A preview of issues and bills on the agenda of the 2021 Florida Legislature was the focus of BAM’s February meeting Thursday night. Guest speakers reviewed the legislative process and offered tips on effectively advocating for progressive laws and issues.
David Johnson, of the Unitarian Universalist Action Network (UUAN), noted more than 2,000 bills could be filed in the 60-day session, but most will die in committee or not be considered at all. Last year, he said only 150 bills made it through the process. Bills that are referred are generally reviewed by three committees - so there are many opportunities to advocate in support or against.
While acknowledging the conservative bent of the Florida Legislature, he said there were three ways to boost our advocacy efforts: 1) forming teams and selecting a few priority issues; 2) developing ongoing relationships with lawmakers in our district; and, 3) signing up for legislative alerts from organizations like the UUAN.
The 2021 session begins March 2 and ends April 30, 2021.
Johnson reviewed the dangerous anti-protesting bill championed by Governor Ron DeSantis, and other measures in the areas of criminal justice reform, civil rights and environmental justice. Guest speakers Judy Sheklin and Nancy Staats, MD, who serve as members of the Jax NOW legislative committee and BAM, highlighted bills impacting Medicaid and health care access, women’s and LGBTQ rights, voter protection, education & labor, and domestic violence.