Florida’s Legislative Session Set to Begin

By Faith and Freedom Staff

After two months of committee meetings, Florida’s lawmakers will begin the official legislative session next week on Tuesday, March 2. Members will have 60 days to push their priority bills through the legislature. While there are plenty of good bills, and even more bad ones, only a small percentage will actually pass the legislature and be signed by Governor DeSantis. 

In advance of the big kickoff, and in order to promote our shared values, the team at Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition published its legislative agenda this week. Below is a brief summary of our priorities this session.  The list is not in order of importance—all are priority items.

ELECTION REFORM

Florida continues its march of election reform. Over the last twenty years, our state has led the nation in working to ensure that we have free and fair elections. Senator Dennis Baxley has introduced SB 90, a bill limiting the duration of requests for vote-by-mail ballots to all elections through the end of the calendar year of the next regularly scheduled general election. The idea behind the bill is to prevent ballots from being mailed to residences where the voter no longer lives—a great idea in an era when the population is highly mobile and changes their home address frequently.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Domestic violence is a major problem in our state and has only become worse during the coronavirus pandemic. SB 68 by Senator Ileana Garcia exempts personal identifying and location information of current and former staff and volunteers of domestic violence centers certified by the Department of Children and Families from public records requirements. It also exempts personal identifying and location information of spouses and children of such personnel. There have been many problems with staff of domestic violence centers being targeted by abusive spouses whose significant other sought help at a shelter. This bill would help to alleviate that problem.

Other important legislation in this area includes two bills on human trafficking. SB 554 by Senator Perry Thurston provides for human trafficking education in schools, revising the health education requirements to include information regarding the dangers and signs of human trafficking and specifying the minimum requirements of the human trafficking education portion of the comprehensive health education curriculum. Another bill, HB 523 by Representative Jackie Toledo boosts the rights of victims of human trafficking and requires that communication between victim advocates and victims of human trafficking victim remain confidential. A final bill in this area is SB 1384 by Senator Ray Rodrigues, which provides for the involuntary Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators.

ABORTION

Senator Ray Rodrigues is also sponsoring a key piece of abortion legislation—the “Florida Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” Doctors who abort a fetus after more than 20 weeks of gestation could be charged with a felony. It requires physicians performing or inducing abortions to determine the probable gestational age of the unborn child. The legislation is based on studies that show the fetus can experience pain at 20 weeks.

In the education realm, Senator Manny Diaz has introduced SB 48, strengthening Florida’s school choice scholarship programs. Representative Grall is promoting her bill, HB 241 to strengthen parental rights related to a minor child’s education, upbringing, & health care.

FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY

Senator Manny Diaz proposed a resolution the Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition strongly supports—SB 150 on Individual Liberty and Democracy. This resolution renounces democratic socialism in favor of the true American values of individual liberty and democracy.

Rest assured that your team at the Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition will be actively communicating with legislators to advance our agenda. We urge you to contact your legislators in the Florida House and Senate and tell them you support these important bills.  Thank you!

Elections Matter

By Faith and Freedom Staff

We didn’t have a to wait long for our first reminder just how much elections matter.

Within 48 hours of being sworn in as President of the United States, the Biden administration announced that it will reverse a Trump administration policy prohibiting U.S. taxpayer funding to promote abortion abroad.

This from a president who called for peace, unity and bipartisanship.

It’s hard to take President Biden seriously given his disregard for life and for American taxpayers who want to protect, not destroy, the lives of unborn children.

News of the repeal of the Mexico City Policy was provided by Dr. Anthony Fauci, who informed the World Health Organization that Biden would take such action “to protect women’s health and advance gender equality at home and around the world.”

So apparently killing babies promotes gender equality? That’s disgusting.

In contrast, President Trump re-implemented the Mexico City policy again after it was repealed by President Obama—and whatever anybody thinks of Donald Trump, he has likely saved thousands of unborn babies.

Not only did he appoint three Supreme Court Justices and more than 200 federal judges, who will protect religious liberty and the right to life. He also made pro-life policies and defense of the unborn a priority.

Donald Trump’s restoration and expansion of the Mexico City policy to prevent U.S. tax dollars from funding abortions overseas, his appointment of conservative judges, and his revision of Title X to defund Planned Parenthood, are the best evidence we have that elections are literally a life and death matter.

On this subject, we can pray that President Biden will read the bible on which he placed his hand to take the oath of office. In that Holy Text, the penalties for harming an unborn child are described:

“When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined … But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound … ” (Exod. 21:22-25).

