Preparing for the 2020 Legislative Session
On January 14th the 2020 Legislative Session will officially begin!
We wanted to make sure you’ve received our latest updates from Committee Meetings building up to the 2020 session, and that you get a glimpse of the bills we’ve filed and co-sponsored so far, too.
Click here to see our official Member Profile of the Florida House and scroll down to learn more about what’s ahead from your State House Representative.
Committee Weeks are what build us up towards the 2020 Legislative Session and took place during 2019. If you missed those weekly updates from us, they are linked below for your convenience.
BILLS WE’VE FILED
Below are details to each policy bill we have filed so far for the 2020 Legislative Session. Again, you can also click here to see all current policy bills we have filed and co-sponsored for the 2020 Legislative Session. This link will be updated throughout the legislative session, and includes our direct contact information as well. You will notice that we have already filed 12 policy bills and have co-sponsored more than 40 policy bills focused on affordable housing, environmental protection, public education, gun safety, health care access, animal rights, and more.
This link will also show you the 12 appropriation requests we have filed for local organizations and cities, including nonprofits likes IDEAS for Us, Primose Center, and Adult Literacy League; and cities like Winter Park and Edgewood.
HB97 & SB256: 100% Renewable Energy Goal for Florida by 2050
Floridians are already feeling the effects of a warmer world. From mosquitoes and hurricanes to harmful algal blooms and sea level rise — Florida has a lot to lose if climate change goes unchecked and one of the most important ways to curb the impact of climate change and to build a more resilient state is through transitioning to 100% renewable energy. Click here to learn more about our efforts to push Florida towards a clean energy economy.
HB45 & SB56: End Public Funding of Discrimination in Schools
This past summer the Orlando Sentinel uncovered that private schools who receive millions of public dollars via the voucher system have been discriminating against students who are LGBTQ and disabled, explicitly outlining such policies in their student handbooks and/or admission forms. This has resulted in a public outcry, and with corporations like Rosen Hotels and Resorts pulling their financial resources away from the voucher system. We firmly believe in the importance of public education and that no school should discriminate against students or faculty — especially when receiving public dollars. Click here to learn more about our legislation to prohibit any and all publiclly funded discrimination in our schools.
HR51 & SR214: Condemning White Supremacy & White Nationalism
In August we filed House Resolution 51 to reject and condemn white nationalism and white supremacy in the State of Florida. The proposal comes during what is a national growth of hate groups being reported in America, and directly followed the murder of 22 people in El Paso by a shooter who warned others of a “Hispanic invasion” in Texas. The resolution language mentions numerous recent acts of hateful violence, including towards African Americans and members of our Jewish community. Click here to read more about our resolution condemning white supremacy and white nationalism.
HB6013: Giving Local Control Back on Issues of Rent
Current Florida law allows local governments to consider rent control if housing emergency is “so grave as to constitute a serious menace to the general public and that such controls are necessary and proper to eliminate such grave housing emergency.” However, F.S. 125.0103 Section 3a states, “Any law, ordinance, rule, or other measure which has the effect of imposing controls on rents shall terminate and expire within 1 year and shall not be extended or renewed except by the adoption of a new measure meeting all the requirements of this section.”
HB6013 removes this section, giving local government more control and tools to combat Florida’s affordable housing crisis and evaluate their efforts. Click here to learn more about our work in supporting Florida’s renters.
HB6021: Repealing Unnecessary Corporate Tax Refunds
The state of Florida will be refunding $500 million to some of the state’s largest corporations, shocking the public and even surprising some lawmakers who led the effort. This refund was set to expire, but the legislature extended it last session via a bill that we debated and voted against last legislative session. These corporate tax refunds are set to continue, unless a repealer is passed, which is exactly what our bill would do.
HB6043: Repealing Preemption on Plastic Usage
Each year, an estimated 18 billion pounds of plastic waste enters the world’s ocean from coastal regions. In fact, between 60 to 90 percent of the litter that accumulates on shorelines, the surface, and the sea floor is made up of plastic. Removing the state’s preemption on banning single-use plastic and Polystyrene would allow for local control on plastic usage, and that’s exactly what our bill would do.
