Legislative Update: Week of March 23th

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

Ethics and Elections

The Senate Ethics and Elections committee met last week on Tuesday, March 17h and unanimously passed SB 386 by Senator Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville)which allows a voter a to submit an in-state change of residence electronically.

The committee also passed SB 228 sponsored by Senator Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) which sets up a state online voter registration system that will be implemented in 2017. With a vote of 7 yeas 2 nays, the bill lacked support from Senator Anitere Flores (R-Miami) and Senator Joe Negron (R-Palm City).

SB 228 has moved to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development. That committee is scheduled to meet on April 2nd, there is not an agenda available yet.

The comparable House version of Online Voter Registration (HB 1161) filed by Representative Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) has not been scheduled for a hearing in its first committee of reference- Government Operations Subcommittee.

The Senate Ethics and Elections committee is set to meet again on Tuesday, March 24th at 4 pm.  On the agenda is SB 984 filed by Senator Oscar Braynon (D-Miami Gardens) which relates to legislative lobbying requirements.  SB 1372 by Senator Don Gaetz, relating to Government Accountability and a proposed committee bill; SB 7064 which revises acceptable voter identification,  changes the timeline in which voters provide an updated signature to the supervisor of elections as well as other election administration topics.

Fundamental Right to Vote

New Florida Majority has worked with Senator Oscar Braynon II (D-Miami Gardens) and Representative Cynthia Stafford (D-Opa Locka) to file SB 1442/HB 1139. The identical legislation 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.

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