Speaker Paul Renner says he won’t seek further abortion restrictions this Session. And he won’t do away with mail-in voting.
The Palm Coast Republican, after taking a victory lap on conservative priorities passed last year, said he doesn’t want to push the limits of public tolerance.
While suggesting he personally might support further efforts to limit abortion, he considers the heartbeat bill signed into law last year to be a major win.
“The legislation I supported was what we passed last year, which is to say that we’re going to, at the point a child and independent human being has a heartbeat, there’s some need to protect that human life,” he said, “with exceptions for rape and incest and human trafficking and the life of the mother and all these multitude of exceptions we have.”
Rep. David Borrero, a Sweetwater Republican, filed legislation (HB 1519) Monday that would restrict virtually all abortions from the “time from fertilization until birth,” excluding only some emergency cases where the life of the mother is at risk.
Renner said he’d like to see fewer abortions.
“In a perfect world, I would love to see there’d be no abortions,” he said. “We live in a fallen world, not a perfect world.”
But he said the fact the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision stood for a half century before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned it last year impacts the public perception of abortion.
“The courts not only said it’s okay to take that life at any point up into 40 weeks until the time of birth, but also not only it’s okay, but it’s a constitutional right,” Renner said.
With mail-in voting, he echoed comments already made by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo. Will he consider getting rid of no-excuses mail ballots? “No,” Renner answered.
But he said the Legislature should always look at making voting easy and cheating hard. Mail-in ballots do raise certain chain of custody issues, he said. Individuals can fill out ballots for other people. No one witnesses the signing of envelopes.
“Republicans had been convicted of ballot fraud, too. It’s a bipartisan problem,” Renner said. “My issue would be making sure we have the greatest integrity for our election system.”