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Here Are 10 Big Issues From The 2020 Florida Legislative Session

Mar 21, 2020
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Florida lawmakers finished the 2020 legislative session Thursday by passing a $93.2 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

There were fierce clashes at the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday and a fierce critique from Chief Justice John Roberts afterward upon learning about statements made by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer outside while the arguments were taking place inside.

Addressing a crowd of abortion-rights demonstrators, Schumer, D-N.Y., referred to the court's two Trump appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and said, "You have unleashed the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions."

After Senate approval of the controversial proposal, the House this week will take up a plan that would require parental consent before minors could have abortions.

The day after Florida’s Senate voted on a controversial parental consent bill, a national pro-life group announced a multi-million dollar campaign that targets Florida voters in particular.

A day after Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed the issue in his State of the State address, Republican lawmakers Wednesday continued moving forward with a proposal that would require parental consent before minors could have abortions. 

A Florida House committee passed a bill Tuesday requiring a minor to receive parental permission before getting an abortion.

The House Health and Human Services Committee approved the bill by a 12-6 vote.

The Supreme Court may be eager to portray itself as an apolitical institution. But this term, political questions writ large are knocking at the high court door.

The upcoming term will almost surely be a march to the right on almost every issue that is a flashpoint in American society. Among them: abortion, guns, gay rights, the separation of church and state, immigration and presidential power.

State Rep. Mike Hill, R-Pensacola, will make a renewed attempt during the 2020 legislative session to pass a “fetal heartbeat” bill that would dramatically limit abortions in Florida.

The program offers family-planning services to low-income patients, including birth control, pregnancy counseling and cancer screenings.
Wikimedia Commons

Low-income patients in Hillsborough County are losing an option for receiving free family-planning care at the end of this month.  As of Sept. 30, Tampa Family Health Centers will no longer offer Title X services.

Protestors gathered on a street corner in Downtown St. Petersburg Tuesday. The event was one of many "Stop The Bans" protests held across Florida and around the country.
Bradley George/WUSF Public Media

Protestors rallied in downtown St. Petersburg Tuesday as part of a National Day of Action against strict anti-abortion laws passed in several states. Florida lawmakers considered similar bills this year, but none of them passed.

This week we learned not one but two Florida counties had their voting databases hacked, but we didn’t learn which two.

Updated at 6:23 p.m. ET Wednesday

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a controversial bill that bans nearly all abortions into law Wednesday evening.

It's considered the most restrictive abortion law in the United States. The law makes it a crime for doctors to perform abortions at any stage of a pregnancy, unless a woman's life is threatened or there is a lethal fetal anomaly.

Under the new law, doctors in the state face felony jail time up to 99 years if convicted. But a woman would not be held criminally liable for having an abortion.

Florida Abortion Bill Would Require Minors To Obtain Consent

Apr 8, 2019

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro was 17 when she discovered she was pregnant for the second time. 

She says her parents were livid about her first pregnancy a year earlier, though she never dared tell them she was raped. Her father took her to a clinic for an abortion. On the way home, she says, he threw birth control pills from the clinic out of the car window and ordered her to abstain. 

Parental Consent Bill Advances In The Florida House

Mar 22, 2019

A bill (HB 1335) requiring minors to get a parent’s consent for abortions passed a House committee this week. The debate was mostly civil, but some audience members had to be escorted out.

Florida law says parents have to be notified when their daughters seek abortions. Under the proposal, parents would have to give their permission.

The House Health Quality Subcommittee heard from a string of women who’ve had abortions, but who have differing opinions about the bill.

Parental Consent Abortion Bill Backed

Mar 20, 2019

Florida could block teenagers from getting abortions unless their parents agree, under a bill that began moving forward Tuesday in the Republican-dominated House. 

A controversial abortion measure known as the “fetal heartbeat bill” has been filed in the Florida Senate, mirroring a bill filed last month in the House. 

Update 2/26/19: Two Republican state lawmakers wants to ban abortions in Florida once a heartbeat is detected.

Rep. Mike Hill (R-Pensacola), first filed the bill making it a third-degree felony for any physician who violates the proposed law. 

On Feb. 7, Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Lady Lake)  filed a companion measure in the Senate.

“It’s time for us to face our history of the last 46 years and the 60 million faces of our offspring that we have extinguished. The heartbeat has always been the clear signal of the presence of life, and that life must be protected," Baxley said in a written statement sent from his office.

He noted a similar proposal was passed in Ohio last year but was vetoed by that state's governor. 

“I think we have a great opportunity this year," Baxley said. “Our new Governor, Ron DeSantis has expressed support for meaningful pro-life legislation, so I don’t think we’ll run in to the same issues that Ohio did.”

Hearing Set On Abortion Waiting Period

Jan 18, 2019

A state appeals court will hear arguments in March about the constitutionality of a 2015 law that would require women to wait 24 hours before having abortions.

A House Republican filed a proposal Thursday that would block physicians from performing abortions if fetal heartbeats have been detected.

Updated at 9:35 a.m. ET

A federal judge in Mississippi has permanently blocked one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country — a ban on the procedure after 15 weeks of gestation.

The end of the fight over Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination sets up a new battleground over abortion rights, and activists on both sides of the issue are gearing up for what's likely to be a series of contentious battles from the high court to state legislatures.

Planned Parenthood is unveiling a new strategy designed to prepare for the possibility of a nation without the federal protections for abortion rights outlined in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Brett Kavanaugh is a Supreme Court justice. That much is certain after senators narrowly approved his controversial nomination Saturday, putting an end to his bitter confirmation battle with a slim vote in his favor.

But even as one phase of Kavanaugh's story ends, another is beginning: His lifetime tenure on the highest court in the U.S. And this story promises to last much longer.

The confirmation of a Supreme Court justice is often a major event that ripples through American law for decades. But Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, which opens Tuesday, is especially historic because, if confirmed, Kavanaugh is expected to solidify a hard-right majority on the nation's highest court, a majority the likes of which has not been seen since the early 1930s, and which is likely to dominate for a generation or more.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America told NPR on Thursday it will be joining officials in a growing number of states to oppose a Trump administration proposal to withhold federal funds from family planning clinics that provide information about or refer women seeking an abortion.

Abortion-rights advocates are intensifying efforts to make it easier for women to get abortions amid a new wave of state-level bans and restrictions expected to occur under a reconfigured U.S. Supreme Court.

A petition signed by 5,500 Floridians has been delivered to Gov. Rick Scott’s office, asking for tight regulation of Legislature-funded crisis pregnancy centers. Nonprofit advocacy group Progress Florida is behind the effort, and says it has identified about 190 of what they call “fake clinics.” Progress Florida says the centers steer women away from birth control and abortion.

Progressive and civil rights organizations are speaking out against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Reproductive rights advocacy group Planned Parenthood is the latest to do so.

With the balance of the Supreme Court in question, some abortion-rights advocates are quietly preparing for a future they hope never to see — one without the protections of Roe v. Wade.

What would the U.S. look like without Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide?

That’s the question now that President Donald Trump has chosen conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Judge Closes Book On Disputed Abortion Law

Jul 11, 2018

In a case that focused heavily on First Amendment rights, a federal judge has issued a permanent injunction against a 2016 abortion law approved by Florida lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott.

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