Six weeks down, three to go.
Our sixth week with the Florida’s legislature might have been its worst yet. The first major bill that would impact the civil rights and liberties of Floridians went to the House floor. And on a party line vote, the House passed HB 7111.
If made law, this bill will allow state funded adoption agencies to refuse to place children in otherwise loving and qualified homes if doing so would violate the agencies’ religious or moral beliefs. Gay? Divorced? In an interfaith relationship? If you’re looking to adopt in Florida, the agencies that have been entrusted to find our most vulnerable kids permanent homes may be able to turn you away. The good news is that the bill hasn’t been introduced independently in the Senate and an attempt to attach it to another bill failed, but the fight isn’t over, as the House bill could be brought up any moment. We need to remain vigilant: contact your Senator and tell him or her to oppose this hurtful bill. If you need some inspiration, read this story from 16-year-old Anthony of Clearwater to see how this bill could have denied him – and many children like him – the chance at his perfect family.
This week, several bills will hit the Senate floor. We are opposing SB 604, a bill that is supposedly about “consumer protection.” It requires any website that posts a substantial amount of audio or visual content – or even just links to it – to also post their true name, address and contact information like a phone number or email address. This patently violates the First Amendment’s protection for anonymous speech, which our courts have long recognized as a cornerstone to public debate, dissent and advocacy. This bill is a thinly veiled attempt by big corporations to get the information necessary to bully people who post music or video, and access their personal information that is rightfully protected by federal laws.
We also expect a vote on the police worn body camera bill, SB 248, which still creates broad public record exemptions for video captured by police. This vote could come as early as Tuesday.
The House’s floor schedule has not been posted yet, but we’re keeping an eye out for HB 633, the 24- hour mandatory delay on abortions. That bill has passed through all its committees and is ready for floor action.