The 2021 Florida Legislative Session
The Good The Bad and the Ugly
The 2021 Florida legislative session saw the passage of some surprisingly good legislation but some significantly damaging bills also passed. Jacksonville NOW’s legislative committee identified priority legislation both to support and oppose. Some good news for 2021 [but look at 2022]- no new anti-abortion legislation made it through though several bills were introduced. The Labor Union busting bill, SB 78, also did not make it through to law.
HB 645 - Postpartum Medicaid Coverage provides new mothers with 12 months of coverage
CS/HB183 - The Office of Minority Health Equity was established to promote equitable health practices and policies
HB 7051 - Criminal Justice Reform bill requires new policies and training on the use of force and de-escalation techniques, bans chokeholds and more. It is a start….
SB 1154 - LARC (Long-Acting Reversible Contraception) was funded at $8,000,000 to be distributed to health clinics.
SB 1002 - DNA Evidence Collected requires the FL Dept. of Law Enforcement to maintain and track rape evidence kits.
SB 274 - Juvenile Diversion Program Expunction allows tens of thousands of juveniles eligibility to have their criminal records expunged
SB 96 - Child Welfare improves child abuse reporting, prevention and services
Amendment 2 - Increases lowest-paid state workers' pay to $15 an hour
HB 1 - Combating Public Disorder was a priority of Governor DeSantis and he has already signed into law. This bill limits rights to protest and criminalizes political action and participation in demonstrations. Floridian's First Amendment protections are diminished.
SB 90 - Vote By Mail Ballots makes it more difficult for Floridians to vote by mail, imposes limits on access to drop boxes, restricts third-party voter registration organizations and allows DeSantis to appoint replacements to vacated political positions. This during a pandemic and a recent state election that was trouble free. The League of Women Voters and other groups are filing a lawsuit against this bill.
HB 7045 - School Choice is the largest expansion in school voucher funding in many years.
HB 259/SB1884 - Safety of Religious Institutions legalizes guns in churches sharing properties with schools
HB 233 - Postsecondary Education prohibits the State Board of Education from shielding students, staff, and faculty from certain speech; colleges will face mandatory intellectual freedom and diversity screening.
Executive Order 21-81- Vaccine Passport Ban prohibits any government agency or businesses in Florida from requiring vaccine documentation to gain access to services.
SB 582 - The Parental Bill of “Wrongs”, as we call it, creates barriers for students by authorizing parents to restrict student access to counselors, health resources and other services. It also removes their right to privacy in contact with school personnel.
SB1028 - The Trans Children’s Sports Ban prohibits trans girls from playing on school sports teams, though they have been participating for years with the results being building their self-esteem, character and healthy physical activity level.
Fake Clinic Funding - An additional $500.00 in funding has been allocated for these clinics that provide no health services but instead misinform and shame women seeking abortion services.