2018 Scored Bills
To view scored bills for the 2017 legislative session, click here.
Abortion Care Method Ban
This bill sought to outlaw the most common method used by physicians for second trimester abortion. This unconstitutional bill would have imposed an undue burden on a woman’s right to abortion care. This attack on reproductive freedom passed the House, but died in the Senate.
Attack on Constitutional Rights
This bill represented a serious attack on individual rights, local democracies, local control, and the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by stripping power away from local governments to protect their residents from searches and seizures without a warrant. The bill threatened to withhold state funding and impose a statewide ban on misleadingly termed “Sanctuary Cities”. This attack on constitutional rights passed the House along party lines but died in the Senate.
Attack on Unions
A repeat from the 2017 legislative session, this politically motivated bill supported by the Koch brothers targeted teachers and public employee unions. The bill would have decertified any union, except first responder and corrections unions, that represented less than half of a workforce. This “union busting” bill passed the House along mostly party lines and died in the Senate. A version of this bill only applying to teachers unions did pass the legislature as part of HB 7055.
Beach Access Restrictions
This bill has the potential to restrict public access in various locations to one of Florida’s greatest assets: its beaches. According to Tampa Bay Times veteran environmental reporter Craig Pittman, the bill “blocks local governments from adopting ordinances to allow continued public entry to privately owned beaches even when property owners may want to block off their land. Instead, any city or county that wants to do that has to get a judge’s approval first — by suing the private landowners.” The bill passed with large majorities in both the House and Senate
College Fee Fairness
This bill eliminates the financial penalty for students who take too many classes while earning baccalaureate degrees if they graduate within four years. It passed unanimously in both the House and Senate.
Coral Reef Conservation
This bill establishes the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area, which will draw down federal funds in order to better protect sensitive coral reefs that are threatened by coral bleaching disease. In addition to the reefs’ critical role in ocean ecosystems, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection estimates the reefs generate $3.4 billion in sales and income while supporting 36,000 jobs each year. The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously.
Criminal Justice Reform
This bill encourages local programs to allow certain offenders to be released while awaiting trial with electronic monitoring without paying a bail bond. It also requires certain arrest records of minors to be expunged upon completion of diversion programs. The bill passed the House and Senate overwhelmingly.
Debating An Assault Weapons Ban
Following the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the House debated whether to bring a proposed ban on assault weapons to the floor in order to first debate it. The measure failed on a mostly party line vote. The Senate debated an amendment that would have added an assault weapons ban to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Act but also rejected the amendment on mostly party lines.
Florida Civil Rights Statue in DC
This bill replaces Florida's statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith in the U.S. Capitol with civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune. The bill passed the House and Senate overwhelmingly.
Funding Anti-Abortion Fake Clinics
This bill requires the Florida Department of Health to contract with and then provide millions in public funding to so-called “crisis pregnancy centers.” These centers are actually anti-abortion fake clinics. They use deceptive, manipulative practices to shame women out of getting birth control and abortion care, diverting women from accessing comprehensive and timely care from appropriately trained and licensed medical providers. The bill passed on mostly party line votes in both the House and Senate.
Gutting Public Services and Infrastructure
HJR 7001 adds a proposed constitutional amendment to the 2018 ballot that would effectively make Florida’s unfair and regressive tax code permanent while denying critical funds for public services and infrastructure. The amendment would require a two-thirds vote in the legislature to create or raise a tax or fee. This would make efforts to close grossly unfair loopholes in the corporate profits tax and sales tax almost impossible. It would also result in a constant underfunding of state priorities like education, mental health, healthcare, transportation, and childcare no matter how much demand increases in our communities.
Land and Water Conservation
In 2014, Florida voters passed Amendment 1 with more than 70% of the vote. The constitutional amendment required the legislature to spend a portion of real estate transaction taxes for land and water conservation. The legislature has effectively ignored that mandate from voters. This year, through SB 370, the legislature threw a bone to land and water conservation efforts by appropriating $100 million to the Florida Forever program. While SB 370 is a step forward, the fact is a permanent conservation funding solution is still needed that honors the will of Florida voters. SB 370 passed the Senate unanimously and was included in the final state budget.
