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The 2023 Florida Legislative Outlook



By Rebekah Jones


The Florida 2023 legislative session went into Cocaine Bear-crazy mode today with hundreds of bills being filed in the Florida Senate and House.


I’ve highlighted a few of the most concerning, useless and/or terrifying proposed bills below. These are not all of the proposals, just the ones that stuck out for being particularly egregious.


Republicans now have a supermajority in the state, and with no one willing or able to stand up to the corruption at the top, many of these bills will likely become law later this year.


All bills, including the full bill text, sponsor(s) and status can be accessed here.


Restrictions on speech and the first amendment:


SB1220/HR991: Removes journalism shield laws and makes it easier to sue the press; makes the legal presumption that statements by sources whose identities are not revealed in stories are false; lowers the standard to prove actual malice; changes the definition of public figure.


Note: Under Florida law, all public officials are exempt from defamation suits. So while they would like it to be easier to sue the press, they’re still giving themselves blanket immunity for the defamation they so often commit.


SB1316: Requires bloggers who write about the Governor or any state official to register with and report to the state.


From the bill: "If a blogger posts to a blog about an elected state officer and receives, or will receive, compensation for that post, the blogger must register with the state within five days of the post, and file monthly reports... who compensated the blogger and amount of compensation"


Attacks on women, LGBT and civil rights:


SB300: Bans abortion at six weeks


HB1069: Defines "sex" as binary; requires teaching that sex is “determined by biology and reproductive function at birth;” requires schools to get state approval for materials about sex education, STDs, etc.; bans a larger group of books and instructional materials, including anything the state determines "Is inappropriate for the grade level and age group for which the material is used." From HB1069: "Teach abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard."


HB437: Allows homeowners associations to ban pride flags and any non-USA, non-military flags (this would include flags of other nations, like Ukraine).


SB668: Bans pride flags from all government, educational and public places


HM539: Urges congress to ban abortion


HB775/HB1301: Grants equal time-sharing and custody to the biological children of rapists


HB1421: Prohibits transgender healthcare and treatment; prohibits changing gender on birth certificate; bans health insurance coverage for "gender clinical interventions."


SB254: Grants courts emergency jurisdiction over children "if they are at risk of or are being subjected to the provision of sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures."


SB1438(HB1423): Allows the state to fine, suspend and revoke licensees of any public establishment that hosts drag shows.


HB1521: Requires that all persons use/be assigned to a restroom, changing facilities, domestic violence shelters, and correctional facilities based on gender assigned at birth.


HB1617: Requires hospitals to collect and report to law enforcement immigration status data on admission.


SB1580: Allows providers to deny medical services based on their "sincerely-held religious beliefs."


SB1320: Bans school staff from being required to use pronouns that "do not correspond with that person's sex at birth,; bans all sex ed until high school.


Attacks on education:


HB999: Eliminates tenure at public universities


HB1: The destruction of public education bill.


HB1 bill removes all requirements previously listed to receive a “voucher” to attend private (including religious_ schools. Those requirements used to include: income level not exceeding 375% of the poverty level, student who was previously in foster care, and/or dependent of a member of the US Armed Services or law enforcement.


The only requirement to receive state funding for a private education is that the student be a resident of the state. The state used to have a cap on how many of these free-tickets they gave out (18,000 per year). They raised the number to 26,500 (can increase by 40,000 in each subsequent year) and can provide up to $50,000 in private school funds from public tax dollars.


HB1 also provides state funds for parents to hire “choice navigators,” a scam of submits the applications and “consults” on potential schools. The language is a bit murky, but some of this funding could be available to people who home school.


HB379: Bans social media in schools and other government offices


HB913, HB1259 : Grants additional loans, public funds to privately-run schools


SB1320: Bans school staff from being required to use pronouns that "do not correspond with that person's sex at birth,; bans all sex ed until high school.


COVID-19/Medical Hysteria:


HB1013/1015 : Bans testing, masks, and vaccination requirements for COVID-19; requires hospitals to provide unproven and even dangerous "alternative" treatments if requested by patients; exempts DOH from public records requests.


