Major Concerns About This Bill:
- The bill states that all driver’s licenses and identification cards for people on the registry “shall have printed in the color red all information otherwise required to be printed on the front of the license or identification card.” HB 1085, lines 805-821
- This bill was passed by a vote of 16 to 2 in the Transportation & Modals Subcommittee on 3.15.2023 as a result of a good deal of misinformation. The sponsor, Rep. Patt Maney, did not seem to fully understand what the correct wording was in the bill relating to the red lettering, nor the decision that came out of the Alabama case.
- No committee member or analyst seemed to be aware of the court decisions in Alabama and Louisiana.
- This bill will be moving on to the Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee and the Infrastructure Strategies Committee, which are both in the House of Representatives.
PLEASE Do the Following:
- Call all members of the Infrastructure & Appropriations Subcommittee and the Infrastructure Strategies Committee
- Whether you talk to a person or voicemail, you must give your name and contact information (phone numbers work). Remember that all voicemails are checked, so you can call after hours.
- State that you OPPOSE the part of the bill that would require the red lettering on driver’s licenses for people on the registry.
- Mention that you are a constituent if you happen to live in the representative’s district.
- Give two brief reasons why you oppose the red lettering on the licenses.
- Ask family members and friends to also call to oppose the red lettering.
- The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Louisiana’s appeal of a decision against its 2006 law requiring that people on the sex offense registry have their driver’s license or identification card marked with “SEX OFFENDER” in orange letters. The Louisiana Supreme Court said the marking was compelled speech and could not be justified by the state’s interest in protecting public safety.
- In 2019, a federal judge struck down Alabama’s sex offense registration law that required registrants to carry a driver’s license or official ID with “CRIMINAL SEX OFFENDER” emblazoned in red.
- If this bill is passed as is, will Florida also be facing a costly lawsuit?
- There are currently 52 registry requirements for people on the sex offense registry. Every Florida legislator should have received a copy of the timeline of these registry requirements that started off with 3 in 1997 and have grown to 52 by 2020. Failure to fulfill any of these requirements could lead up to 5 years of imprisonment, even for the thousands of Florida registrants who are now law-abiding citizens.
- While there is no research showing a need for the red lettering on licenses, there is an abundance of research showing that the sexual recidivism rate for people with a past sex offense is lower than that for all other crimes, with the exception of murder.
- Research has shown that at least 90% of FUTURE sex crimes will be committed by people NOT on the registry.
- The first-of-its-kind meta-analysis study of 25 years of findings of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification (SORN) evaluations and their effects on recidivism was published in 2021. Eighteen research articles including 474,640 formerly incarcerated individuals were used. (Journal of Experimental Criminology,“The effectiveness of Sex Offender Registration and Notification: A meta-analysis of 25 years of findings”, Kristen M. Zgoba and Meghan M. Mitchell, September 2021)
- Some of the findings of the above-mentioned study: (1) The sex offense registries have had no effect on sexual and non-sexual crime commission over their periods of existence, thereby failing to deliver on the intention of increasing public safety; (2) Public safety could likely be maximized by focusing limited resources on the highest-risk individuals, rather than utilizing a one-size-fits-all law; and (3) It is time that we work as an empirically informed community, unhindered by emotion, to find a solution to reining the “horse back into the barn”, i.e., reining in the numerous sex offense registry statutes.
Even though the bill passed through the Transportation and Modals Subcommittee, comments were made by different representatives showing that some of the representatives did take note of the high number of calls their office received opposing the red lettering. YOUR CALL DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!
