Sixty Days for 2.10.22 — A prime-time look at the 2022 Legislative Session

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Notes and highlights from today in Tallahassee.

Sixty Days — A prime-time look at the 2021 Legislative Session:

The Last 24

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday denied Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request for an advisory opinion on whether a proposed constitutional map should preserve Florida’s 5th Congressional District, a minority access district that runs from Tallahassee to Jacksonville. Justices concurred that the Governor’s request, which signaled skepticism about the need for the seat, wasn’t narrow enough. “The scope of the Governor’s request is broad and contains multiple questions that implicate complex federal and state constitutional matters and precedents interpreting the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” the decision reads. All draft proposals produced by the Legislature have included some form of CD 5, treating it as a minority access seat, but a map submitted by DeSantis’ office includes no similar district. Here’s your nightly rundown.

Left in the dark. A day after the Senate advanced a major water policy measure (SB 2508), DeSantis bashed the bill and the process behind it.

No approval necessary. A bill (SB 1658) that would allow the Governor to appoint the Department of Environmental Protection Secretary without Cabinet approval cleared the full Senate.

Rainy day fund. The House voted to set aside $500 million for a fund that the Governor can use during states of emergency, sending the bill (SB 96) to DeSantis’ desk.

Rammed through. The 15-week abortion ban (HB 5) is ready for the House floor despite ongoing efforts by Democratic lawmakers and activists to derail it.

Eight is enough? The House voted along party lines in favor of a bill (HB 1467) to impose term limits on all school boards in the state.

Career change. The House unanimously approved legislation (HB 7001/HB 7003) upping lobbying restrictions for former public officials, including judges.

Here to stay. Health care providers will continue to enjoy protection from COVID-19 liability lawsuits after the House approved the Senate bill (SB 7014), sending it to the Governor.

Don’t dilly dally. Senators are prepared to vote on a bill (SB 736) that would set a seven-year limit for homeowners to sue over construction defects.

Middle ground. The Senate Health Policy Committee approved a “compromise” bill (SB 804) between trial attorneys and the nursing home industry that lowers required nursing hours for long-term care residents.

‘Free the grapes.’ The House raised a glass in favor of a bill (HB 6031) that would remove size limits on wine bottles in Florida.

Incognito mode. Bills (SB 1864/HB 9) boosting consumer data privacy is moving again in the Legislature as lawmakers and businesses look to settle the differences that torpedoed the bill last year.

[REDACTED]. A bill (SB 1614) that would keep people’s personal information out of the public eye following a car crash passed its second committee.

Tax break. A proposed constitutional amendment (SJR 1746) that would provide an additional $50,000 property tax exemption to teachers, police, firefighters and other first responders took another step forward in the Senate.

Keep it secret. The Senate passed a measure (SB 520) that would provide a public records exemption for information about applicants seeking a state higher ed presidential position.

Safe bet. A proposal (SB 170) to grant 90 days of anonymity to lottery winners of $250,000 or more unanimously cleared its final Senate panel.

Good dog. A bill (SB 614) that would block local governments from discriminating against pit bulls and other powerful dogs got through the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Let them vote. The House approved a local bill (HB 497) that would have Lee County voters choose whether to start electing a school Superintendent.

Quote of the Day

“No Senator has to check in with a state agency before filing a bill. I report to the people of Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties, not appointed bureaucrats.”

— Senate President Wilton Simpson, responding to DeSantis’ claim his administration was not consulted about a water policy bill.

Bill Day’s Latest

3 Questions

SB 1834, legislation that would more closely regulate LGBTQ instruction in the classroom and conversations with younger students, passed its first committee earlier this week.

The bill has received staunch opposition from Democratic lawmakers and LGBTQ advocacy groups. President Joe Biden even offered his condemnation.

Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones, the first openly gay state senator in Florida’s history, opposes the bill. Florida Politics spoke with him about the bill and how he thinks it should be fought.

Q: How is this bill harmful to LGBTQ children and their families?

