NAACP FLORIDA STATE CONFERENCE RELEASES
2021 STATE LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
~The NAACP releases its 2021 legislative agenda in advance of the March formal convening. ~
“The NAACP Florida State Conference has approved a legislative agenda that is bold, strong and will fight for communities of color, the underserved and the black community from Key West to Pensacola. With COVID-19 as on-going reminder of the pain in our communities, I call on the Governor and Department of Health to expand the number of distribution sites in communities of color and specifically the black community. The current rollout is inadequate and putting our lives at risk in the black community. There are many other issues we are fighting for including support for full implementation of the state’s minimum wage constitutional amendment passed by voters with no exceptions, support for an elected Secretary of State that is held accountable to all voters for fair and open elections, we will strongly oppose any campus carry legislation, fiercely oppose House Bill #1, the Governor’s racist anti-protest bill to and we will educate our members on the appropriate “Juneteenth” date in Florida as May 20th. The NAACP Florida State Conference will be educating our members over the next several weeks to contact their local delegations to highlight our positions as they impact the black community more than any other. The bills in the legislature show the NAACP is more needed in 2021 than anytime in Florida and we look forward to energizing our members and working with our partners,” says Adora Obi Nweze, President of NAACP Florida State Conference and member of the National Board of Directors.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. In 1941, the NAACP Florida State Conference was formed as the 1st State Conference in the nation. For more information on the NAACP Florida State Conference, please visit www.FLNAACP.com or follow us on Twitter @FLNAACP.
NAACP Florida State Conference
2021 State Legislative Agenda
The NAACP Florida State Conference 2021 legislative agenda is grounded in this new reality created by the COVID-19 pandemic which has overwhelming impacted the black community, communities of color and all Floridians. With more than 1.5 million cases in Florida (and counting) and overwhelming concern of the vaccination process, our voice will be heightened on this issue. We will continue advocacy for COVID-19 testing in underserved communities, adequate reporting by state/local government and funding for safe vaccine distribution statewide. This pandemic has created skyrocketing unemployment, lack of food/nutrition, homelessness and poverty impacting the black community. Statewide, we have seen many children and families displaced and we will use our platform to raise awareness of these critical issues.
Game Changer Priority One: Economic Opportunity
- Empower local communities with the necessary education, resources and partnerships to develop sustainable economic models that advance diversity and equity.
- Ensure that government and industry are knowledgeable and committed to bridging racial inequality particularly as it relates to employment, housing, wealth, lending and business ownership.
- Grow a movement of concerned citizens and organization who work together to produce an inclusive and strong middle-class economy for the 21st century.
We continue to:
- Support of Infrastructure Funding to Rebuild, Expand, and Rehabilitate Public Works Infrastructure to Benefit Communities of Color
- Oppose Rent to Own Schemes and Predatory Lending Practices
- Support funding for and involvement with rebuilding our nation’s public infrastructure
Select Bills on Our Radar:
- SB 180 by Senator Berman – Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Establishing the office within the Executive Office of the Governor; providing for the appointment of a Chief Diversity Officer; assigning duties and responsibilities of the Chief Diversity Officer, etc. (Support)
- SB 256 by Senator Stewart – Discrimination in Labor and Employment; Creating the “Senator Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Protection Act”; prohibiting an employer from providing less favorable employment opportunities to employees based on their sex; prohibiting an employer from taking certain employment actions against employees; prohibiting an employer from engaging in certain activities relating to wages and benefits; prohibiting an employer from requiring employees to sign certain waivers and documents, etc. (Support)
- SB 302 by Senator Taddeo – Small Business Saturday Sales Tax Holiday; Defining the term “small business”; providing that small businesses are not required to collect the sales and use tax on the retail sale of certain items of tangible personal property during a specified timeframe; authorizing the Department of Revenue to adopt emergency rules, etc. APPROPRIATION: $200,000 (Support)
- SB 508 by Senator Brandes – Apprenticeship and Preapprenticeship Programs; Revising the requirements for the Department of Education’s annual report on apprenticeship and preapprenticeship programs; revising and providing additional duties for the department relating to apprenticeship programs; specifying that apprenticeship program sponsors who meet certain conditions are eligible to receive direct reimbursements from the department for apprenticeship programs; expanding the rights of parents of public school students to include rights relating to workforce education opportunities, etc. (Support)
Game Changer Priority Two: Civic Engagement
The NAACP’s Civic Engagement Plan’s theme, Fighting for Democracy, is the overarching message that we will convey to our members and the general public that indeed, “Our Votes Matter!”
