Florida women commission lobbies delegation on abortion, wage theft, shackling

Posted on: January 31st, 2012 by The American Independent 1 Comment

The Miami-Dade County Commission for Women sent a letter Monday to the Miami-Dade legislative delegation in Tallahassee, expressing its position on several “pending bills of particular importance to Florida’s women and girls.”

The letter highlights the commission’s opposition to abortion restriction bills and the wage theft preemption bill, and urges lawmakers to support measures that would prohibit the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners and grant unemployment benefits to victims of domestic violence.

“We are a county advisory board on women’s issues and try to improve the status of women in the community,” Laura Morilla, the director of Miami-Dade’s Commission for Women, tells The Florida Independent. Morilla says the commission is nonpartisan and all members are appointed by the county commissioners.

The Miami-Dade delegation is made up of 25 members: seven senators and 18 representatives. State Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, R-Miami, is the current chair of the delegation, and Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, serves as the vice chair.

The Commission for Women letter urges legislators to “enact without delay”

  • Senate Bill 328/House Bill239, which creates a lottery scratch-off ticket that funds breast cancer research and services for low-income, uninsured breast cancer patients.
  • House Bill 623, which provides for cancer chemotherapy treatment parity.
  • House Bill 367/Senate Bill 524, which “prohibits the use of restraints on a prisoner that is known to be pregnant during labor, delivery and postpartum recovery.”
  • House Bill 99/Senate bill 202, which “tackles the heinous crime of child sexual exploitation in a comprehensive manner.”
  • House Bill 1083/Senate Bill 1440, which “would make domestic violence a good cause for unemployment eligibility” benefits.
  • Post Secondary Student Fees (“Florida Dream Act”) and Resident Status for Tuition Purposes, two bills filed in the House and Senate that would “establish and clarify rules regarding which students would qualify for resident tuition rates at the Florida universities and colleges.”

The letter also urges legislators to oppose the following bills:

  • The wage theft preemption bill ”that would wipe out Miami-Dade County’s successful Wage Theft Ordinance and prevent other counties and municipalities from enacting similar ordinances.”
  • The alimony revision bill, which the Commission for Women believes “is a solution in search of a problem.”
  • The various abortion restriction bills, “basically designed to make it more difficult for a woman to terminate a pregnancy, and in some cases would outright ban abortion, which is a perfectly legal medical procedure in the United States.”

On the abortion restriction bills the letter adds that while “the Legislature professes to be in favor of less government interference … year after year, it deems it necessary to intrude when it comes to women’s health issues, personal decisions and relationships with their doctors.”

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