The House only has the Policy and Budget Council meeting today, and while there are several bills on the agenda, none of them are really worth noting here.
In the Senate Commerce Committee, SB 322 by Sen. Jim King and SB 554 by Sen. Nancy Argenziano will be heard. Both bills would prohibit political campaigns from making auto-dialed calls to numbers on the state of federal Don Not Call lists. SB 1920 by Sen. Mike Fasano, which would allow private property owners to determine whether or not initiative petition gatherers could operate on their property, is also on the agenda.
On the Senate Transportation Committee is SB 1622 by Sen. Paula Dockery, which creates the Polk Transit Authority (and which explains why Polk County wanted to be removed from the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority legislation).
The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee will hear three interesting bills. First is SB 1820 by Sen. Dave Arongberg will change the process for write-in candidates by requiring them to state their political party and either pay the qualifying fee or qualify by submitting petitions. (This would effectively end the practice of “closing” primaries by having a write-in candidate file at the last minute. The Senate has long held that write-in candidates are not opposition as the term applies to section 5(b) of Article VI of the Florida Constitution.) Next, the committee will hear SB 2648 by Sen. Ted Deutch, which would require all political advertising to be submitted to the state shortly after it is presented to the public – allowing voters to search the Florida Campaign Sunshine website. These two bills stand little chance of passing, primarily because they have each been referred to three more committees, and there are less than two weeks of Session left. However, the final bill could pass: SB 494 by Sen. Mike Bennett, which would create an option on every ballot for voters to affirmatively declare they choose not to vote in that race. (The House version, HB 387 by Rep. Jim Frishe, has not been heard in any committee thus far.)
Sen. Ronda Storms’ efforts against abortion continue in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her bill, SB 1602, would require courts to consider other factors when determining if a minor meets the conditions necessary to waive parental notification of an abortion. Among the additional factors are age, intelligence, emotional stability, ability to understand the implications of her decision, and whether or not the teen’s decision was due to intimidation or undue influence.