To be perfectly clear, we do not advocate violence of any kind, against any person. We believe in holding President Biden and other politicians accountable at the ballot box. Together, we will peacefully stand up and fight for the unborn.

Big Tech and the Radical Left

By Faith and Freedom Staff

The partnership between Big Tech and the Radical Left and is not new, and neither is the effort to silence conservatives. Nevertheless, the intensity of their current attacks is unprecedented. As Christians and conservatives, we stand together on the front lines of this battle and we join you in peacefully promoting our conservative values. When conservatives point out the bias of big tech, their allies in cable news and the big networks call us “conspiracy theorists,” “paranoid,” and worse.

But we know the truth. There is an old saying in politics—“follow the money.” According to the Observer, for example, Microsoft PACs and employees spent $17 million on presidential campaign contributions. The top recipients of Microsoft money were Joe Biden and Democrat Super PACs. According to the same report, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Twitter, either through PACs or direct employee contributions, all gave predominantly to Democrat candidates and committees. 

For every single one of them, Joe Biden was the top recipient of Big Tech campaign funds.

Some say these are private companies and none of us has a right to tell them what to do.  But government regulates private companies every day.  Certainly, government doesn’t have a right to tell them which candidates to support but it shouldn’t coddle them or promote policies that damage our right to free speech. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution says that:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Yet, government is giving Big Tech favorable treatment with a law that abridges free speech. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act enables big tech to decide what information can be provided and consumed on the Internet. It gives Big Tech a giant carve-out allowing censorship unique among publishers. This kind of law is exactly what the First Amendment was designed to prevent.

And Big Tech is already using the Communications Decency Act to silence conservatives—refusing advertising that doesn’t fit with their Radical Left agenda and denying access to people and groups they deem politically incorrect.

It’s urgent that Christian conservatives peacefully speak up for our right to free speech. We cannot allow this outrageous overreach of Big Tech and the Radical Left to suppress conservative viewpoints. It is imperative that we begin to immediately work to take control of Congress in 2022 so that conservatives can repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and all other forms of favoritism for Big Tech.

We must not give up in the face of this important challenge. The Faith & Freedom Coalition is committed to staying the course and taking back the House and Senate in 2022, even while recognizing that the Left now possesses great power, not just on the Internet but also in Washington, D.C.

Encouragement in Difficult Times

By Faith and Freedom Staff

Today, many Americans feel sadness and disappointment—whether from the pandemic, events unfolding in the nation’s capital, or the loss of two senate seats in Georgia. In times like this, it’s important to remember the words of King David, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (34:18).

He remains “close” to us and “saves” us. Let’s consider what that means for a moment.

It means that while we face many challenges, none are insurmountable.  Indeed, we can encourage each other by counting our many blessings.

In spite of their victories in the Georgia senate runoffs, the Radical left enjoys only the slimmest of majorities.  Conservative Democrats such as Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have said they will not support the Radical Left’s agenda, including packing the Supreme Court and abolishing the filibuster.

Control of the House and Senate

The party in power tends to lose seats in the House during mid-term elections.  Republicans picked up seats in the House in the November elections, narrowing the gap with Democrats to 222-211. The magic number to gain a majority is 218.  That means we are only 7 seats away from conservative majority in the House. Given that the party in power has lost an average of 26 seats in the House during mid-term elections, conservatives stand an excellent chance of gaining control of the House in 2022.

The Senate stands at a 50-50, with Vice-President Kamala Harris available to break any tie. In this sense, Democrats have taken control.  However, the party in power lost an average of four seats in the Senate in mid-term elections since World War II—again giving conservatives a chance to win back the Senate in just two years.

The Future is Now

Indeed, we have hope for the future but what happens in 2022 depends on the actions we take right now. While control of both the House and Senate could easily change hands in two short years, that won’t happen unless we begin working to flip Congress right now. In addition, many strong conservatives will soon line up to run for President of the United States and take back the White House in 2024.

In order to enjoy success in the future, we must recommit ourselves now to the fundamental work of educating and registering voters. The future is “now.”

In the shorter term, many are rejoicing that COVID-19 vaccines are now being administered across the nation. We also have a conservative majority on the United States Supreme Court, and many conservative governors and state legislatures throughout the nation.

Remember, “Fear not” is the most repeated command in the Bible!

So, Fear not freedom loving Americans! While we may have serious concerns about the direction of our nation today, we live in the United States of America – still the greatest nation on earth – and we can start working right now to peacefully take back our government in 2022!