Your Weekly Update of Florida’s Legislative Session: Week 7
Welcome to your weekly Legislative Session Update! It was another busy week in Tallahassee, and in the district too. In fact, we spent Passover and Easter in House District 47, and I was thrilled to join Rollins College for Passover and Audubon Park for an Easter Egg Hunt!
We love our sweet community, and I am honored to be your voice in the Florida House.
Now, onto updates→
Articles Worth Reading
I wanted to make sure you saw two articles that we shared via social media this past week.
The first one comes to us from the Tampa Bay Times, and is focused on House Bill 797, legislation that seems like a good idea at first glance, but when you dig deeper could lead to an increased cost for rate-payers via investor-owned utility companies (like Florida Power Light, Duke, etc). We find it ironic how anti-tax we are as a legislature but then we are totally fine with hiking rates where investor-owned utility companies benefit. Read more here.
The second article comes from Politico, and offers perspective into the fights happening between different voucher programs. As you can see from my tweet below, my objective is no new voucher programs — period.
Honoring Captain A.J. Isaacs & Our Firefighters
Captain A.J. Isaacs was an incredible community member, husband, father, and leader within the Winter Park Fire Department who passed away suddenly this year. Our office has issued a tribute in his honor, and we are committed to honoring this life through the act of empowering others.
We were absolutely thrilled to *finally* see legislation that would grant our firefighters presumptive cancer coverage. A majority of states cover firefighters for one or more cancers under workers’ compensation because of presumptive legislation. Hopefully this will be the year where Florida does the same.
Talking About Taxes, All Day Everyday
On Monday we joined community advocates and Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez to unpack Florida’s regressive tax system, and offer a vision for the future that supports families and holds large corporations accountable. As I shared with reporters: “Yes, we want to be a low tax state — that’s why people come to Florida — but we shouldn’t be a low benefits state, either.”
You can also watch our last Ways & Means Committee meeting of the 2019 Legislative Session at this link. Here I called out large corporations who (thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, also known as Trump’s Tax Plan) are paying substantially less in federal corporate income tax, but for whatever illegimitate reason want to pay even less on Florida’s corporate income tax too. Sounds sketch to me.
Republicans Adopting Our Amendments
As you already know, I have offered several amendments to improve bills, both on the House Floor and in Committee. Each one of my amendments have failed, but last week I was happy to see two of our amendments proposed by Republican sponsors, and added to their bills!
Protecting Access to a Safe & Legal Abortion
Last week House Bill 1335, legislation that would require teens to obtain parental consent prior to receiving an abortion, passed the Florida House on a mostly party line vote. Most teens already seek the counsel of their parent or guardian when it comes to a decision like this and if they don’t, there’s usually a good reason. That’s why leading health and medical professionals oppose these laws.
I offered an amendment to this bill that would ensure our young people would — at the very least — have clear guidance on what a judicial bypass is, in case they needed it. I was proud to offer this amendment, debate this bill, and center the conversation on our young people.
Other Important Bills on the House Floor
We heard and debated over eighty bills on the House Floor last week, including legislation that would provide unemployment benefits to survivors of domestic violence, along with a bill that would implement an optional state-wide needle exchange program.
Advocating for Home Rule
I am a passionate advocate for Home Rule, and remain committed to the importance of citizen engagement with our most local forms of government. That’s why I vote “no” on state preemptive bills, and do my part to work alongside our cities and counties — versus against. Last week we spoke at a press conference hosted by the American Heart Association and others with a focus on local community control.
Important Bills On The House Floor This Week
We have some serious bills coming to the House Floor this week — including the implementing bill for Amendment 4, an anti-immigrant family separation bill, an effort to make it more difficult to facilitate and pass citizen-led ballot amendments, alongside a preemptive bill that takes away local control on affordable housing development requirements.
I’ll be prepping for each one — and then some.
Attending Events in Central Florida
We are proud to say that while Alex and I are in Tallahassee, our team in Orlando continues to stay engaged with local events. This past week we attended In Pursuit of Puerto Rican Studies, a research summit at UCF, participated in a workshop focused on ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences), and joined advocates at a town hall hosted by the Agency For Health Care Administration (AHCA) focused on behavioral analysis services.
Can’t stop, won’t stop.
Hosting First Ever Hoops Day
This Tuesday on April 23rd we are hosting #HoopsDay and encourage you to join us!
Hoops Day was inspired by one of our interns who shared with us that she was told during a legislative intern orientation that hoop earrings were not professional. We disagree with that assessment. Hoop earrings have been around since 2500 BC and exist across many minority groups as symbols of resistance, strength and identity. On #HoopsDay (those that are able!) will wear hoop earrings as a symbol of those values.
Sitting Down With StoryCorps
I am a huge fan of StoryCorps, and this past January our local NPR Station brought StoryCorps to Orlando. My twin sister and I recorded our story together, and you can listen to our whole 40 minute interview at this link.
Representative Anna V. Eskamani
PS: We also launched a #MenstruationStation this week! Click on the video below to learn more!