Legislative Issues

Here is a sampling of some legislation that has been filed for this Session.

FLORIDA CONSTITUTION Several bills have been filed in response to the confusing November, 2018 elections constitutional initiatives that would change the amendatory process. One requires a single subject limitation for all Constitutional Revision Commission proposals; another proposes the abolishment of the Constitutional Revision Commission; and another increases the percentage by which an amendment must pass from 60 to 66 2/3 percent. Seven amendments were approved by the electorate last November and added to Florida’s Constitution.

VAPING This legislation implements Amendment 9, passed by the voters last November, which prohibits vaping in enclosed indoor workplaces.

JUDICIAL RETIREMENT AGE Implementing yet another voter approved constitutional amendment, this bill raises the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75. It also includes revisions to the Florida Retirement System.

UTILITY CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT The political committee Citizens for Energy Choices gathered close to 80,000 signatures from voters through the end of January to qualify for a review of its proposed constitutional amendment by the Florida Supreme Court. The citizens’ petition initiative would allow Floridians to pay for their electricity on an outside market and not through their local utility. Privately-owned utilities such as Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Company and Gulf Power Company, as well as business groups Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Chamber of Commerce are opposed to the measure. They raise concerns that deregulation could lead to increased electricity costs. Floridians for Affordable Reliable Energy is also opposing this plan and Attorney General Ashley Moody has stated she will challenge the language of the amendment.

DRIVING WHILE DISTRACTED Bills making texting and driving a primary offense have been filed in both chambers. In the Senate, the bill has been amended to include all distracted driving, including reading, writing, performing personal grooming, and interacting with pets.

SPECIALTY LICENSE PLATES Seventeen bills have been filed that will add additional specialty license plate options. Among the new proposals are tributes to Florida’s beekeepers, organ donors, and Orlando United Soccer.

LOTTERY Legislation has been filed to prohibit the use of personal electronic devices to play, store, redeem, sell, or purchase lottery tickets or games. It also requires a warning be printed on the back of all lottery tickets about the dangers of gambling.

LEGISLATIVE EMPLOYEE PAY RAISE This bill by Senator Annette Taddeo (D-Miami) provides for a one-time pay raise for employees of the Florida Legislature.