Florida Legislature: Preview of Day 36

HouseFlorida House of Representatives

The stem cell research debate continues today in the House Healthcare Council, as HB 1065 by Rep. Antiere Flores is on the agenda. This bill creates a state-funded, $20 million grant program to study adult or amniotic stem cells (and specifically prohibits these grants from being used for embryonic stem cell research).

The House Rules and Calendar Committee is considering a proposed committee bill (PCB RCC 07-05) that would designate February 6th each year as “Ronald Regan Day” in the state of Florida.

The House will meet in Session in the afternoon. The list of bills on Special Order Calendar include a number of health- and social-related bills, none of which appear to be controversial. One bill, HB 99 by Rep. Ed Hooper allows certain nonprofit organizations to solicit donations on or along streets and in public rights-of-way.

SenateFlorida Senate

One of my Top Ten Amusing Bills, SB 1676 by Sen. Steve Oelrich, which would allow law enforcement to drive golf carts on public streets, will be heard in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. That committee will also hear the Truth in Government Act, SB 2196 by Sen. Alex Villalobos, requiring anyone who testifies before a committee of the Florida Legislature to do so under oath.

The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee will workshop (discuss) the Senate plan for voting systems. The measure is a draft substitute for SB 962 by Sen. Lee Constantine, and requires all voting to be done via optical scan ballots. Some election reform activists have said that such a plan is not completely appropriate, because the bill allows touch screen voting as a possible method for disabled voters.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear SB 1558 by Sen. Jeremy Ring, which would reverse the Florida Supreme Court decision in Fabre v Marin 623 So. 2d 1182 (1983). In an over-simplification of the case: the Court said that damages should be apportioned based on the percentage of fault – even if the fault is cased by a person who is not a party to the lawsuit. This enables defendants to assert blame on unnamed third parties. Generally, this has not been an issue because Florida had a policy of joint and several liability – meaning the plaintiff could still collect 100% of damages even if a defendant was not 100% to blame. When Florida repealed joint and several liability, it did not undo the Fabre decision. SB 1558 simply requires that a jury apportion fault only among parties to action who may be held legally liable.

The Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee will hear SB 2546 by Sen. Ronda Storms. The bill requires specified people (health care workers, abortion clinic personnel, etc) to inform law enforcement of a pregnancy of a child under the age of 16. It also requires the collection and preservation of evidence, in the event law enforcement finds cause to prosecute for sexual abuse.

SB 2458 by Sen. Victor Crist is on the Senate Education PreK-12 Committee agenda. The bill, part of the It Oughta Be a Law program by Rep. Kevin Ambler, would give corporate tax credits to companies who provide internships to high school students.

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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