Phone Numbers for the Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee:
- Robert Andrade (Chair – R): (850) 717-5002
- Linda Chaney (Vice Chair – R): (850) 717-5061
- David Silvers (Democratic Ranking Member – D): (850) 717-5089
- Bruce Antone (D): (850) 717-5041
- Kimberly Berfield (R): (850) 717-5058
- Robert Brackett (R): (850) 717-5034
- Dan Daley (D): (850) 717-5096
- Tiffany Esposito (R): (850) 717-5077
- Mike Giallombardo (R): (850) 717-5079
- Jennifer Harris (D): (850) 717-5044
- Chip LaMarca (R): (850) 717-5100
- Vicki Lopez (R): (850) 717-5113
- Susan Plascencia (R): (850) 717-5037
- Felicia Robinson (D): (850) 717-5104
- Bradford Yeager (R): (850) 717-5056
Phone Numbers for the Infrastructure Strategies Committee:
- Bobby Payne (Chair – R): (850) 717-5020
- Sam Garrison (Vice Chair – R): (850) 717-5011
- David Smith (Republican Committee Whip – R): (850) 717-5038
- Christine Hunschofsky (Democratic Ranking Member – D): (850) 717-5095
- Robert Andrade (R): (850) 717-5002
- Adam Botana (R): (850) 717-5080
- Robert Brackett (R): (850) 717-5034
- James Buchanan (R): (850) 717-5074
- Hillary Cassel (D): (850) 717-5101
- Linda Chaney (R): (850) 717-5061
- Anna Eskamani (D): (850) 717-5042
- Tom Fabricio (R): (850) 717-5110
- Michael Gottlieb (D): (850) 717-5102
- Sam Killebrew (R): (850) 717-5048
- Johanna Lopez (D): (850) 717-5043
- Fiona McFarland (R): (850) 717-5073
- James Mooney, Jr. (R): (850) 717-5120
- Angela Nixon (D): (850) 717-5013
- Susan Plasencia (R): (850) 717-5037
- Felicia Robinson (D): (850) 717-5104
- Jason Shoaf (R): (850) 717-5007
- Cyndi Stevenson (R): (850) 717-5018
- Josie Tomkow (R): (850) 717-5051
- Keith Truenow (R): (850) 717-5026
Every call gets heard and tallied. Every respectful conversation with a staffer is an excellent opportunity to change a mind about our community with someone who has direct contact with a lawmaker. YOUR EFFORTS DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
I just received a call from one of the rep’s office that voted no in the first committee, as I had called them prior. We had a nice chat and she then informed me that it had moved on to two other committees, told me what they were and encouraged me to call those committees. So there you go! Call!
So my experience was, when I called during office hours and got an aide I was referred to my rep. So I called my rep and after hours left a VM for all committee members. I also emailed each committee member. Please be vigilant!
I’m sure there are many out there that are surprised this hasn’t happened already, but they feel emboldened to pass it NOW because everyone on the hit list falls into the “anti-woke” umbrella of exclusion and hate.
Something tells me things haven’t even gotten bad yet.
If this measure passes, it will only open the door for future insidious “notification” laws under the false guise of public safety.
We’re most likely 5 years away from QR code tattoos on our foreheads and the courts will claim “it’s no different than having one’s fingerprints taken.”
I am not sure why some people are saying that only a few offices received calls. What I heard at the meeting was that many offices received many calls.
While on the subject of contacting our Florida Legislators, I was very disturbed by the misinformation given out at the March 15 Transportation and Modals Subcommittee meeting along with the complete omission of some information So, I carefully listened again to the comments made and did a sort of fact check that I have mailed through the U.S. mail to all representatives on the Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee, which should be the next committee that HB 1085 goes to.
We might not be able to stop them from passing this bill, but at least they will not be able to say that no one told them the truth.
@ Education- Thank you!
I made all the calls to the next two committees. But I can’t bring myself to watch the video. I should, but it gets me to upset and then I can’t sleep.
Thank you for the calls. I can understand not wanting to watch the video. Others have said the same thing. I was so upset that I could not sleep that night and was up during the wee hours of the morning working on my fact-checking letter to the next committee members.
Education, I was thinking, the next time we update this Call to Action, we might use your fact-check letters to update the talking points. Now that we have a better idea of what committee members are being told and what they aren’t. What do you think?
Unless that takes too much time.
We might also de-emphasize the two court cases somewhat, for reasons I have outlined.
Just a thought, maybe only a few representative offices said they got calls, may be because some got weary of calling and give up before completely calling the list.
It’s daunting making the calls but we have to!
At least we can say we tried
Call and let the voices be heard. It is extremely targeted towards one particular group. These activities of coloring codes on drivers licenses are nothing more then the equivalent of the “scarlet letter”.
Apologies in advance for misused legal terminology – I’m a member but this is my first time commenting.