HB499 & SB718: Keeping Guns Out of the Hands of Domestic Abusers
This year we re-filed legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, saving countless women and family members from becoming potential victims. According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, the United States is the most dangerous country in the developed world for gun violence against women. Women in this country are 16 times more likely to be killed with a gun than women in other high-income countries.
Federal gun laws already protect women from domestic abusers by prohibiting gun possession for people convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” or subject to a final domestic violence restraining order. But dangerous gaps and weaknesses in the system remain at the state level. Our bill would close these gaps by requiring a person convicted of a misdemeanor offense of domestic violence to immediately surrender (upon conviction) all firearms and ammunition in his or her possession to law enforcement. It also gives more authority to law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from a home when reporting to a scene of domestic violence. Read more here.
HB6047: Repealing Anti-Abortion Laws
Every day, women across our country face the deeply personal decision of whether to continue their pregnancy. Every pregnancy and every woman’s circumstances are different. Instead of respecting a woman’s decision, anti-abortion opponents have resorted to inflammatory, shaming rhetoric, and extreme laws that punish women and criminalize providers. Florida has a long history of supporting such laws, and we are proud to pull back on past unconstitutional laws with the filing of HB6047, and to keep fighting for reproductive health, rights, and justice. Learn more here.
HB6053: Repealing Archaic Mandatory Minimums for Non-Violent Drug Offenses
In November we filed legislation to repeal mandatory minimum laws that impact non-violent drug offenders. Mandatory minimums don’t work to reduce crime rates and have instead created significant unintended consequences — they are used in situations far different than those anticipated by the law’s authors, they have sent thousands of low-level drug offenders to prison, and have created a “trial penalty” system where mandatory sentences imposed after a trial are significantly longer than what defendants receive from plea bargains.
We should let judges be judges, and repeal mandatory minimums — especially those for non-violent drug offenders. Click here to read more.
HB917: Interstate Compact to Phase Out Corporate Tax Giveaways
We also filed legislation for Florida to help create and join an Interstate Compact to Phase Out Corporate Tax Giveaways. Corporate giveaways are among the least effective uses of taxpayer dollars to create and maintain jobs. Unfortunately, lawmakers across the country face a prisoners’ dilemma — we feel forced to participate in corporate tax giveaways because nearly everyone else does, and the only way to end this race to the bottom is an interstate agreement that phases us all away from this ineffective and wasteful game. Read more about our bill and national efforts to do the same.
HB949 & SB578: Helping to End the School-To-Prison Pipeline
HB949 prohibits the arrest of children under the age of 12 and creates specific parameters for the arrests of minors between 12 to 17 years old. The bill also outlines unusual situations for arrest, like someone under 12 being accused of murder or sexual battery.
Passing this bill would allow Florida to join 23 other states that have similar laws already in place. This past September two six-year-olds were arrested at an Orlando charter school, elevating concerns of child incarceration and of the school-to-prison pipeline. Read more about our bill here, here, and here.
HB 6069 & SB 1528: Allowing Tenants a Fair Hearing in Eviction Court
Current Florida Law states tenants must provide a deposit of the amount their landlord claims is due into the court’s registry to move forward in an eviction case. If unable to pay the rent claimed due, tenants lose the eviction case by “default,” meaning an eviction judgment is entered against tenants quickly, without a hearing or opportunity to tell their side of the story. Tenants may file a “motion to determine rent” to overcome this barrier to a fair trial, however the success of his often depends on the judge, and continues to put tenants at an unfair disadvantage in court.
SB 1528/HB 6069 simply removes this section of state law, ensuring landlords and tenants have their day in court, and that justice is served equitably, regardless of financial status. Click here to read more.
WEEKLY SESSION UPDATES
That’s it for now but stay tuned for our weekly updates from Tallahassee once the 2020 Legislative Session starts. Thank you for trusting me to serve you in the Florida House!
Representative Anna V. Eskamani
PS, we’re walking in the MLK Day Parade next weekend and invite you to join us! You click here to RSVP.