The 2018 Session will begin on January 9, 2018 (this is two months earlier than it began in 2017), and Committee weeks will begin in the fall, thus we are on a much more expedited timeframe this year than in the past.
Over the next several months, the ACLU of Florida, along with our aligned partners in the Campaign for Criminal Justice Reform, will continue to build on the progress made during the 2017 Session by meeting with target legislators and advocating across the state in advance of our criminal justice reform efforts. We will continue to build legislative bipartisan support for reform and educate and empower constituents to make their voices heard.
We are encouraged with the progress we made and the groundwork that has been laid in our 2017 efforts to reform Florida’s criminal justice system and end mass incarceration, but we know that there is still much work that needs to be done.
In addition, we will continue working with aligned partners to prepare for future legislative attacks on immigrants’ rights and reproductive freedom. We anticipate that many of the bills that were tried and failed this past session will again rear their ugly heads in some revised form next session. We are also working with other state ACLU affiliates in order to anticipate and prepare for bills that were filed in other states that threaten civil rights and liberties (e.g., transgender discrimination bathroom bills) that may be introduced here in Florida in 2018.
Given the current political climate, it is an uphill battle in terms of passing any significant proactive civil rights legislation. That said, we were greatly encouraged by the number of cosponsors of the Competitive Workforce Act this past session (70 in all), and we will continue our advocacy and education efforts to gain increased bipartisan support to ensure that no one is discriminated against because of who they are and who they love.
We are so grateful for all you do to support civil rights and liberties for all Floridians – we could not do this work without you.