AAUW Florida Legislative Report 2018

01/22/18

Florida AAUW Lobby Days are January 24-25. If you can’t be in Tallahassee at that time, you can support us by contacting your legislators and asking them to support these bills. If you see your legislator(s) among the sponsors, please thank them.

Notes: Legislators are designated with D for Democrat and R for Republican, and their district number. You will note that items 2, 4, and 5 have bipartisan support while 1 and 3 are supported so far by Democrats only. The numbers of districts start in the Panhandle and move south.

  1. The Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Protection Act

HB 393 and SB 594 amend and extend the Florida equal pay statute. This is “our bill”, having been filed in a revised version of last year’s bill by Reps Lori Berman (D 90, part of Palm Beach) and Janet Cruz (D 62, part of Hillsborough), and co-sponsored by Abruzzo (D 81), Davis (D 13), Geller D 100), Jenne (D 99), Mercado (D 48), and Smith (D 49). The Senate bill was filed by Linda Stewart (D 13, Orange). AAUW Public Policy emphasizes economic security for women.

  1. All employees covered (language excluding those covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act was stricken)
  2. Protections
    1. Employers can’t retaliate against individuals involved in legal proceedings to enforce the law
    2. Employer can’t retaliate against employees who discuss wages
    3. Employers can’t reduce another employee’s pay to comply
    4. Employers can’t request salary history
    5. Employers can’t provide less favorable career opportunities based on sex
  3. Employer defenses clarified
    1. Defenses must be job-related
    2. Agreement for a lesser wage is not a defense

We aim to do all we can to see that this bill is at least heard in committee. It is now “in” the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee. We could really use some Republican co-sponsors!

AAUW Priority: to achieve economic self-sufficiency for all women.

  1. Victims of Human Trafficking and Trust Funds

HB 167, linked with HB 169.  Ross Spano (R 59, part of Hillsborough) is the sponsor of both with co-sponsors Burgess (R 38); Cortes, J. (D 43); Drake (R 5); Edwards (D 98); Fitzenhagen (R 78); Killebrew (R 41); Leek (R 25); Pigman (R 55); Stone (R 22); Williams (D 92); and Yarborough (R 12).

Senate bills include SB 338, 340, 1044, and 1046. The Senate bills are by Randolph Bracy (D 11, part of Orange) and Lauren Book (D 32), part of Broward.

These bills aim to reduce human trafficking by providing a civil cause of action for victims of human trafficking against a trafficker or facilitator; providing procedures and requirements for bringing a claim, and creating the Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking and Prevention within the Department of Law Enforcement. The Trust Fund can also be used for public education, resource centers, and legal aid for victims. Also included in the group are bills to require hotels and restaurants to provide training in recognizing trafficking victims (SB 338). SB 340 provides for redaction and sealing of personal identifying information of victims of human trafficking upon request

The House bills have been reported favorably by the Civil Justice and Claims Subcommittee and by the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee. They are now in the Judiciary Committee, the last on the list. Senate bills 1044 and 1046 have been referred to two committees. Another series of Senate bills is linked to SB 338 are only referred so far.

AAUW Priority: to guarantee equality, individual rights, and social justice for a diverse society.

  1. Access to Clinics

HB 189, SB 320, sponsored by Amy Mercado (D 48, part of Orange), with co-sponsors Diamond (D 68) and Smith (D 49); Senate bill sponsored by Linda Stewart (D 13).

They would prohibit a person from committing certain acts against reproductive health services clients, providers, and assistants. Those acts include intimidation or physical harm or the threat of force, providing some protection to women entering abortion clinics and those working there. Criminal penalties and cause of civil action are provided.

Neither of these bills has yet been heard in committee. The first House committee is Civil Justice and Claims.

AAUW Priority: to guarantee equality, individual rights, and social justice for a diverse society.

  1. Sexual Harassment

HB 1233, sponsored by Kristin Jacobs (D, part of Broward) and SB 1628, sponsored by Lauren Book (D, part of Broward) and Lizbeth Benacquisto (R, part of Lee)

Creates a Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct that would meet at four year intervals to study the problem and recommend best practices. It provides a new definition of sexual harassment. also prohibits public officers, qualified candidates, agency employees, & lobbyists from sexually harassing individuals; provides penalties for lobbyists who violate prohibition against sexual harassment; requires Commission on Ethics to report to Governor & Cabinet, or Legislature upon violations of act.

The House bill is in the Oversight, Transparency and Administration subcommittee.

AAUW Priority: to guarantee equality, individual rights, and social justice for a diverse society.

  1. Prescription Contraceptive Coverage

HB 1273, sponsored by Holly Raschein (D, Monroe) and SB 1718, sponsored by Lauren Book (D, part of Broward)

Requires health insurance policies & health maintenance contracts to provide coverage for certain contraceptive drugs, devices, products, & procedures without imposing cost-sharing requirements. Religious employers are exempt but must provide notice to employees and prospective employees.

In the House it is listed as in the Health Innovation Subcommittee.

AAUW Priority: to guarantee equality, individual rights, and social justice for a diverse society

  1. Prohibited Discrimination

HB 347 and SB 66 (latter is similar)

Ben Diamond (D 68, part of Pinellas) and René Plascencia (R 50, Brevard/Pinellas) are the main sponsors of HB 347, with co-sponsors Abruzzo (D 81); Alexander (D 8); Antone (D 46); Asencio (D 118); Berman (D 90); Cortes, J. (D 43); Cruz (D 62); Davis (D 13); DuBose (D 94); Duran (D 112); Edwards (D 98); Fitzenhagen (R 78); Geller (D 100); Gruters (R 73); Hardemon (D 108); Jacobs (D 96); Jacquet (D 88); Jenne (D 99); Jones (D 101); Killebrew (R 41); Latvala (R 67); Mariano (R 36); Massullo (R 34); Mercado (D 48); Moskowitz (D 97); Newton (D 70); Peters (R 69); Raschein (R 120); Richardson (D 113); Santiago (R 27); Shaw (D 61); Slosberg (D 91); Smith (D 49); Stark (D 104); and Willhite (D 86).

SB 66 is co-sponsored by Darryl Rouson (D, parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties); Thurston (D 33); Stewart (D 13); Bracy (D 11); Book (D 32); Rodriguez (D 37); Young (R 18); Taddeo (D 40); Farmer (D 34); Braynon (D 15); Torres (D 15); Garcia (R 36); Powell (D 30); and Montford (D 3).

This bill adds “sexual orientation and gender identity” as impermissible grounds for discrimination in public lodging establishments and public food service establishments. This language is added to several existing civil rights statutes. Religious corporations, organizations or societies are granted exceptions.

The House bill is now in the Careers & Competition Subcommittee.

AAUW Priority: to guarantee equality, individual rights, and social justice for a diverse society.

We have no bills to oppose at this time. SB 274, Concealed Weapons, is dead. Pregnancy Support Services has cleared all committees in the Senate (SB 444) but has not gone to the floor as yet. HB 41 has been passed by the House.

Author: Pat DeWitt

I am a retired institutional researcher, a musician and musicologist, and support AAUW as well as several environmental causes.

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