- 1 Updates
- 2 Actions Taken by the State Government
- 3 Elected Officials
- 4 Key Upcoming Elections
- 5 Obamacare / ACA
- 6 Policing
- 7 Immigration
- 8 Voting Rights
- 9 Mass Incarceration
- 10 Benefits / Tax Cuts
- 11 Housing / Infrastructure
- 12 Women's Rights / Reproductive Justice
- 13 LGBTQ+ Issues
- 14 Educational Justice
- 15 Consumer Protections / Worker's Rights
- 16 Climate / Environment
- 17 Disability Rights
- 18 Organizations
- 19 Local News Sources
- 20 Relevant City and County Information
- 20.1 Jacksonville
- 20.2 Miami
- 20.3 Orlando
- 20.4 Tampa
- 20.5 St. Petersburg
Actions Taken by the State Government
Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice
Important bills proposed by Florida lawmakers this legislative session that should be supported:
- SB 290, which would end mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes.
- SB 312, which would require blind suspect lineups.
- SB 296, which would require police record interrogations of felony suspects in full.
- HB 623/SB 666, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
- SB 494, which would expand victims of wrongful incarceration eligible for compensation to include individuals convicted of nonviolent felonies.
Harmful bills proposed by Florida lawmakers this legislative session that should be opposed:
- Bill would prohibit cities and counties from becoming sanctuaries.
- SB 1096 Provides criminal penalties for protesters obstructing traffic and exempts drivers from liability if they struck a protester under certain conditions. 
- “HB 245 a reiteration of the already controversial “Stand Your Ground” defense law, this bill would make it so that rather than a defendant proving their claim of self defense, the prosecutor would have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt that use of force was not justified.
- “SB 128 a reiteration of the already controversial “Stand Your Ground” defense law, this bill would make it so that rather than a defendant proving their claim of self defense, the prosecutor would have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt that use of force was not justified.
See also the main policy pages for federal legislative tracking.
- Governor, Rick Scott 
- Secretary of State, Ken Detzner 
- Speaker of the House, Richard Corcoran 
Key Upcoming Elections
Click here to find out if you are registered to vote.
Competitive House Districts in 2018
- Florida District 7 is a competitive district with the potential to flip to red. Representative Stephanie Murray (D) won the 2016 election with 51.5% of the vote. Clinton won the district in the 2016 presidential election with 51.4% of the vote.
- Florida District 13 is a competitive district with the potential to flip to red. Representative Charlie Crist (D) won the 2016 election with 51.9% of the vote. Clinton won the district in the 2016 presidential election with 49.6% of the vote.
- Florida District 26 is a competitive district with the potential to flip to blue. Representative Carlos Curbelo (R) won the 2016 election with 53% of the vote. Clinton won the district in the 2016 presidential election with 56.7% of the vote.
- Florida District 27 is a competitive district with the potential to flipto blue. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) won the 2016 election with 55% of the vote. Clinton won the district in the 2016 presidential election with 58.6% of the vote.
- Hialeah Mayoral elections 
- Miami Mayoral election will be held in Nov 2017 (filing deadline Sept 23rd) 
- St. Petersburg Mayor election; Primaries August 29th General November 7th 2017 (filing deadline June 23rd) 
Miami-Dade County: Katherine Fernandez Rundle, first elected in 1994 and reelected (without a challenger) in 2016, is Miami's head prosecutor (State Attorney). While Miami is a liberal enclave in Florida and among the most liberal cities in the country, Rundle (a Democrat) continues to use criminal justice policies that have been abandoned by or have lost support in much of the country. For example, she supports the "direct transfer" of juveniles to adult court, which leaves who is tried as an adult entirely up to prosecutorial discretion. Under Rundle, Miami-Dade County was 16th out of the 3,143 counties in the US that had five or more death sentences from 2010 to 2015. Every single one of the death sentences during that timeframe was for people of color, and 86% of them were sentenced to death by a non-unanimous jury (a rare practice which has since been ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court). For more than a decade until his retirement, Rundle retained Assistant State Attorney Abe Laeser, who obtained more death sentences than any other Florida prosecutor. In addition, Abe Laeser once stated about juvenile justice that, "Just because you are six months or 10 months from reaching the magic age of 18 doesn't change the fact you are essentially a broken toy at this point—and you are not going to get fixed."
