Our First Full Week in Tallahassee
We just got back to Orlando after spending our first full week in Tallahassee. From Monday to Friday, we met with more than 30 individuals and organizations, hosted our first press conference in the Capitol, attended committee meetings, and sponsored our first bills.
Here are highlights from our first full week in the Florida House→
Co-Sponsored Statewide Needle Exchange Program
On Monday we became co-sponsors of House Bill 171, The Infectious Disease Elimination Act (IDEA). This bill would allow hospitals, medical schools, substance abuse treatment centers and nonprofits to operate needle exchange programs. It would also allow needle exchanges to distribute naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug. Counties and cities are allowed to ban needle exchange programs under the proposed bill. Read more about HB171 here.
Telling Our Story, Loudly and Proudly
After a full day of meetings on Monday, we took time to tell our story to the Capitol Press Corps, and share our perspectives for what to expect during the 2019 legislative session.
Dignity Florida Coalition and Co-Sponsoring House Bill 49
Early Tuesday morning we met with members of the Dignity Florida Coalition. This group is advocating for the passage of House Bill 49, also known as the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act. It would require jails, prisons, juvenile detention center or other correctional facilities to make available “health care products” to incarcerated women and girls at no extra cost and without medical referral. The term “health care products” includes menstrual hygiene products, moisturizing soap that is not lye-based, toothbrushes and toothpaste. We are proud to be co-sponsoring this legislation. Read more about HB49 here.
Marked the Implementation of Amendment 4
Florida voters made history last November in their overwhelming support of Amendment 4 and this week we made history again as returning citizens registered to vote. This self-executing Amendment is a powerful testament to our Democracy, and we could not be more proud to have supported Amendment 4 from the very beginning. Click here to read more about Amendment 4.
Sponsored the Repeal of DOMA
Florida’s discriminatory “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) was passed in 1997 and has since been ruled unconstitutional by both Florida courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. I was proud to sponsor the repeal of DOMA this week via House Bill 6009 titled Marriage Equality, and set the stage for an equality agenda during the 2019 legislative session. Click here to watch our press conference. We are also urging Governor Ron DeSantis to include protections for state LGBTQ workers/contractors via a new Executive Order.
Attended Our First Committee Meetings
I have been watching the Florida Channel for years, but never once thought I would be the one with the camera focused on! It is a honor to serve on Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, Oversight, Transparency & Public Management Subcommittee, PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee, and Ways & Means Committee. You can watch all committee meetings at The Florida Channel here.
Ignited Conversation on Remote Commerce in Ways & Means
During our Ways & Means Committee, I brought up the need to start collecting online sales tax. The point was well-taken, and as we heard presentations from tax experts, myself and other legislative colleagues discussed the potential of engaging in remote commerce for tax collection. Click here to learn more about our discussion.
Standing for Full Access to Reproductive Health
Yesterday a dangerous anti-reproductive health care bill was sponsored in the Florida House. We responded with the statement above, and you can read more here. Always count on us to lead the fight on an array of issues, including reproductive health, gun safety, public education, and environmental protection.
Anna V. Eskamani