Legislative Advocacy

Support for the positions of public policy and specific items of legislation noted on this page and in Action Alert emails are initiatives of the UU Justice Florida.

Supporters of UUJF urge our elected representatives and appointees in local, state and national offices to support public policy and legislation consistent with values of faith and principle. We insist that the administration of justice and governmental operations be unbiased, transparent, compassionate, accountable, non-partisan, fair and ethical. We urge that long term challenges and opportunities facing our state be addressed with a focus on prevention rather than remediation. Proposed actions to address areas of specific interest and concern are detailed below.

UU Justice Florida supporters are encouraged to schedule virtual meetings with their legislators before the start of each Legislative session, develop relationships and respond to email Action Alerts regarding legislation that will come before their representatives in Committee hearings or in subsequent votes on the House or Senate floor.

The biggest obstacle to passage of bills supported by UUJF is getting Committee Chairs to place bills of interest on their committee agendas for hearings and votes. Use the guidelines in the following section to address and overcome these obstacles.

Resources and Strategy for Meetings with Elected Representatives

  • Sign up for Action Alerts on the Take Action page.
  • Join or form a team with members of your congregation or affiliated organization. Schedule meetings virtually or in your Legislators’ district offices in person before the start of each Legislative session.
  • Edit the Legislative Agenda to include contact and demographic information about your congregation or partner organization and print copies for your legislators and staff.
  • Congratulate your Legislators on their recent election in a letter or email. Include a copy of the Legislative Agenda saying that it expresses your (faith) values of justice, compassion and support for the democratic process.
  • Refer to the Bills-2023 tab on the Legislative Tracker for links, talking points and additional information on bills of interest.
  • Look up committee assignments for your Senator and Representative. Note whether they chair or sit on committees to which bills of interest have been referred.
  • Urge your legislators to file, co-sponsor or support bills consistent with positions expressed in the Legislative Agenda.
  • Urge House and Senate Chamber Leadership and Committee chairs to place to these bills on meeting agendas of committees to which they have been referred for hearings.

Legislative Agenda

Environmental Protections and Sustainability

  • Set goals and timetables for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions
  • Ban fracking and matrix acidizing
  • Set goals and timetables for the transition to sources of renewable energy from fossil fuels
  • Continue to fund the purchase of Florida Forever lands and enact protections from development
  • Protect springs, aquifers, Everglades and coral reefs from overdevelopment and pollution
  • Support the proposed ‘Right to Clean and Healthy Waters Amendment
  • Replace septic tanks with sewers and water treatment systems
  • Reduce the solid waste stream – compost organic waste and expand recycling efforts
  • Regulate land application of biosolids containing nutrients that feed toxic algae in rivers
  • Address sea level rise and salt water intrusion
  • Replace pre-harvest sugar field burning with sustainable, burn-free green harvesting
  • Breach the Rodman Dam and restore the Silver, Ocklawaha and St. Johns Rivers

Criminal Justice Reform

  • Support programs to reduce prison populations, recidivism and end mass incarceration
  • Facilitate re-entry programs with occupational licensing reforms and job training
  • Support civil citations and similar diversion programs for youth and adults
  • Recognize and end racial disparities in the criminal justice system
  • End cash bail and drivers license forfeiture for failure to pay fines that criminalizes poverty
  • End the war on drugs and reduce or eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing
  • End solitary confinement and protect the dignity and well being of prisoners
  • Expand police force anti-bias and de-escalation training
  • Hold police accountable for use of excessive force
  • End or limit the qualified immunity doctrine for police officers
  • End privatization of prisons that incentivizes recidivism
  • Transfer incidents involving substance abuse, domestic violence, mental health and homelessness from law enforcement agencies to agencies with expertise in those fields
  • Ban chokeholds, end racial and religious profiling, require use of bodycams and dashboard cameras and prohibit certain no-knock warrants
  • Expunge the nonjudicial arrest records of youth who completed diversion programs and keep their records private
  • Expand hate crimes laws
  • Abolish the death penalty

Disaster Resiliency and Recovery

  • Repair and rebuild hurricane damage so that Florida can be a model of climate resilience and sustainability
  • Require infrastructure vulnerability assessments and fund flood mitigation projects
  • Require post disaster rebuilding to account for sea level rise estimates
  • Provide temporary shelters and permanent affordable housing especially for those displaced by hurricanes and flooding

Education

  • Adequately fund teacher salaries to further excellence in education
  • Require and fund programs to address bullying, domestic violence and human trafficking
  • Eliminate the school to prison pipeline
  • Affirm that religious instruction and practice belong in the home and places of worship and not in public or private schools funded by the state or federal government
  • Oppose diversion of general revenue dollars to charter, private and religious schools
  • Require charter and private schools to meet the same standards as public schools
  • Support optional instruction and counseling on sexual orientation, gender identity, sex education and parenting at age appropriate levels
  • Permit the teaching of Critical Race Theory that examines social, cultural and legal issues as they relate to race and racism in higher education curricula

Election Reform

Gun Safety

  • Require universal background checks and waiting periods
  • Ban assault weapons, high capacity magazines and bump stocks
  • Repeal “Stand Your Ground” to discourage the unlawful and reckless use of firearms

Immigration Reform

  • Appreciate and welcome the diversity, talents and skills of immigrants and their cultures
  • Recognize and develop the potential of immigrants to become contributing and self-supporting participants in Florida’s labor force
  • Protect the rights of families and those seeking asylum while maintaining border security
  • End family separation and inhumane detention of immigrants
  • Allow law-abiding undocumented residents to receive work permits and driver’s licenses so that they may sustain themselves and their families with dignity and respect
  • Repeal E-verify and bans on sanctuary cities

Human Rights

  • Support women’s reproductive freedoms
  • Ban conversion therapy
  • Rescind prohibitions on gender-affirming care for adolescents
  • Recognize, acknowledge and end structural racism in health care and criminal justice
  • Affirm the Constitutional right to peacefully assemble and protest
  • Reject measures that marginalize and stigmatize members of the LGBTQI+ community

Public Health and Safety

  • Declare that universal and affordable health care is a human right
  • Expand Medicaid to increase coverage and take advantage of Federal funding
  • Treat mental illness, substance abuse and addiction as noncriminal public health issues
  • End human trafficking
  • Fund and staff state and local agencies to prevent the spread of pandemic diseases
  • Require that state health regulations, guidelines and recommendations be consistent with peer reviewed medical studies
  • End taxpayer funding for bogus anti-abortion clinics
  • Ensure access to family planning clinic entrances
  • Provide uninterrupted access to gender-affirming care for transgender and gender-diverse minors and adults

Budget and Tax Reform

  • Re-enact combined reporting of income for multi-state corporations, the throwback rule and eliminate corporate tax loopholes
  • Protect Affordable Housing and other Trust Fund accounts as intended in enabling legislation

Economy, Infrastructure and Job Creation

  • Fund job creating programs and infrastructure improvements for public schools, broadband accessibility, public transportation, high speed rail, environmental remediation, septic system replacement and conversion to renewable energy
  • Prohibit employers from excluding felons from initial interviews for employment

Home Rule vs. Preemption to the State

  • Acknowledge that local officials must be entrusted to balance the interests of property owners, residents, tourists, businesses and developers to protect the character of their neighborhoods, the environment, public health, public safety and jobs
  • Curtail influence of special interest groups and their lobbyists
  • Require a supermajority vote to enact preemption of local control and regulation to the State