We continue to:
- Support implementation of Amendment 4, as approved by the voters in November 2018
- Support making the right to vote a fundamental right
- Support the 2020 Census
- Oppose Prison-Based Gerrymandering
- Oppose state suspension of driver licenses without notice or reasonable cause
Select Bills on Our Radar:
- HB 39 by Representative Geller – Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote: Provides for enactment of Agreement Among States to Elect President by National Popular Vote; provides method by which state may become member state; requires statewide popular election for President & Vice President of U.S.; establishes procedure for appointing presidential electors in member states; provides that agreement becomes effective upon occurrence of specified actions; provides for withdrawal of member state; requires notification of member states when agreement takes effect in nonmember state or when member state withdraws from agreement. (Support)
- HB 103 by Representative Thompson – Elections: Revises provisions relating to office of Secretary of State, General Election Day, candidate qualifying, petitions, Division of Elections, supervisors of elections, voter registration, ballots, voting, vote-by-mail, canvassing, absent voters, dates for returns, & violations of election code. (Support)
Game Changer Priority Three: Environmental and Climate Justice
- Environmental injustice is about people in Detroit, Ohio, Chicago, Memphis, Kansas City, and elsewhere who have died and others who are chronically ill due to exposure to toxins from coal fired power plants and other toxic facilities. Clean coal and fracking are still relevant issues in Florida.
- Climate change is about the increase in the severity of storms which means that storms like Sandy and Isaac, which devastated communities from Boston to Biloxi, will become more of the norm. our sisters and brothers in the Bahamas, as well as Inuit communities in Kivalina, Alaska, and communities in Thibodaux, Louisiana and beyond, who will be losing their homes to rising sea levels in the coming few years. Climate change is also about sea level rise and its impacts on low income communities.
- Climate change and environmental injustice are about sisters and brothers from West Virginia to Tennessee who are breathing toxic ash from blasting for mountain top removal. There are also environmental justice issues the Glades area and other devastating impacts to our lakes, rivers and water system in Florida.
- Environmental injustice and climate change are about the fact that in many communities it is far easier to find a bag of Cheetos than a carton of strawberries and this only stands to get worse as drought and flooding impact the availability and affordability of nutritious food.
We continue to:
- Oppose nuclear and fossil fuel technologies as safe, viable alternatives to renewable energy
- Oppose Hydraulic Fracturing/Fracking
Select Bills on Our Radar:
- SB 136 by Senator Brandes – Energy 2040 Task Force; Creating the Energy 2040 Task Force within the Public Service Commission; requiring the task force to make recommendations, giving consideration to certain topics; specifying that the task force and any advisory committee members will serve without compensation, but are entitled to per diem and travel expenses; requiring that state agencies assist and cooperate with the task force and any advisory committees, etc. (Monitor)
- SB 222 by Senator Cruz – Abandoned Cemeteries; Creating the Task Force on Abandoned African-American Cemeteries; requiring the Department of State to partner with specified entities to undertake an investigation of the former Zion Cemetery site; requiring the department to contract with the University of South Florida and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University for the identification and location of eligible next of kin; directing the Division of Historical Resources of the department to ensure the listing of certain cemeteries in the Florida Master Site File; requiring the division to seek placement of historical markers at certain abandoned cemeteries, subject to certain limitations, etc. (Support)
- SB 546 by Senator Farmer – Well Stimulation; Creating the “Stop Fracking Act”; prohibiting persons from engaging in extreme well stimulation; prohibiting the Department of Environmental Protection from issuing permits that authorize extreme well stimulation; prohibiting the department from authorizing certain permitholders to engage in extreme well stimulation on or after a specified date; imposing a specified fine for violations, etc. (Support)
Game Changer Priority Four: Health
- The NAACP advocates for African-Americans and all people of color to have optimal health outcomes and access to timely, quality, affordable health care. African Americans continue to have the highest incidence, prevalence and mortality rates from chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, and issues like HIV/AIDS continue to overwhelm the Black community more so than any other racial or ethnic group.
- The NAACP is committed to eliminating the racial and ethnic inequities that exist within our health care system that undermine communities of color their life opportunities and their ability to contribute fully to the common good. We also support additional efforts to assist all Floridians who need health care and benefits from the Affordable Care Act.
We continue to:
- Support elimination of food deserts
- Support Prevention and early detection of HIV/AIDS funding and education
- Support additional funding and research supporting Alzheimer’s and dementia care
Select Bills on Our Radar:
- HB 9 by Representative Zika – Protecting Consumers Against Fraud During a Pandemic: Prohibits dissemination of false or misleading vaccine information with specified intent; provides prosecutorial authority & criminal penalties; authorizes civil remedies. (Support)
- SB 260 by Senator Harrell – Services for Veterans and Their Families; Requiring the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to establish the Florida Veterans’ Care Coordination Program to provide behavioral health care referral and care coordination services for veterans and their families; requiring the department to contract with a certain nonprofit entity to enter into agreements with Florida 211 Network participants to provide such services; requiring Florida 211 Network participants to collect program implementation data and to submit such data to the department; requiring the department to submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature by a specified date, etc. (Support)
Game Changer Priority Five: Criminal/Juvenile Justice
- The NAACP advocates for smarter, results-based criminal justice policies to keep our communities safe, including treatment for addiction and mental health problems, judicial discretion in sentencing, and an end to racial disparities at all levels of the system. We support continue to advocate for sentencing reforms and community policing reforms across the state.