- Hialeah City Council elections 
- Miami City Council elections will be held in Nov 2017 (filing deadline Sept 23rd) 
- Orlando City Council elections 
- St. Petersburg City Council elections; Primaries August 29th General November 7th 2017 (filing deadline June 23rd) 
- A Florida State University survey found that respondents see the state health-care marketplace as being largely successful, particularly in population-dense areas.
- If there is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, 1,370,000 people in Florida (or 6.8% of the population) are estimated to lose coverage, whereas 2,230,000 people (or 11.0% of the population) will lose coverage with a partial repeal. (Retrieved 1/26/2017 from ACA Repeal Impact, state-by-state.) This is because with a full repeal, premiums will not increase the way they would under a partial repeal, since insurance companies will be able to discriminate on the basis of preexisting conditions and won't be required to provide essential health benefits. Not covering preexisting conditions will disproportionately affect people with disabilities. The number would be even higher, but Florida chose not to expand Medicaid, so fewer people gained insurance under the ACA.
- The number of uninsured people in Florida is predicted to be 2,532,000 by 2021 under the ACA. Without the ACA, that number is expected to rise to 4,310,000, a 70.2% increase.
- Florida is among the states that lost the ability to place lifetime limits on coverage, because that practice is banned by the ACA; those limits are likely to be reinstated under a full repeal.
- Prior to the ACA's ban on gender-rating, women in Florida could pay up to 53% more for the same coverage compared to men; an ACA repeal could bring back that coverage gap.
- One study estimates that Florida stands to lose 181,000 jobs in the case of a full repeal.
- Under the ACA Repeal-and-Delay Strategy, young adults in Florida could pay $648 more in 2018.
- Police have been found to use deadly force at high rates in Florida, and in many of the largest police departments in the state. For example:
- Police killed 371 people in Florida from 2013 through 2016.
- More than three times as many people are killed by police in Florida than New York, despite the fact that the two states have similar-sized populations and demographics.
- Among Florida's largest cities, Orlando and St. Petersburg police departments kill civilians at the highest rates per capita, while Hialeah and Miami police departments are among the lowest. The Orlando police department has the highest rate of killings by police among the nation's 100 largest cities.
- Where race has been identified, 39% of those killed by police in Florida were black, despite only 15% of Florida's population being black.
- More black people are killed by police in Florida than in any other state.
- Where race has been identified, the majority of unarmed people killed by police in Florida are black (51%).
- At least 31% of black people killed by police in Florida were unarmed, compared to 17% of white people killed by police.
- Florida's deadly force law lacks common-sense restrictions on police's use of deadly force. It does not require officers to exhaust all reasonable alternatives before resorting to deadly force, a legal standard that states such as Delaware and Tennessee have already adopted. Furthermore, instead of requiring officers to de-escalate when possible—including through the use of tactical disengagement—Florida law states that officers "need not retreat or desist from efforts to make a lawful arrest because of resistance or threatened resistance to the arrest." A recent study showed that police departments that required that officers exhaust all reasonable alternatives before using deadly force are 25% less likely to kill people, and those that required de-escalation were 15% less likely to kill people.
- Florida's Law Enforcement and Correctional Officer's Bill of Rights law makes it harder to hold police accountable in Florida than in most other states. The law disqualifies certain civilian complaints against police officers, restricts and delays interrogations of officers, gives officers access to all evidence, including body camera video recordings, prior to an interrogation, and limits civilian oversight of police departments.
- Florida law does not require independent investigations and special prosecutions of police-involved killings, a law that is currently in place in Connecticut and New York.
- Nearly one in five Floridians are foreign-born citizens, and more than half of them are naturalized and eligible to vote.
- Florida has nearly as many immigrants as Los Angeles has residents.
- 19.9% of Floridans were naturalized citizens or US-born children of immigrants, according to an analysis of 2012 Census Bureau data by the American Immigration Council.
