With the 2020 Legislative Session underway tomorrow, Republican officials in the House and Senate will look to continue to pass more conservative policies, and capitalize on their successful 2019 legislative cycle.
From securing the borders, to protecting the life of the unborn child conservative legislators will look to pass measures and proposals that could have huge implications for the state heading into the pivotal 2020 election.
While the session doesn’t officially kick off until Tuesday, let’s take a look at a few bills to keep an eye on heading into 2020.
Certain to be one of the most controversial proposals this cycle, Republicans in the House and Senate will look to continue to tackle illegal immigration in 2020.
After banning sanctuary cities last year, Senator Joe Gruters, who doubles as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, promised to continue to promote the rule of law in the 2020 Legislative Session. That promise was fulfilled at the end of 2019 when Gruters cosponsored hardline legislation introduced by Senator Tom Lee that would require all employers, private and public, to use the government’s E-Verify system.
Under the proposed legislation, employers would be required to turn over records proving their employees are citizens or are otherwise authorized to work in the United States. A failure to do so would lead to penalties or even a suspension of one’s business license. Republicans believe the proposal will protect against unfair job competition, wage depression, and lead to more transparency during the hiring process.
Opponents, however, believe the bill will be expensive and lead more migrant workers to take jobs in other states.
Though Gruters is only a cosponsor, he has also introduced his own legislation (SB 1822) involving E-Verify. His version, a more watered-down alternative that mirrors a House proposal (HB 1265) submitted by Representative Cord Byrd, would only require government employers to use the system to check the workers’ eligibility.
Private employers would not be required to use E-Verify.
Regardless of which version Republicans stand up behind, Governor Ron DeSantis is certain to gain a victory in the area of illegal immigration this legislative cycle.
Time to pass E-Verify is now! https://t.co/mttZoppbx1
— Joe Gruters (@JoeGruters) January 13, 2020
Representative Mike Hill‘s “fetal heartbeat” bill is a no-brainer for conservatives wanting to stop people from murdering innocent lives.
The proposal would ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected, effectively banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Filed for the legislative session that begins in January, this session’s version would lead to third-degree felony charges for any “person who knowingly or purposefully performs or induces an abortion on a pregnant woman with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of the preborn human being whose preborn intrauterine heartbeat has been detected.”
A similar bill was filed last legislative session by Hill and Senator Dennis Baxley. Both measures, however, were not taken up in House and Senate committees.
Similar proposals have sparked legal and political battles in other states, but have been successful. Such bills have passed in other states, including Georgia, Missouri, and Ohio.
Florida, however, continues to neglect the right to life — something that must change in 2020.
Hill has also filed a bill (HB 6003) that would repeal the red flag law.
While Representative Anthony Sabatini has numerous filings aimed at cutting red tape, promoting individual liberty and limiting government oversight — Concealed Carry (HB 273) and Beverage Law (HB 583) — one bill seeks to add transparency to the term “lobbyist.”
The recently filed legislation would do a number of things to add transparency to the common political process, including removing provisions relating to lobbying before water management districts, requiring the Commission on Ethics to create a statewide registry of local government lobbyists, and requiring all local governments to post notice of their meetings and the subject of the meetings seven days in advance online.
Under the bill, lobbyists would be required to register with the commission, giving citizens full transparency when it comes to when and how the government will try to affect them.
Today I filed House Bill 611, on Local Government Accountability. This bill creates a statewide registry of local gov lobbyists, preempts the local lobbyist registries, and requires that all local govs post notice of their meetings seven days in advance https://t.co/HPC2cvmEBK pic.twitter.com/ksWO0M4e1P
— Anthony Sabatini (@AnthonySabatini) November 13, 2019
In September of 2019, Representative Bob Rommel filed a House Joint Resolution 477, a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution that would prohibit local governments from raising taxes or fees without a vote approved by two-thirds of the membership of the jurisdiction or taxing district.
According to the legislation, “No new local tax or fee may be imposed or authorized and no local tax or fee may be raised by any municipality, county, school board, or special district except through a vote approved by two-thirds of the membership of the jurisdiction or special district.”
If passed by the Florida Legislature, the resolution would be put before the voters of Florida for ballot approval. The change would apply to municipalities, counties, school boards, and special districts.
“My bill is pure common sense,” said Rommel. “We have runaway government spending because we’ve made it too easy for politicians to pass new taxes. Right now, it’s as easy to pass a new tax as it is to name a new bridge. This bill is a move in the right direction.”
In addition, the Constitutional change would require any such proposed tax or fee to be contained in a separate resolution or ordinance—the so-called single-subject provision, which fiscal conservatives believe is an important change to prevent governments from passing distasteful tax increases by bundling them with other important legislation.
With college degrees becoming less of a commodity, Representative Jason Shoaf will look to promote trade and technical careers as an alternative.
Shoaf’s legislation would revise credit requirements to earn a standard high school diploma to include career & technical education.
The Republican who represents House District 7 has been vocal in his support of high-paying skilled trades. Shoaf believes these careers could prevent college students from drowning in debt in pursuit of a degree that doesn’t pay as well.
Shoaf’s bill falls in line with efforts made by DeSantis to promote trade professions as an alternative to a college degree.