The 2017 Florida Legislative Regular Session officially convened on March 7, 2017, and adjourned sine die on May 8, 2017, with a special session adjourning on June 9, 2017. Over 3000 bills were filed this legislative session, with just under 250 bills passing. We encountered numerous bills threatening civil rights and liberties and the ACLU of Florida worked tirelessly to defeat the most significant threats to our civil liberties.
Despite the many bills filed that would have set back the clock on civil rights, we are very pleased that the 2017 Florida Legislative Session concluded with notable successes for the ACLU’s legislative priorities of protecting and defending civil rights and liberties. It is no surprise that civil liberties issues often do not enjoy strong support by many of Florida’s legislators and political leaders. Compounding this problem is the fact that the national political climate is not in our favor in terms of advancing civil liberties. Despite these odds, we were able to make significant progress toward our criminal justice reform priorities and lay the groundwork for greater successes in future legislative sessions. Equally important, we were able to fend off and defeat numerous bills that threatened Floridian’s civil liberties and rights.