Florida Campaign for Liberty
February 21, 2020
We are now in the home stretch for the 2020 Florida Legislative Session. There are now just three more weeks of the session ending on Friday, March 13. Most committees will now only meet one more time next week (technically all committees, except for Appropriations and Rules, stop meeting after day 50) leaving the last two weeks for full floor votes on legislation and negotiating the budget.
Any bill that has not been heard in any committee at this point is probably dead for this session. The exception would be if a deal is struck and Leadership decides to fast-track a bill by removing a committee of reference or waiving the rules to bring a bill straight to the floor.
I have always lived by the rule that no bill is dead until “sine-die” (ceremonial ending of the session).
Here are the bills regarding our gun rights that are still in play.
SB 7028 (Bad Bill)
The Capitol has been quiet regarding SB 7028-gun control bill by Senator Tom Lee and the Infrastructure Committee. SB 7028 is still a priority of Senate President Bill Galvano. Under normal rules and procedures, SB 7028 would have to pass two Senate committee references, Judiciary, and Appropriations, in order to be voted on by the full Senate. But, as I mentioned above, Senate President Galvano has the authority to bypass the two remaining committee references and take SB 7028 straight to the floor.
HB 311/SB 728 Threats (Bad Bills)
Just like the Red Flag law, the state could start dragging people into court for what could have been a momentary threat out of anger or just trying to get someone to back off. Under HB 311, the state does not need to prove the existence of an actual firearm or weapon, nor a person’s actual intent or ability to carry out the threat. As long as the state proves that the defendant threatened to use a firearm, whether he or she has the actual ability to carry out the threat, it has met its burden.
The Legislature should be making changes to protect citizens from frivolous charges. There should be a much higher standard of proof to drag someone into court for what may be a momentary angry comment. The US Supreme Court has ruled that a threat without showing the person’s actual intent and ability to carry out the threat is not enough to charge someone.
HB 311 has passed two of its three committee references and would only need to pass the Judiciary Committee before heading to the floor for a full House vote. The House Judiciary Committee will announce on Monday afternoon which bills it will hear Wednesday, February 26th. Insiders are saying this bill is dead, we will see.
SB 728 has passed two of its three committee references and only needs to pass the Appropriations Committee before going to the floor for a full Senate vote. The next Senate Appropriations Committee meeting is next Thursday, February 27th.
HB 201/SB 652 Gun Violence Reduction (Bad Bills)
These bills create the Urban Core Gun Violence Task Force. It is obvious that this Task Force would simply recommend gun restrictions.
HB 201 has passed only one of three committee references. It is now in Justice Appropriations Subcommittee. The good news is the Justice Appropriations Subcommittee is not meeting anymore for this session.
SB 652 has passed two if its three committee references and only needs to pass the Appropriations Committee before going to the floor for a full Senate vote. The next Senate Appropriations Committee meeting is next Thursday, February 27th.
HB 183/SB 1524 Prohibited Places for Weapons and Firearms (Bad Bills)
This bill permits elected officials to carry concealed weapons in public meetings over which they preside, such as city council and county commission meetings. The Legislature should not give special privileges to elected officials while denying citizens the same right to conceal carry in a public meeting.
HB 183 has passed all three committee references and is on 2nd Reading Calendar, which means it is waiting to be scheduled to go to the floor for a full House vote. HB 183 has been in this position for two weeks now.
SB 1524, the Senate companion to HB 183 has not been heard in any committee. The chances are this legislation is dead, but as always, no bill is dead until the session is over.
We are now at a point that things can happen fast in Tallahassee. One of these bills could quickly be put on a committee agenda, passed and sent to the floor. In my opinion, the best action right now is to contact your state Senator and state Representative and send them this list of bills and let them know you adamantly oppose all these bills. If I find out that there is a need to direct calls to select legislators, I will send out a quick alert.
We are now in the home stretch and with your hard work, we are making a difference. But we need to finish the job. Please consider making a donation to make sure we stop the attack on our gun rights.
www.FloridaCampaignForLiberty.org Florida Campaign for Liberty
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Kissimmee, FL 34741