Jones: One in four LGBTQ young people commit suicide, not because of their sexual orientation, but because of how they treated. I agree with Chasten Buttigieg when he said that this bill is going to kill people, because now this is going to put further in the closet young people who don’t have a parent to speak with about their life or their lifestyle. And they depend on someone outside of the parent to be able to share that with, like a teacher. Sometimes children have more respect for their teacher than they have for their parents. And now this is going to put teachers in a position where they don’t know if they’re going to be able to have those conversations, because now teachers are going to be scared of whether or not they can have that conversation with a student.

Q: How likely do you think the legislation is to pass? Are there any potential legal challenges it may face if it does?

Jones: Yes, I believe we are going to see legal challenges. The likelihood of it passing is up in the air only because there are some problems with the bill in its current form. That has also been expressed by Republicans. The cause of action where parents will be able to sue based on whether or not their child is uncomfortable, that was actually one of the main problems that many of the Republican members had with the bill.

Q: President Joe Biden has publicly spoken out against the legislation and said his administration would continue to fight for the protection and safety the LGTBQ community deserves. Do you think the federal government should step in and do something about this issue if the bill is passed?

Jones: Yeah, absolutely. I think that this is a human rights issue. The federal government, as the overseer of human rights, and especially with this current White House that sees what is happening across the country when it comes to this type of legislation. This gives the President and his administration the ability to stand firm, and not just building back better, but making America love again and respect each other again. No matter what your sexual orientation, or your gender identity is. The President had all rights to step in.

Lobby Up

Ticket sellers would be required to offer transferable tickets to concerts, festivals and sports games if bills moving through the Legislature become law.

SB 1316 and HB 969 would not ban the sale of non-transferable tickets. Instead, it would require platforms to provide consumers with the option of purchasing a ticket “with no limit on transferability” — meaning it can be given from one person to another or even sold on a third-party platform.

The proposal is aimed at loosening Ticketmaster’s grip on the market. The company, a subsidiary of Live Nation Entertainment, owns an estimated 80% of all tickets sold in the U.S. There’s such a thing as being too successful, and Ticketmaster has been accused of crossing into monopoly territory since the grunge era.

Other ticket platforms would benefit if lawmakers OK’d the proposal, but it’s unclear if anyone else would — if deep-pocketed resellers are able to buy up tickets en masse, consumers may end up paying more.

Resellers have been pushing back against that narrative, noting that Ticketmaster has its own resale platform and, under current law, is allowed to confine the tickets it sells to a walled garden.

When the Senate bill was heard in committee this week, lobbyists representing both sides of the issue were in the front row.

Live Nation Entertainment is represented by Michael Corcoran, Matt Blair and Will Rodriguez of Corcoran Partners and Jeff Johnston, Amanda Stewart and Anita Berry of Johnston & Stewart Government Strategies.

On the reseller side: SeatGeek and TickPick are represented by Dean Cannon, Laura Lenhart and Kirk Pepper of GrayRobinson; StubHub is represented by Warren Husband, Jim Daughton, Douglas Bell, Leslie Dughi, Allison Liby-Schoonover, Aimee Lyon, Andy Palmer and Karl Rasmussen of Metz Husband & Daughton; and Vivid Seats is represented by Jonathan Kilman and Paul Lowell of Converge Government Affairs.

Breakthrough Insights

The Next 24

— The Acquisition and Restoration Council will consider issues related to state lands when it meets at 9 a.m. in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Marjory Stoneman Douglas Building. The meeting will also be viewable online.

— The Florida Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel will meet at 9 a.m. at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando.

— Democratic Sen. Janet Cruz will hold a news conference outside of Pat Frank Courthouse in Tampa at 1 p.m. to discuss her bill (SB 654) to allow clerks of court to file protective orders with sheriffs’ offices electronically. She will be joined by Hillsborough County Clerk of Court Cindy Stuart, 13th Judicial Circuit Public Defender Julianne Holt and The Spring of Tampa Bay CEO Mindy Murphy.

Full committee agendas, including bills to be considered, are available on the House and Senate websites.

Staff Reports


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