- The United States is home to the world’s largest prison population. As “tough on crime” laws have put an unprecedented number of non-violent offenders behind bars in recent years, our neighborhoods feel no more secure. Florida is among the most protective of police from a discipline perspective.
We continue to:
- Support requiring all Law Enforcement Agencies to Track and Report Hate Crimes to the F.B.I. Uniform Crime Reporting System
- Support the Decriminalization and Regulation of Medical-and Adult-Use of Cannabis
- Advocate for Reparative racial justice measures in an effort for marijuana legalization
- Support Bail Reform in America
- Oppose stacking charges
- Support abolishing private prisons
- Revision of the police officers bill of rights particularly with regard to changes in the unfair advantages given the officers subject to complaints from departmental discipline and investigation.
- Addressing qualified immunity
Select Bills on Our Radar:
- HB 1 by Fernandez-Barquin – Combating Public Disorder: Authorizes residents of municipality to file an appeal to Administration Commission if municipality makes reduction to budget of municipal law enforcement agency; revises provisions prohibiting obstructing traffic; provides for cause of action against municipality for failing to provide law enforcement protection during riot; revises penalty for assault or battery committed in furtherance of riot or aggravated riot; revises minimum term of imprisonment for battery on law enforcement officer in furtherance of riot; revises prohibition on damaging memorial; revises penalties for burglary or theft during riot & facilitated by riot; revises prohibition on fighting in public place; prohibits specified assemblies from engaging in disorderly & violent conduct; prohibits inciting or encouraging riot; creates affirmative defense to civil action where plaintiff participated in riot or unlawful assembly. (Against)
- HB 25 by Representative Daley – Sales of Ammunition: Requires background checks for sale or transfer of ammunition. (Support)
- HB 123 by Rep. Sabatini – Carrying of Firearms Without Licenses: Removes requirement that license to carry concealed firearm is required in order to carry such firearm; limits areas in which concealed carrying of firearm is prohibited; revises criminal penalties; revises provisions relating to carrying of concealed weapons by nonresidents; provides for issuance of concealed carry licenses for reciprocity purposes; specifies that person not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing firearm may own, possess, & lawfully use firearms & other weapons, ammunition, & supplies for lawful purposes. (Against)
- HB 125 by Representative Hart – Inmate Placement: Requires DOC to confine inmates according to specified locational requirements by specified date; provides exception. (Support)
- HB 6007 by Rep. Grieco – Legal Holidays: Removes designations of birthdays of Robert E. Lee & Jefferson Davis & Confederate Memorial Day as legal holidays. (Support)
- SB 210 by Senator Brandes – Sentencing; Revising the required sentencing structure for prison releasee reoffenders upon proof from a state attorney which establishes that a defendant is a prison releasee reoffender; deleting a provision that prohibits a prison releasee reoffender from eligibility for any form of early release and that requires a prison releasee reoffender to serve 100 percent of the court-imposed sentence; deleting a provision that requires a state attorney to explain a sentencing deviation in writing under certain circumstances, etc. (Monitor)
- SCR 244 by Senator Book – Targets of the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee between 1956 and 1965; Acknowledging the injustices perpetrated against the targets of the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee between 1956 and 1965, and offering a formal and heartfelt apology to those whose lives, well-being, and livelihoods were damaged or destroyed by the activities and public pronouncements of those who served on the committee, etc. (Support)
- SB 259 by Rep. Williamson and Rep. Byrd – Safety of Religious Institutions: Authorizes, for specified purposes, concealed weapons or firearms licensee to carry firearm on certain property of church, synagogue, or any other religious institution. (Against)
- SB 448 by Senator Bracy – Hate Crimes; Designating as a hate crime the false reporting of the commission of a crime by a person in whole or in part because of certain beliefs or perceptions; providing criminal penalties; authorizing a court to impose a program or training directed at hate crime prevention and education, etc. (Support)
Game Changer Priority Six: Education
The NAACP works to ensure that every disadvantaged student and student of color graduates ready for college or a career by ensuring access to great teaching, fair discipline, equitable resources and challenging curriculum. We are dedicated to eliminating the severe racial inequities that continue to plague our education system. Our ultimate goal is that every student of color receives a quality public education that prepares him or her to be a contributing member of a democracy. We continue to focus on the “school to prison pipeline” and its impacts, Exceptional Student Education, ESSA implementation and advocate for a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools until issues raised have been addressed. We do not support school vouchers nor tax credit scholarships. We fully support restoring proper funding to traditional public schools statewide.