- Nearly a quarter of Floridians are Latino, and they made up 17.3% of Florida voters in the 2012 elections.
Rights of Non-Citizens
- Unauthorized immigrants in Florida cannot obtain a drivers' license without a Social Security number, proof of address, and proof of legal immigration status.
- Florida's public universities offer in-state tuition benefits for unauthorized immigrants.
- Florida is one of twenty-six states to have filed a lawsuit challenging implementation of President Obama's DACA order.
- Unauthorized immigrants provided $706 million in state and local taxes in 2010, including $633.7 million in sales taxes and $72.6 million in property taxes.
- As of 2012, unauthorized immigrants made up 6.9% of the Floridian workforce, or 650,000 workers.
- If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Florida, the state would lose $43.9 billion in economic activity, $19.5 billion in gross state product, and approximately 262,000 jobs.
Miami-Dade County, Hernando County, Pasco County, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Palm Beach County, and Broward County each have restrictions on compliance with ICE detainers.
According to State Department data, 808 refugees were resettled in Florida in 2016.
- In 2011, lawmakers reduced the early voting period, which contributed to long lines in the 2012 election. The legislature responded in 2013 by restoring some of the early voting days. Florida also passed new restrictions on voter registration drives. Some aspects of this law were stopped by a federal court in August 2012. The state of Florida revokes any felon's right to vote for life. It is one of three states with such restrictive laws.
- Bills have been introduced in the Florida House and Senate to implement automatic voter registration. They will be considered in the upcoming legislative session.
- Florida had 155,300 incarcerated people in 2014, with 102,870 individuals in prison and 52,430 in jail.
- 233,017 individuals were serving probation in 2014, while 4,683 individuals were on parole.
- 12.2% of the Florida incarcerated population was serving life sentences, and 8% of the population was serving life without possibility of parole.
- The black imprisonment rate was 1,621 per 100,000 individuals, compared to 448 per 100,000 for white individuals, and 85 per 100,000 for the Hispanic population.
- 10.43% of the Florida population is disenfranchised due to felony convictions, while the black Florida population is disenfranchised at a rate more than twice that, 21.35%.
- Florida spent $2,585 million on corrections in 2014.
Benefits / Tax Cuts
- Florida residents who face a tax increase under Trump’s plan:
- Households: 508,000
- Adults and children: 1,477,000
- Children: 870,000
- In 2015, an average of 2,009,594 households and 3,656,169 individuals received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) in any given month in Florida. In 2011, approximately 16% of the population of Florida was receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps). The average monthly benefit per Florida household was $237 per household and $129 per person in 2016.
- In 2016, an average of 79,040 households, including 47,592 families and 66,629 children, received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is direct financial assistance, in any given month. The average monthly benefit for a single parent with three children residing in Florida was $303 in 2014. Average benefits in Florida have fallen in value by 34.4% since 1996.
- In 2016, an average of 117,868 women received funds from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in any given month.
- In 2015, there were 134,495 Social Security recipients receiving an average of $443.48 per person, for a total of $59,646,000..
Housing / Infrastructure
- 674,200 low-income families spent more than half of their income on housing.
- In 2014, Florida had 22 units of affordable and available housing for every 100 households categorized as “extremely low income” (at or below 30% of the area median income.)
- In Florida, there were 33,559 homeless people in 2016.
- Of the homeless population, there were 3,031 families, 2,902 veterans, 1,580 unaccompanied young adults (18-24), and 5,895 people experiencing chronic homelessness.
- Florida received $1.5 billion in federal rental assistance funding in 2014.
- In Florida, more than 201,000 families relied on federal rental assistance in 2014.
- Nearly all Florida households using federal rental assistance included children, elderly people or disabled people.
- Florida’s infrastructure received a score of C from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2016.
- This study gave the state “good” scores for aviation, bridges and ports, and identified schools, stormwater and coastal areas as being in “poor” condition.
- In 2013, the Department of Transportation found that 16.9% of Florida’s bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 26% of Florida’s roads were in poor or mediocre condition.
