The 2013 Florida Legislature officially ended on May 3 after meeting for 60 days. While the emphasis this year centered on ethics and education, there were several bills which held a direct interest to CWA of Florida. The targeted issues of Concerned Women for America include sanctity of human life, family, education, pornography, religious liberty, and national sovereignty. A number of bills dealt with one or more of these issues.
INFANTS BORN ALIVE
CS/HB 1129 Summary: This bill provides protection for an infant born alive during an attempted abortion.
Legislative Action: On April 17, the House voted 119-0 to pass, and on April 30, the Senate voted 38-0 to pass. If signed by the Governor, these provisions will take effect July 1, 2013.
PROHIBITION OF ELECTRONIC GAMBLING DEVICES
CS/HB 155 Summary: This bill closes perceived loopholes in Chapter 849 of the Florida statutes. It updates the definition of slot machines and says that a device is a prohibited slot machine if it simulates a game of chance and requires “pay to play” and awards something of value. It also broadens the definition of “racketeering activity” in Florida’s criminal RICO statute.
Legislative Action: The Senate voted 36-4 to pass, and the House voted 108-7 to pass. On April 10, it was signed by the Governor.
PUBLIC RECORDS/VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING
CS/HB 1327 Summary: This bill creates a public record exemption for a victim of human trafficking.
Legislative Action: The House voted 116-0 to pass, and the Senate voted 36-0 to pass. If signed by the Governor, it takes effect January 1, 2014.
VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING
HB 1325 Summary: This bill authorizes a victim of human trafficking to petition the court for the expunction of a conviction for any criminal offense committed while he or she was a victim of human trafficking. It also allows said victim to lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the expunged record.
Legislative Action: The Senate voted 37-0 to pass, and the House voted 116-0 to pass. If signed by the Governor, this bill takes effect January 1, 2014.
OFFENSES AGAINST UNBORN CHILDREN
HB 759 Summary: This bill creates a “Florida Unborn Victims of Violence Act”.
A person who engages in a criminal offense that causes the death of or injury to an unborn child commits a separate offense. Basically, current Florida law allows this application for an “unborn quick child” which is defined as a “fetus that is capable of meaningful life outside the womb”. This term is equivalent to the federal term “viable fetus”. In essence, this bill would change the terminology of current law to read “unborn child” in place of “unborn quick child”.
Legislative Action: On April 18, it passed the House 74-43. It was received in the Senate on the 23 and referred to four different committees. On May 3, this bill died in committee. While this didn’t make it all the way through the legislative process, we pray to see it again next year. Please thank Rep. Ahern for introducing this bill as well as the co-sponsors: Reps. Baxley, Eagle, Fasano, Renuart, Rodrigues, and Van Zant.
As we have seen during this legislative session, on-the-ground effort and action along with grassroots prayer get results. Without calls and e-mails from CWA members and friends, the successes we had would have been very difficult to achieve. Thank you for participating in the legislative process with Concerned Women for America of Florida.
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