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House Democrats Want to Do More for Florida during Special Session

Florida House Democrats attempted to expand the Special Session to focus on Florida and address more problems facing Floridians every day.

“We should be focused on helping Floridians, not giving Ron DeSantis a talking point for his presidential campaign,” said Leader Fentrice Driskell, a Tampa Democrat. “Our community is worried about property insurance, schools, and health care. I don’t know what GOP primary voters in Iowa are concerned about, but maybe DeSantis can ask while he’s up there. We have offered several good bills that could help Floridians, and it’s disappointing but not surprising that we are once again being ignored.”

These ideas were offered in an expansion of the session this morning, but were rejected by the Republican majority:

  • Address Property Insurance: This crisis is hurting Florida families across the state and it’s time to aggressively address it. The people of Florida deserve more than yet another half-measure. HB 29C
  • Accept Medicaid Expansion & Halt Disenrollment: Florida is one of only 10 states to continue to refuse this money to pay for health care for low income families. Currently, we are leaving millions of dollars every year to be sent to other states, resulting in worse health outcomes for Floridians.  Over half a million Floridians have lost health care coverage in the Medicaid Disenrollment process, which is disproportionately impacting kids. We should slow this process to make sure no one loses coverage who is eligible to receive it. HB 17C
  • Keep Floridians Safe: Last year’s Permitless Carry law has made us less safe, and tied the hands of law enforcement. More guns in our communities, unregulated and untrained, is not what Floridians wanted. HB 23C
  • Tenant’s Rights: Florida’s housing crisis is the worst in the nation, and renters are being squeezed. HB 21C

“At a time where over half a million Floridians have lost their medical coverage, including over a quarter of a million children, HB 17c is the relief needed for these low-income families to ensure they can be healthy, prosperous and safe,” Miami State Representative Dotie Joseph added.

Additional bills filed for consideration include legislation from a Tampa Democrat and Orlando Representative Anna Eskamani:

  • Tampa Rep. Dianne Hart introduced HB 15C to provide increased security measures at public and private historically Black colleges & universities
  • HB 19C  Rep. Eskamani to prevent evictions during/after a hurricane.
  • HB 25C – by Rep. Eskamani to require the reporting of hate crimes, and expands the definition.
  • HB 27C – by Rep. Eskamani to create a homeowner’s insurance payment assistance program.
  • HB 29C – by Rep. Eskamani to increase accountability of insurance companies to their customers.

“Floridians across the state are demanding action on issues that impact their daily lives, like the rising rate of property insurance and the cost of rent,” Orlando State Representative Anna Eskamani said. “Our constituents are facing an economic crisis and we should be focused on addressing these very real and serious concerns. Though I am disappointed that our request to expand the Special Session to address these challenges was rejected, we will never stop fighting for the needs of our communities.”

Florida House Democrats made it clear these bills could be heard during the Special Session if GOP leadership wanted.

Boca Raton State Representative Kelly Skidmore issued the following statement: “The importance of supporting Israel and denouncing Hamas is paramount and has unequivocal bipartisan support. The Special Session also addresses many other issues that Floridians are currently facing, specifically replenishing funds for the My Safe Florida Home Program, securing educational funding for students with disabilities, and improving disaster relief for those impacted by Hurricane Idalia. Democrats believe that the legislature can also take this time to address other major issues including access to health care, affordable homeownership and property insurance, and safety from gun violence.”

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis previously applauded and urged swift action in a Special Session of the Florida Legislature to address urgent issues facing the state.

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