We continue to advocate for:
- Increasing Resource Equity: Target funds to neediest kids
- Ensuring College & Career Readiness: A path to success after graduation for all students
- Improving Teaching: Growing our own great teachers now in underserved communities
- Improving Discipline: Eliminate zero tolerance; keep kids in school (All applied to turnaround schools)
- Support for Pre-Kindergarten and Post-Secondary Education
- Opposing Arming School Staff as Part of a School’s Student Safety and Protection Plan
- Support for African American History in K-12 Curriculum-Reaffirming “Dr. W.E.B. Dubois, Justice Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, NAACP Education”
- Mandatory diversity and inclusion training in all school districts
- Reinstatement of the Obama Administration Guidance on School Discipline Reform by the Department of Education and the Department of Justice
Select Bills on Our Radar:
- SB 48 by Senator Diaz – Educational Scholarship Programs; Requiring the Auditor General to conduct certain audits at least every 3 years instead of annually; adding certain students to those whom district school boards must provide preferential treatment in the controlled open enrollment process; establishing the McKay-Gardiner Scholarship Program; prohibiting a student from participating in the program under certain circumstances; providing that program funding for specified children constitutes their full funding under part V of ch. 1002; providing commissioner authority and obligations relating to suspending or revoking program participation, etc. (Against)
- SB 192 by Senator Book – Students With Disabilities in Public Schools; Requiring school districts to prohibit the use of seclusion on students with disabilities in public schools; requiring school districts to adopt positive behavior interventions and supports and certain policies and procedures; creating the Video Cameras in Public School Classrooms Pilot Program; requiring continuing education and inservice training for instructional personnel teaching students with emotional or behavioral disabilities, etc. (Support)
- SB 200 by Senator Berman – Student Retention; Authorizing a parent to request that his or her student be retained in a grade level for a specified school year; requiring school district superintendents to grant such requests if they are timely received; requiring school districts to administer a certain assessment to specified students; clarifying that specified students may qualify for midyear promotion; authorizing a parent to request such promotion or to request that his or her student continue to be retained, etc. (Support)
- SB 254 by Senator Stewart – Education; Requiring specified teachers to have received, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree; requiring private schools to provide specified students with a certain amount of time for recess; requiring private school students to participate in the statewide assessment program; requiring private schools to comply with the State Requirements for Educational Facilities of the Florida Building Code, etc.
Other Areas of Interest:
- The NAACP Florida State Conference strongly supports an elected Secretary of State that is held accountable to all voters for fair and open elections. The addition of this role to the Cabinet will also bring an additional voice to statewide issues.
- The NAACP Florida State Conference fully supports the legislative agenda of our black colleges and universities. Specifically, we support our state’s public historically black college and university, Florida A&M University and our state’s private black colleges and universities which include Bethune Cookman University, Florida Memorial University, and Edward Waters College.
- The NAACP Florida State Conference encourages state government, county governments, municipalities, and school districts to officially recognize the correct end of slavery in the state as May 20th rather than “Juneteenth”. Slavery was ended with the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution on December 6, 1865. General order number 3 was read in Tallahassee on May 20, 1865. That was the day Florida surrendered and ended its participation in the Civil War.
- The NAACP Florida State Conference fiercely opposes the Governor’s “Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act, which is racist, discriminatory, unconstitutional and targets free speech.
- The NAACP Florida State Conference strongly supports full implementation of the state’s minimum wage constitutional amendment passed by voters with no exceptions.
- The NAACP Florida State Conference maintains full support for Affordable Housing Trust Funds – Support using William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Funds for solely affordable housing. The Federal Reserve lists home ownership in Florida as the lowest it has been in three decades. The Florida Housing Coalition reports that Florida has the third largest homeless population in the nation, and it’s growing. And the Florida Chamber of Commerce reports that workforce housing is a top concern for businesses across the state.
- The NAACP Florida State Conference encourages legislative action to reform the Judicial Nominating Committee process for selection of Supreme Court and other judges. Reflecting the diversity of our state in all appointments is critical including ensuring we have competent black leaders in all sectors of government.
- The NAACP Florida State Conference remains against payday lending and the potential expansion into installment lending. Pay day lending and other practices are bad for residents, homeowners and contributes to the great wealth divide for communities of color.
For more information on the NAACP Florida State Conference, please visit www.FLNAACP.com.