DeSantis Signs Multiple Education-Related Bills

In the last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed numerous education-related bills into law. Along with the nationally famous Parental Rights in Education Bill, DeSantis signed legislation installing term limits for school board members, limiting restraints on students, and ensuring school staff had an “individualized seizure action plan.”

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Florida Judge Expected to Uphold Pro-Life Law

A Leon County, Fla. circuit judge, Angela Dempsey, is expected to uphold a 2015 Florida law requiring women seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours before going through the procedure. Dempsey indicated her decision earlier this week on Wednesday.

The order would be another indicator of a trend, nationally, of pro-life judicial and legislative victories. Even in predominately left-leaning states like Connecticut, its first ever March for Life garnered thousands of attendants.

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DeSantis Announces Additional STEM Funding

On the heels of the recently concluded Florida legislative session, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced an additional $289 million for STEM programs, civics education, and after-school and summer learning programs.

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Diaper Tax Break Comes to Florida

Anna Eskamani and Lauren

During the negotiations for the 2022-2023 Florida budget’s tax package, lawmakers included a provision that would include a diaper tax break in Florida. Diapers would become tax-free in Florida for one year starting July 1.

The effort was bipartisan in nature, but Florida Democrat lawmakers Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) and Florida State Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando), were the ones who spearheaded the effort.

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National Republican Group Seeking to Defend Florida Legislation

Ron DeSantis of Florida

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) announced in a memo that their 2022 priorities are to defend legislative victories by Republicans in states like Florida and the priorities of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). In the memo, the committee derided the efforts of the President Joe Biden administration.

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Florida Legislature Set to Pass Election Integrity Bill

The Florida House is set to vote on SB 524, which establishes an election security office under Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). The bill has been placed on the third reading calendar, which means the next step is final vote for the bill.

The bill has already been passed by the Florida Senate with a vote of 24-14. The bill was largely considered along party lines and was a proposal from DeSantis back in November.

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Florida Legislature Passes ‘Fatherhood’ Bill

Chris Sprowls of Florida

The Florida legislature has passed HB 7065, sending the bill to the desk of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). The bill establishes “fatherhood” programs with a total of $70 million to address Florida’s “fatherhood crisis.”

The Florida Senate previously voted on the bill and unanimously approved it, as did the House with a vote of 117-0 in favor.

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DeSantis Makes Final Pitch for Constitutional Carry

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), when speaking to reporters last week, said if constitutional carry were passed, he would sign it. DeSantis directly responded with “put it on my desk, I’ll sign it.”

The Florida Capital Star has previously reported that the bill, HB 103, was likely dead last month. Historically, bills that do not receive much backing after the halfway point in the legislative session will likely die. In the case of the constitutional carry legislation, it has yet to make it out of committee or have a Senate companion sponsor.

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Florida Lawmakers Continue Working on the State Budget as Its Deadline Approaches

Florida lawmakers continue to be in budget conference reconciling differences between House and Senate budget proposals. So far, numerous agreements and billions of dollars have been agreed upon.

The Florida House approved a $105 billion budget and the Florida Senate approved a $108 billion budget.  

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Florida House Passes Bill Making Churches Essential

The Florida House of Representatives passed a bill classifying religious institutions as “essential” during states of emergency. The bill was a result of the COVID pandemic, which saw many churches across the country forced to shut down due to pandemic-related conditions.

SB 254 already passed through the Senate in January with predominantly bipartisan support. Only three state senators – Sen. Lori Berman (D-Lantana), Sen. Tina Polsky (D-Palm Beach County), and Sen. Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach) – voted against the measure.

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Florida House Redistricting Proposal Backs DeSantis’ Recommendations

A map from the Florida House proposes that Florida’s congressional redistricting process will see Congressional District 5, currently held by Representative Al Lawson (R-FL-5), eliminated as it currently sits. According to the new map, Lawson’s district would only encapsulate an area in Duval County.

The recommendation to shift the boundaries of District 5 come from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The rest of the voters in the Tallahassee and North Central Florida area would be incorporated into District 2, held by Representative Neal Dunn (R-FL-2).

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Florida Senate Set to Vote on Fatherhood Bill

The Florida Senate is set to hear HB 7065, a priority piece of legislation for Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor), that would designate $70 million for addressing Florida’s “fatherhood crisis.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved the bill and full Senate consideration is its next stop.

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Florida Lawmakers Suspend Redistricting Until Florida Supreme Court Opinion

Florida lawmakers have suspended talks of Florida’s congressional districts until after the Florida Supreme Court issued an opinion on Congressional District 5. Florida State Rep. Tyler Sirois (R-FL-51), chair of the House panel leading the congressional redistricting, said the committee is not currently discussing the matter.

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Florida’s Anti-Woke Legislation Gets Committee Nod, Likely Setting Up Partisan Debate

Florida State Rep. Bryan Avila’s (R-FL-111) HB 7, which is part of the legislature’s effort to ban Critical Race Theory (CRT), got approval from the House Judiciary Committee this week. The bill was supported entirely by Republicans and opposed by Democrats with a vote of 14-7. The bill is part of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) “anti-woke” legislative effort and will likely lead to some of the most notable debate in the legislature during this session.

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Florida Lawmakers Considering Bill to Limit Voter Registration Access

A bill in the Florida Legislature sponsored by State Rep. Cyndi Stevenson (R-FL-17) would move to protect private voter information from being accessed in public view. The intention is to keep third party voter registration groups from obtaining private information.

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Constitutional Carry Gaining Traction in Florida Legislature

Earlier this week, Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-FL-10) indicated he would support a constitutional carry bill if the Senate were to take up that kind of legislation. Historically, Florida Republicans have been hesitant to take up expanding gun rights during the legislative session.

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Florida Lawmakers Propose Bills That Would Limit Subjects for Citizen Ballot Initiatives

In an effort to limit ballot initiatives brought on by the citizens, two Republican lawmakers in Florida, Senator Jason Brodeur and Representative Mike Beltran, filed identical bills (SJR 1412 and HJR 1127) that would restrict certain subjects in which citizens could issue the ballot initiative process for.

The two bills will be considered during the upcoming legislative session that begins January 11th, and are the latest attempts by Republicans to make the citizen initiative process harder in the state of Florida.

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