Opioid Abuse Reform
This bill limits opioid prescriptions with key exceptions for cancer patients and those facing terminal illness and/or receiving palliative care. It authorizes $53 million for treatment and prevention, and requires practitioners to consult the state's prescription drug monitoring program before prescribing or dispensing. Much more needs to be done to deal with the opioid epidemic in Florida, but this is a good first step. The bill passed unanimously in both the House and Senate.
Predatory Payday Loans
This bill allows predatory payday lenders to create loans of up to $1,000 payable within 60-90 days with an interest rate of up to 200% APR. These kind of loan products are dangerous and can keep low income individuals and families trapped in a never-ending cycle of debt. The bill passed with strong majorities in both the House and Senate. We agree with Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero of the Calvario City Church in Orlando who rightfully stated “a 200 percent interest rate is usury, and a loan designed to trap people in debt is morally repugnant.“
Prescription Drug Cost Transparency
This bill requires pharmacists to advise customers about the costs of prescriptions and whether the retail prices of certain drugs are lower than cost-sharing requirements imposed by insurers or HMOs. In addition, the bill also requires greater transparency of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), who are mostly unknown to consumers but act as intermediaries between pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies and have played a role in high prices for prescription drugs. The bill passed unanimously in both the House and Senate.
Regressive State Budget
The state budget continues to ignore Floridians’ needs in favor of the wealthy and well-connected. It poorly funds public education, keeping funding levels far behind where they should be today adjusted for inflation. Health care also remains underfunded, with hundreds of thousands of Floridians left out of a potential expansion of Medicaid. The budget also again sweeps critical funds out of the state’s affordable housing trust fund while hardworking Floridians struggle to afford a place to live. Finally, the budget continues the legislature’s giveaway of more public tax dollars to questionable corporate tax breaks.
Safer Assisted Living Facilities
Following Hurricane Irma in 2017, 14 elderly Floridians tragically died after they were left in the suffocating heat of their nursing home with no power. As a response to this tragedy, this bill is a long overdue reform that requires assisted living facilities to have backup power sources. The bill passed overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate.
This bill authorizes the creation of a Florida Slavery Memorial near the Capitol in Tallahassee. The purpose of the memorial is to recognize the part slaves played in settling Florida and the inhumanity of their treatment while doing so. It passed the House and Senate unanimously.
Stopping Guns In Schools
These House and Senate amendments would have stripped out the so-called “school guardian” program that requires more armed personnel in our schools from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Act. Although strongly supported by teacher and school staff representatives, the amendments failed mostly on party lines.
Toilet To Tap Dirty Water Bill
This bill allows treated sewage water to be pumped into the aquifer in an effort to replenish the water supply. While the water would have to meet federal drinking water standards before being pumped into the aquifer, the standards don’t require filtering out antibiotics, antidepressants and other drugs that are frequently a part of human waste. In addition, Florida’s water supply issues could be solved through smart and scaled conservation efforts, an avenue not fully explored. The bill passed both the House and Senate with large majorities.
Undermining Public Schools
HB 7055 is another education-related “train” bill including a number of attacks on public schools. The bill expands private school vouchers to include bullied students. Not only does this not deal with the actual problem of bullying, but the bill ultimately wastes precious taxpayer resources and harms neighborhood public schools by funding a parallel system of for profit private voucher and charter schools that is less accountable to citizens and has produced mixed results at best. Adding insult to injury, the bill also contained a union busting measure requiring decertification of teachers unions that represented less than half of their workforce. The bill passed the House and narrowly squeaked through the Senate before Gov. Scott signed it into law despite strong opposition from parents, teachers, school boards, and education leaders.
Workers Comp Deform
After a Florida Supreme Court decision overturned the state's worker's compensation system, the Florida Legislature needed to work on a constitutional replacement. The House brought back their flawed 2017 proposal which was a bad bill for workers, requiring more out-of-pocket costs for Floridians hurt on the job. The bill passed the House, but died in the Senate.