HB1029: Provides immunity to long term care facilities/nursing homes from civil suits


HB1487: Bans officials and physicians from ordering quarantines, testing, etc during a public health emergency; requires two-thirds vote of entire legislature and removes local authority to issue closers; removes "vaccine" from list of treatments; allows the temporary reactivation of licenses that physicians that have expired or been suspended; bans the closure of certain entities entirely, like churches, schools (this one is really batshit).


SB252: Bans vaccine requirements


HB1387: Prohibits research on "enhanced potential pandemics," requires "fetal death records" to be filed like regular birth and death records.


SB222/HB305: Prohibits DOH from requiring enrollment in immunizations registries or tracking, even for childhood vaccines for schools (and this also applies to college students).


"The department may not include a person’s immunization records in any interstate or federal immunization tracking system or otherwise allow an entity not required by law to have such records."


Law enforcement and guns


HB1543: LOWERS the legal age to purchase a firearm from 21 back down to 18. It was raised to 21 after Parkland in 2018.


SB1442: Removes the right to a trial by jury if accused of terrorism.


HB1539: Designates filming police or being witness to law enforcement activity as "interrupting, disrupting, impeding, provoking and directly OR indirectly harassing" police as a criminal offense;


AND.. can't believe I'm writing this... if you are determined to have "provoked a physical response from the law enforcement officer" even with “indirect harassment” then YOU can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.


SB368: Revising the term "machine gun" to lift bans on specified semi and fully-automatic weapons


SB150 - Requires local sheriffs to provide security to private schools at tax-payer expense; reduced the number of hours of instruction on legal issues from 12 to 4 hours to get concealed carry permit, which is pretty useless when you look at the part they added later on the bill which states that a person who carries a concealed firearm without a license just has to "carry valid identification at all times when he or she is in actual possession of a concealed weapon or concealed firearm and must display such identification upon demand by a law enforcement officer."


SB1086/SB618: Protects cops and correctional officers from disciplinary action


Elections and local authority


SJR94: Makes school board races partisan


HJR405: Bans open primaries and nonpartisan elections


SB170: Allows damages and suspension of local ordinances that someone sues for being "arbitrary or unreasonable." This is the anti-home rule bill, designed to give the state power over local governments.



Public records exemptions


Public records exemptions this cycle are INSANE. I can't imagine many people are left after all the bills exempting so many groups of random people and their entire families:


  • SB152/HB7025: “School-safe” officers at a private schools

  • SB216/HB525: Current/former county and city attorneys

  • SB158/SB238/HB35: Department of Health

  • SB2560/HB313: All current/former servicemembers and their families

  • SB904/HB1243: Investigations into amusement parks

  • SB966: Public hospital operations, meetings

  • SB1088/CS/HB75: Judicial officers, assistants and their families

  • SB1462/HB497: Meetings of the Commission on Public Safety

  • HR1215: Inspectors or investigators of the Dept. of Agriculture

  • HB1569: Public records concerning meetings, investigations related to elder and vulnerable adult abuse and fatality

  • HR1549: All law enforcement records for cases that are classified as “active,” and a laundry list of items for once the case is no longer active, including computer forensic reports, information deemed proprietary to any party, personal information, and “information that would otherwise reveal weaknesses in the data security of a third party.”

  • HR1495: Records held by law enforcement about the transportation services commissioned for the Governor, his family, his staff, the Lieutenant Governor, a member of the Cabinet, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and any visitors to the state whom such services are requested by any of the aforementioned parties.


Other exemptions in the Florida Senate (most with matching House bills) include: SB500, SB404, SB492, SB502, SB518, SB552, SB786, SB842, SB946, SB1048, SB1166, SB1210, SB1392, SB1402, SB1414, SB1448, SB1552, SB1616, SB1648, SB7000.


Others in the Florida House include HB153, HB157, HB127, HB137, HB187, HB273, HB283, HB631, HB789, HB879, HB911, HB1127, HB1179, HB1277, HB1289, HB1327


And these also include exemptions for their families. So if your daddy/mommy is a judge or in the military, or any of those things above, you're exempt.


Miscellaneous


HB3: Allows the state to investigate, fine and sue any company that makes decisions with social, political or ideological interests in mind (the anti-Disney/woke bill).


SB944: Recognition of Taiwan as independent from China


HB1607: Bans removal of monuments and the placement of signs "on or adjacent to" monuments.



Special to Big Mouth Media from Miss Informational. Originally posted on March 8, 2023.

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