BILLS THAT FAILED
The following is a sampling of bills which failed this legislative session, largely because of the impasse between the Senate and House. Expect to see many of these issues return next year.
CYCLING SAFETY Cyclists and pedestrians lost out when a transportation bill died in the Senate. It would have provided criminal penalties for infractions causing serious injury or death and established rules governing the passing of bicycles and abuse of cyclists. The bill passed both chambers, but a last minute House floor amendment meant the bill did not receive a final Senate vote.
TEXTING WHILE DRIVING There was a big push among several organizations to make texting while driving a primary, rather than the current secondary, offense. This would have allowed law enforcement officers to ticket drivers caught texting without having committed another offense.
TRANSGENDERED RESTROOMS A bill regulating the use of public restrooms by transgendered Floridians failed. The proposition would have charged such individuals with a first-degree misdemeanor for using a restroom that did not match their biological birth gender. The owners of such restrooms would have also been subject to lawsuits from other patrons.
EVENT TICKET RESALE Resellers would not have been allowed to use automated computer programs to bypass the existing ticket buying process or to purchase tickets in excess of the maximum allowed per show under the legislation. A violation would have been a misdemeanor.
BODY CAMERAS While the Legislature approved video obtained from body camera’s being shielded from Sunshine Laws, a comprehensive bill establishing uniform policies and procedures regarding their use did not pass either chamber.
ADOPTIONS This bill would have allowed adoption agencies to deny prospective parents an adoption based on the agency’s religious or moral convictions. Many opponents of the bill viewed it as discriminatory towards gays and lesbians.
GAMING The House took up an extensive bill which would have allowed the expansion of gambling in the State. Two committees heard length testimony and debate on greyhound racing decoupling, placing slot machines on tracks in Palm Beach and Lee Counties, and permitting gaming resorts in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, among other expansion options. The Senate never acted upon gaming legislation.
SEMINOLE GAMING PACT On Friday, May 1st, the Seminole Indian Tribe sent a letter to the Governor and Legislature urging the renewal of negotiations concerning the extension of the existing gaming pact. The pact gives the Tribe exclusive rights to operate blackjack and other card games in exchange for payments to the State. Five of the seven Tribe casinos could lose their right to operate banked card games on July 31st.