Public Policy News

Activity in the Florida Legislature as of October 18

With the change in the Florida legislative schedule, it is time for us to start watching the bills that are being filed in both the Florida Senate and the House. As of October 6 there were 148 bills filed in the Senate and 334 in the House.

 

A few that have been filed that your legislative committee will be watching are:

  • SB 242 and HB 57, Racial and Sexual Discrimination:  While there are some subtle differences in these bills, for the most part they require agency heads to take certain measures to prevent the use of training for agency employees that espouses certain concepts; authorize municipalities to provide certain training, workshops, or programming; prohibit municipalities from providing mandatory employee training that espouses certain concepts; require contracts with an agency that are entered into or renewed on or after a specified date to include the option to terminate if the contractor provides workforce training that espouses certain concepts; require public K-20 educational institutions to ensure certain diversity and inclusion efforts and to prohibit certain discrimination, etc.

 

  • For now there has not been a comparative bill filed in the Senate to HB 167, which while being titled Abortion, requires physicians to conduct test for, and inform woman seeking abortion of, the presence of detectable fetal heartbeat; prohibits physicians from performing or inducing abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected or if a physician fails to conduct a test to detect fetal heartbeat; provides exceptions; authorizes private civil cause of action for certain violations; and provides for civil remedies and damages.

 

  • HB 388, Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, will create an office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within the Executive Office of the Governor.

 

  • HB 6003, Legal Rights of the Natural Environment, removes provisions prohibiting local governments from granting certain legal rights to natural environment.

 

Committee Days are already underway in Tallahassee.  There are four remaining committee weeks prior to session and they are:

  • The week of October 18
  • The week of November 1
  • The week of November 15 and
  • The week of November 29.

Session runs from January 11 through March 11, 2022.

 

Today, September 28, is National Voter Registration Day.

 

U.S. Census data from 2020 shows that as many as 1 in 4 eligible Americans are not registered to vote. But this year for National Voter Registration Day, we must do more than just register voters—we must ensure everyone is able to access this basic right.

 

The freedom to vote is not a political issue—it is a Constitutional right.

 

Americans of all races, backgrounds, genders and zip codes have the same right to vote. Here’s how you can help:

  • Check that you are registered to vote;
  • If people you know need to register or update their registration due to a move, point them toward Vote411.org;
  • Join organizations that are registering members of your community; and
  • Search #NationalVoterRegistrationDay on social media for informative, shareable content.

 

Voter registration is the key to ensuring that all Americans can make their voice heard in the 2021 elections and 2022 midterms. Now is the time to help voters get ready to cast their ballots. Take a stand to protect all voters from discrimination at the ballot box. Our democracy works when everyone can fully participate.

In accordance with its member-approved public policy platform, BPW/FL issued the following statement on September 23, 2021.

For Immediate Release:  September 23, 2021

For more information:
Sheri McCandless, BPW/FL President, sheri.m@comcast.net
Debbe Ryan, BPW/FL PR Chair, deborahryan52fl@gmail.com
Kristin Smith, BPW/FL Public Policy Chair, kristin.smith@raymondjames.com

 

BPW/FL ISSUES STATEMENT REGARDING
ANTI-CHOICE LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN FLORIDA

 

The Florida Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. (BPW/FL), a non-partisan organization dedicated to being the leading advocate for working women, wishes to state their strong opposition to HB167, which was just introduced in the Florida legislature.  BPW/FL has a long history of supporting working women’s rights, particularly in areas that affect women’s economic equity and health care.  The 4th item of our Public Policy Platform states, in part: “BPW/FL supports legislation that ensures reproductive choice, and full access to all health education and services.”

 

Women have been guaranteed the right to reproductive choice since 1973, and the upholding of this right by the Supreme Court in Roe vs Wade continues to be the law of the land today.  BPW/FL feels that the bill just introduced in our state, designed to mirror the disastrous law that Texas recently enacted, will cause irreparable harm to the working women of Florida if allowed to become law in our state.  HB167 would introduce the same dangerous system of vigilante lawsuits that the Texas anti-choice law has inspired and would remove the ability of working women to make their own private decisions regarding their bodies and their health care needs.  The proposed bill effectively bans all abortions once a pregnancy has reached its 6th week, which is long before the majority of women are even certain that they are pregnant.

 

Lack of choice is particularly hard on poorer working women, so this law is also an attack on women’s economic self-sufficiency, which is Item 2 of our Public Policy Platform.  The lack of the right to reproductive choice and accessible, affordable health care affects all women, including working women who in Florida do not typically have paid maternity leave.

 

America was founded on the principal of equality for all and derives its strength from individuals working together for a common good.  BPW/FL believes in working toward this common good and strongly encourages corporations and businesses in Florida to advocate against this anti-choice legislation.

 

 

About BPW:

Founded in 1919, BPW has a long track record of promoting equity for women in the workplace. BPW provides leadership through advocacy, education, and information within our communities, states, and the nation on issues important to women, including the elimination of gender discrimination, the right to equal pay, and ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.  Our mission is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education, and information.