Legislative Issues

JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSION Bills to strip the Florida Bar of its role in recommending members to the judicial nominating commission has been filed by Representative Frank White (R-Pensacola) and Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville).  The decisions to fill vacancies would be made by the Senate and House leaders’ appointees.

RESTORATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS Representatives Clovis Watson (D-Gainesville) and Al Jacquet (D-West Palm Beach) and Senator Perry Thurston (D-Ft. Lauderdale) are sponsoring the “Restoration of Civil Rights Act” to provide for automatically restoring former felons’ civil rights.

MARRIAGE LICENSES FOR MINORS A pair of bills moving through the House and Senate would prohibit the issuance of marriage licenses to minors. Under current law, marriages of 16-17-year olds are legal with parental consent or with the consent of a judge if the parents are deceased.

RESIGN TO RUN There are proposals which would require state or local officers who qualify for federal public office to resign from the office they presently hold if the terms or any part thereof would run concurrently. The House bill by Representative David Santiago (R-Deltona) is moving forward while its Senate companion bill by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) found some resistance in its second committee stop, passing 5-3.

WRITE-IN CANDIDATES House Bill 6009, sponsored by Representative Joe Geller (D-Dania Beach) repeals provisions relating to write-in candidate residency requirement as a result of a lawsuit which found Florida’s residency requirement unconstitutional.

TAX REFERENDA Voters would have to approve tax referenda by 60 percent if a city or county wanted to consider changing the local taxes outside a general election. Senator Brandes is sponsoring this legislation.

ORGAN DONORS ON PLATES Drivers wanting to be identified as organ, tissue or eye donors could place a red heart decal on their vehicle license plate. Senator Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) and Representative Clovis Watson (D-Gainesville) are the bills’ sponsors.

NURSING HOME GENERATORS Several bills have been filed related to the public safety of residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Many of these bills are a reaction to the death of 14 Hollywood Hills nursing home residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.  Related to this is a continuing battle between Governor Scott and the nursing home industry about notification of residents regarding facilities’ compliance to install generators. The Agency for Healthcare Administration and the Department of Elder Affairs have granted over 1900 variances to operators and also reissued emergency rules until permanent rules can be considered by the Legislature.  Cost estimates to meet the emergency generator requirements run close to $400 million.

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS Two competing bills regarding Florida’s observation of Daylight Savings are being debated. Senate Bill 858, by Senator Steube, would exempt the state from changing over to Daylight Savings in the spring while House Bill 103, by Representative Jeanette Nuñez (R-Miami), would have our State observe Daylight Savings Time year-round.