. FCCB letter in opposition
House: Passed (84-32) ; Senate: Passed (28-10

HB 1355 (Snyder) / SB 1808 (Bean): Oppose 
Prohibits commercial airlines and busing companies from transporting unaccompanied migrant children into Florida if they want to enter contracts with the state or local governments; requires all law enforcement agencies operating a county detention facility to enter into a 287(g) agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). FCCB statement on passage of SB 1808
House: Passed (77-42); Senate: Passed (24-15

HB 741 (McClure) / SB 1024 (Bradley): Oppose 
Revises net metering rules disincentivizing renewable energy development through changes in reimbursement rates and additional fees. FCCB letter in opposition
House: Passed (83-31); Senate: (24-15

HB 95 (Plakon) / SB 190 (Brodeur): Oppose 
Revises elements that constitute capital offense of murder in first degree, significantly increasing the number of sentences of life in prison or death (amended to remove this provision); adds methamphetamine to the list of controlled substances; prohibits specified activities involving controlled substances within 1,000 feet of specified facilities. FCCB letter in opposition
House: Passed (84-35); Senate: Passed (33-5)

FCCB Monitored Bills:

HB 1557 (Harding) / SB 1834 (Baxley): Monitor
Prohibits classroom instruction in public schools on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade; prohibits school district personnel from discouraging or prohibiting parental notification and involvement in critical decisions affecting student's mental, emotional, or physical well-being; authorizes parent to bring action against school district.
House: Passed (69-47); Senate: Passed (22-17

HB 7 (Avila) / SB 148 (Diaz): Monitor
Addresses concerns about public school curricula and workplace trainings that distort historical facts or push students or employees to adopt certain political or social viewpoints, including that factors such as race or sex primarily determine a person's character or potential.
House: Passed (74-41); Senate: Passed (24-15



  Bills That Died During the Session  

FCCB Supported Bills:

2022 Catholic Days at the Capitol Issue 
HB 747 (Snyder) / SB 1820 (Baxley): Support
Protects individual and institutional providers from being required to perform specific procedures that would violate their moral, ethical or religious beliefs; provides that self-insured employers are not required to pay for objectionable services. Catholic Days Backgrounder
House: Died in Second Committee of Reference; Senate: Died in Committee

2022 Catholic Days at the Capitol Issue 
HB 1251 (Aloupis) / SB 770 (Brandes): Support
Prohibiting the imposition of a sentence of death upon a defendant convicted of a capital felony if the defendant had a serious mental illness at the time the criminal offense was committed. Catholic Days Backgrounder
House: Died in Committee; Senate: Died in Committee

HB 6061 (Geller) / SB 386 (Farmer, Jr.): Support
Repeals the death penalty for capital felonies.
House: Died in Committee; Senate: Died in Committee

HB 1441 (Toledo) / SB 756 (Diaz): Support 
Expands public records exemption allowing victims to expunge certain records. 
Senate: Passed (39-0); House: Amended and Passed (115-0
Died in Returning Messages

HB 1439 (Busatta Cabrera) / SB 772 (Diaz): Support
Prohibits hourly rates at public lodging establishments (provision amended to SB 898 that passed); increases penalties for sex buyers; expands authority of courts to protect victims and vulnerable witnesses.
Senate: Passed (38-0); House: Amended and Passed (114-1
Died in Returning Messages

HB 1505 (Trabulsy) / SB 1830 (Brodeur): Support
Streamlines the state government background screening system significantly increasing the efficiency and organization of the screening process for numerous organizations and industries throughout Florida, including Catholic dioceses, parishes and schools, while keeping children and vulnerable adults safe. 
House: Passed (115-0): Senate: Died in Committee

FCCB Opposed Bills:

SB 884 (Boyd) / HB 537 (Mooney): Oppose
Authorizes landlords to offer tenants the option to pay a non-capped fee instead of a security deposit. The fees go to the landlord and do not accumulate in a trust that could be used to cover damages upon a tenant's exit from the property. 
House: Passed (88-27); Senate: Died in Committee



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