Partisan Republicans Show Their True Colors This Florida Legislative Session
Democratic leaders this Florida legislative session reaffirmed their commitment to fight for Floridians and to demand change to make our state better for all. Democratic legislators filed and passed bills aimed to address the climate crisis, fix access to health care, and help Florida's hard-working families, but in a hyper-partisan Republican-controlled legislature too many good bills were completely ignored.
Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo released the following statement:
"Partisan Republicans in the state legislature blocked Democratic bills that would have lowered prescription drug prices, provided working families a tax credit and addressed Florida's environmental crisis. In addition, Florida Republicans once again blocked Medicaid expansion which means hundreds of thousands of Florida are facing a pandemic made worse by not having the health care coverage they desperately need."
Last week, the Florida Democratic Party released a memo with the Republicans' failures to Floridians.
In a partisan Republican legislature, Republicans blocked Democratic bills that would have improved the lives for working families, protected our environment and lowered the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, including:
Democrats Efforts to Protect Florida's Environment Were Ignored
A series of bills filed by Democratic Legislators to address climate change and to move our state to renewable energy were ignored by Republicans, including HB 97, that would have required Florida's energy to come from renewable sources by the year 2050. For years, Republicans have ignored the threats of the climate crisis, while Democrats remain determined to protect the future of Florida's environment.
Democrats Efforts to Expand Medicaid Rebuffed
A bill that would have helped to expand Medicaid in the State of Florida, and cover 800,000 Floridians, was ignored by the Republican-controlled legislature, leaving (once again) thousands of Floridians without the health care they need.
Democrats Had a Plan to Offer a Tax Rebate to Working Families, Republicans Ignored It
The "Florida Working Families Tax Rebate Program" would have created a tax rebate program for Floridian working families that received the Earned Income Tax Credit on their filed federal tax return. The bill was not heard during this legislative session.
Democrats Worked to Protect Florida Drivers and Lower Insurance Premiums — Republicans Deny to Give Bill a Hearing
A bill that would have provided driver's licenses to all Floridians failed to get a hearing in the legislature. The common-sense safety measure would have lowered insurance premiums and improved public safety by ensuring all Florida drivers are licensed and insured.
Democrats Fought to Lower Prescription Drugs for Floridians, Republicans Opposed the Measure
A bill aimed at reducing costs for insulin to treat diabetic patients failed to pass the Republican-controlled legislature, putting at-risk patients that cannot afford insulin prices. Republican Representative and Speaker of the House, Jose Oliva didn't support the initiative, blocking any hearing of the bill in the House.
Democrats were able to make inroads on a number of issues, including:
Democrats Worked to Improve Gun Safety in Schools
Alyssa's Law passed the Legislature and would require all schools to implement a panic alarm system. SB 70 is part of the continued efforts from the Democrats to protect schools and prevent gun violence in the state.
Democrats Advocated for Dignity for Incarcerated Pregnant Women
The "Tammy Jackson Act" would ban restrictive housing for incarcerated pregnant in restrictive housing passed by the Legislature. The bill, HB 1259, sponsored by Democratic legislators passed unanimously in both chambers.
Democrats Acted on the Climate Crisis
SB 178, an important step for the state of Florida after years of climate inaction under Republican leadership was passed this session. The bill would require state-financed buildings to take sea level rise into account before starting construction.