- Driving on these roads leads to an additional $128 per motorist per year in increased vehicle repairs and operating costs.
Women's Rights / Reproductive Justice
- Florida has 22 Planned Parenthood centers.
- In 2015, 18 centers were in rural, medically underserved, or health provider shortage areas.
- On average, there is one Planned Parenthood for 170,500 women of reproductive age.
Policy Solutions / Issues
- There were 86 abortion providers in Florida in 2015.
- In 2014, 32.7 out of every 1,000 women of reproductive age in Florida had an abortion. The national abortion rate is 14.6.
Policy Solutions / Issues
- Parental consent and notice is required for minors.
- Ultrasound requirements exist.
- Abortion is prohibited at 24 weeks except in cases of life or health endangerment.
- Medical abortion is limited.
- Private insurance coverage is limited.
- State Medicaid does not fund most abortions.
- TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws exist.
Women and Wages
- In Florida, 15.3% of women live in poverty. Single mothers make up 37.1% while women aged 65 and older make up 11.5%. These figures are above the national averages, which are 36.5% and 10.3%, respectively.
- For every dollar made by men, women are paid $0.87, which is seven cents above the national average of $0.80.
- African American women are paid $0.61 for every dollar paid to white men, while Latina women make $0.59 for every dollar made by white men. Both figures are below the national averages, which are $0.63 and $0.54, respectively.
Domestic Violence in Florida
- In 2013, there were 108,030 domestic violence incidents reported to the FLorida police department.
- In 2013, overall crime rates decreased but rates of domestic violence remained the same and the incidence of stalking increased 19%.
- In 2013, there were 170 domestic violence homicides in Florida.
- Guns were used in 56% of domestic violence homicides from 2006 to 2012 in Florida.
Religious Freedom Law
Religious Freedom laws protect the right of people to practice their religion and limit laws imposing on that right, and were intended to protect religious minorities.  A state Religious Freedom Restoration Act was enacted in Florida in 1998 for that purpose, but it has been recently used to say the rights of individuals or business owners are violated if they are not allowed to deny service to LGBTQ+ people.
Florida does not have any nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, adoption, foster care, insurance, credit, state employment or jury selection. Despite campaigns by advocates and pro-equality lawmakers, efforts to pass such laws in 2016 failed. They could, however, be renewed in 2017. Florida considered a so-called “bathroom bill” (forcing trans individuals to use the public toilets matching their gender at birth and not their gender identity) in 2015, but it was never enacted.
Florida has passed nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in surrogacy and granting parental presumption for same-sex couples. It lacks laws on second-parent adoption and nondiscrimination in foster care, as well as laws granting de facto parent recognition for same-sex couples. Florida does not have laws on consent to inseminate (meaning that in case of the insemination of one member of a female same-sex couple, the partner not carrying the child is not automatically recognized as a parent).
Hate crime laws
Florida does include LGBTQ+ people in its hate crime laws as a protected group and does require reporting of hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people.
Florida has passed anti-bullying laws covering cyberbullying and enumerating model policies, but they do not explicitly mention LGBTQ+ youth. It also has passed laws promoting transgender inclusion in sports but does not have laws requiring school suicide prevention policies or protecting LGBTQ+ youth from conversion therapy. It does not have laws addressing LGBTQ+ youth homelessness or inclusive sex education or juvenile justice policies. Florida has also passed school laws that criminalize youth; these laws tend to disproportionately impact LGBTQ+ students. 
Health and Safety
Florida does not include LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections in ACA exchanges and does not ban insurance exclusion for trans health care. It does not include transgender health care in state Medicaid and does not provides inclusive health benefits for trans state employees. Florida allows gender marker change on drivers' licenses, but not on birth certificates. It has passed sodomy laws and HIV/AIDS criminalization laws, but does collect information on LGBTQ+ health.
- Florida is ranked 40th in per-pupil spending as of 2013, with an average expenditure of $5,162 per student.
- As of 2013, Florida ranked 43rd in teacher pay, with teachers earning an average of $46,944 per year.
