The anti-choice legislators in Florida may have just been outmaneuvered.
In reaction to a last minute bill in the Florida legislature that requires all women seeking an abortion to pay out of pocket for an ultrasound before they can have the procedure, unless they show proof of rape or incest, Democrats did the unthinkable.
Florida’s House of Representatives is pretty much closed for business today. That’s because Republicans decided to bring up a last minute piece of pro-life legislation in the final days of the regular session. Democrats pulled a rare procedural move and have virtually shut the body down.Republicans added a measure that would make all women seeking abortions pay for an ultrasound and watch live footage while making the doctor explain what they’re seeing. Thing is, the measure never got a committee hearing or public debate in the Senate.
The Dems only have 44 seats in the House compared the Republicans’ 76, but they are allowed under procedure to block any bills coming from the senate that didn’t go through committee. So they have, and promise to continue the tactic until House Speaker Larry Cretul promises to not bring up the bill in the House.
Until they undo their procedural move, no more bills can be discussed or voted on.
Democrats say that they will unblock the floor if Republicans promise not to not bring up the abortion bill, but the Republicans are refusing to agree to the deal.
Democrats want a pledge that House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, won’t bring the abortion bill up for a vote. No agreement has been struck yet.
Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, defended the decision to halt legislative action. “The rules are there to balance the power and make sure one party doesn’t run roughshod over the other,” Waldman said. “We don’t want to deal with abortion and ultrasounds.”
With little else to do, the House reconvened this afternoon for Speaker Cretul’s farewell remarks, then promptly recessed until 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans said they still planned to send over the bill with the abortion language, HB 1143.
“They’re holding up some good bills over there. But as the Senate president has said, don’t fear the debate,” said Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando.
Tomorrow is the last day of session.