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The 2021 Florida Legislative Session Has Now Come to an End. Here Are the Results.

The Good The Bad and the Ugly

 

The 2021 Florida legislative session saw the passage of some surprisingly good legislation and some significantly damaging bills passed without a lot of input from Floridians. Jacksonville NOW’s legislative committee identified priority legislation both to support and oppose. Some good news - 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.

 

The Good

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

 

The Bad

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.

 

The Ugly

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.