- 87% of students in Florida attend public schools. As is the case in other states, students who attend private schools come from wealthier families, with private school families earning an average 82% higher income.
- As of 2014, public charter school enrollment accounted for 8.5% of total public school enrollment.
- Florida's overall graduation rate is 76%, which is below the national average. By subgroups, four-year graduation rates are as follows:
- White: 82%
- Latino: 75%
- Black: 65%
- Asian/Pacific Islander: 89%
- American Indian: 74%
- Economically Disadvantaged: 68%
- Limited English Proficient: 56%
- Students with Disabilities: 55%
Consumer Protections / Worker's Rights
- Florida’s minimum wage is $8.10, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25  but lower than Florida’s living wage of $10.89.
- Florida has no state law for paid sick leave.
- Florida has no state law for paid family leave.
- Florida has Right-to-Work laws, which means that the state can prohibit unions, that collectively bargain on behalf of both members and nonmembers, from requiring union fees for the services they provide to all workers they represent. They are designed to reduce unions' income and power.
- Florida is a state with an at-will exemption. "At-will" means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason, without breaking the law. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason, with no adverse legal consequences.
- Florida does not have a public policy exemption, meaning that an employer may not fire an employee if it would violate the state's public policy doctrine or a state or federal statute, including refusing to perform an act that state law prohibits (e.g., refusing an employer's request to commit perjury at a trial), reporting a violation of the law (e.g., reporting an employer's fraudulent accounting practices or use of child labor), engaging in acts that are in the public interest (e.g., joining the National Guard or performing jury duty) and exercising a statutory right (e.g., filing a claim under the state workers' compensation law).
- Florida does not allow for implied contract exemptions. An implied contract can be created in several different ways: oral assurances by a supervisor; or handbooks, policies or practices as written assurances by the employer. This means that if there is no written contract between the employer and employee, that employee may have an exception of fixed term or even indefinite employment based on an employer's statements. As a general rule, courts disregard language promising long-term, lifetime or permanent employment as aspirational and consider the relationship to be at-will.
- Florida does not support the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. Courts have interpreted the Covenant in different ways, from requiring just cause for termination to prohibiting terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice.
Climate / Environment
- Almost 15 percent of Florida’s electricity generation is nuclear, about 17 percent is from fossil fuels and the rest is from renewable sources. 
- Florida has 53 sites on the National Priorities List. 
- Approximately 8.23 percent of Florida’s land is federally owned. 
- In 2014, the Black & Latino populations had the highest air pollution exposure indices—of 50—compared to an overall index of 45 and a White index of 42. 
- In 2012, Native American adults in Florida were most likely to have asthma (12 percent), compared to 7.6 percent overall. 
- The environmental agency in Florida is the Department of Environmental Protection. 
- Florida released its “Climate Action Plan Final Report”, assembled by the Govenor’s Action Team on Energy & Climate Change on October 15, 2008. It includes 50 policy recommendations to develop and implement a cap-and-trade program to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 
- 13.4% of Florida's residents are disabled, compared with the national average of 12.6%.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1810]
- Florida adults with disabilities have an employment rate of 31.1%, compared to the national average of 34.9%. People without disabilities in Florida have a 74.1% employment rate.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1811]
- Approximately 16.3% of eligible voters in Florida have one or more disabilities, compared to a national average of 15.71%.
- Of adults with disabilities in Florida, 25.9% live in poverty, as opposed to 13.8% of non-disabled adults.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B23024] The poverty rate for disabled children under 5 is 53.9%, as opposed to 25.6% for non-disabled children.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B18130)
- In Florida, 5.0% of adults between 18 and 64 receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income), compared to the national average of 5.4%.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B19056]
Find state/local chapters of national organizations here.
Disability Rights Organizations
- Disability Rights Florida, the state disability Protection and Advocacy organization
- Florida Center for Inclusive Communities, at University of South Florida
Local News Sources
Relevant City and County Information
- The Florida Times-Union conducted an analysis of police-involved killings in Jacksonville, finding significant racial disparities and no accountability for the police involved.
- Rep. Kathy Castor (D), 202-225-3376