Legislative Update: Week of April 13th

Provided by Moné Holder, The New Florida Majority’s Legislative & Policy Director

Ethics and Elections

The Senate Ethics and Elections committee met on Tuesday, April 7th and temporarily postponed the only bill on its agenda SB 840 by Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-Broward).  The bill would remove the requirement that a write-in candidate must reside within the district of the office sought at the time of qualification.

The Senate Ethics and Elections committee will meet on Wednesday, April 15th at 1:30 pm.  On agenda is SB 1360 by Senator Tom Lee (R-Hillsborough)

Online Voter Registration

On Wednesday, April 8th there was finally movement for Online Voter Registration in the House.  The House State Affairs committee passed PCB SAC 15-03 with support from Supervisors of Elections and despite opposition from Secretary of State Ken Detzner and a ‘no” vote from Representative Matt Gaetz. The bill has now been filed as HB 7143 and has been referred to the House floor.

Also, on Wednesday; SB 7064 passed unanimously out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development.  It is now in its last committee of reference which is Appropriations. It has not been placed on the committee calendar yet.

Criminal Justice

SB 248 by Senator Chris Smith (D-Ft. Lauderdale) which addresses the public record exemptions for police body camera recordings has been placed on the special order calendar for Tuesday, April 14th when the Senate convenes at 10 am.

Fundamental Right to Vote

SB 1442 by Senator Oscar Braynon II (D-parts of Miami-Dade and Broward) and HB 1139 by Representative Cynthia Stafford (D-Opa Locka) is legislation that outlines that voting is a fundamental right that should be enshrined into state law. This would require strict scrutiny, the highest standard of judicial review, to apply to voting in Florida – and protect citizens against partisan efforts to make voting harder.

New Florida Majority is urging Senate Ethics & Elections Committee Chairman Senator Garret Richter (R-Naples) and House Government Operations subcommittee Chairman  Representative Michael Bileca (R-Miami) to take up and discuss the bill in their respective committee. The call follows up a recent press conference where community groups and legislators called on the legislature to pass these measures. That press conference was covered by a number of media outlets, including WFSUV.

Currently, SB 1442 has been referenced to the Ethics and Elections, Judiciary and Rules committees.  HB 1139 has been referenced to Government Operations Subcommittee, Civil Justice Subcommittee, and State Affairs Committee.

The full bill language can be found here: House | Senate