If this progresses to the point where it appears it could actually pass, could the lawyers prepare for a speedy injunction request and quickly-filed lawsuit before we all have to go pay money to get our scarlet letter licenses? Is that something we should proactively start funding?
For my part, I’m praying for the Lord to work in the hearts and minds of our lawmakers, and I encourage other believers here to do the same! He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,” (Eph 3:20), and “the heart of [our lawmaker] is in the hand of the Lord.” (Prov. 21:1). He sees the injustice we’re enduring – may He correct it and be glorified.
I’d love an injunction but that may be wishful thinking here. Our path of least resistance would be keeping this from getting out of committee.
I have called every representative listed above! Who else is with me?
Thank you for the calls.
I just called and left a message with everyone on both lists. Emailing is a lot easier! I don’t have high hopes that any of them will listen or that anything will change.
I don’t like it but in reality I probably don’t show my license but 2 or 3 times a year. Probably most of those people, like doctors office, wouldn’t know why it’s in red.
If it does pass I intend to renew my license just before the stature goes into effect. I don’t think they will make everyone renew their license after it becomes effective. It’s usually the next time it’s renewed. I think the renewal period is 6 or 8 years.
Thank you for the calls.
Since there were only 2 representatives in the meeting that claim their office had “many’ calls on the item, I would like to know how we can get an exact number of oppositions that actually had to this item in total, not just from the two representatives in attendance at the meeting. Shouldn’t that count for something? Just thinking outloud..
I can assure you that all the other representatives’ offices received plenty of calls. They just did not want to admit it.
Wanted to share my experience in calling the 39 representatives on the list for HB 1085.
All persons taking the calls were respectful.
Several were leave a message.
I found that most that I spoke to were unaware of the similar law in Alabama that was struck down in 2019.
Be kind keep it “Kiss”
Thanks again FAC for keeping us informed so we can be proactive.
Have a great day!
Thank you, SAILTIME.
Just called all numbers on 2 new committee members lists. Called all numbers on first committee members list a couple days ago. Spoke with someone at 3 numbers and left message at all other numbers.
Thank you for the calls.
If we all were to band together nationwide, friends, family and registered people and just say enough is enough. No. We aren’t doing it anymore, whats the outcome? I am thinking along the lines of civil rights movement
I’m willing to join for far too long we have been pushed into a corner with little to no representation. Slowly our rights are being eroded away to the point that we have none. We must fight for our very existence in this country we are citizens too and deserve our right to live without harrassment, shame, banishment or any other form of victimization. This is a modern day version of Germany in the 1930s so what’s next.
This is a key portion of the Alabama ruling (Doe v. Marshall):
For instance, instead of requiring the license to bear the inscription “CRIMINAL SEX OFFENDER,” some states have instituted a more discrete marking that would indicate the classification to a police
officer but not to the general public. See,e.g., Del. Code Ann. Tit. 21, § 2718(e)(2015) (using the letter “Y” to denote sex offender status); see also Fla. Stat. §322.141(3) (2016) (requiring a code to be printed for less serious offenders, but using the words “sexual predator” for the most
serious offenders). These less-intrusive identifiers would still accord with the State’s stated purpose in requiring the marking: “enable[ing] law enforcement officers to identify the licensee as a sex offender.”
The key point here is that the Alabama case supports the status quo in Florida, but not a more conspicuous marking for sex offenders that would alert the public instead of the police. Since the court held this to be compelled speech, the state is required to use the least restrictive means to accomplish its legitimate state interest. In Florida, the police already have a less restrictive means to tell whether the holder of a license/ID card is a sex offender: the blue statute number on the lower right of the license/ID card. It’s right there, to the left of the secondary photograph. If the police can’t tell already, then we have a serious problem with our police. The red letter marking, which would be much more conspicuous, would alert not only the police but the public, which the court held to be unlawful. So it’s not about color per se, but about expressing the message “this guy is a sex offender” in the least restrictive way possible. I think that the holding in the Alabama case supports the status quo in Florida but NOT a more conspicuous marking for sex offenders, whether that be red lettering (extremely conspicuous) or something other than a code.
RM, Thank you for clarifying this. I saw all the notices, and read the proposed changes and came to the conclusion that it was “only” a color change, no big deal in my opinion if it is red, blue, pink, green or black. HOWEVER, your explanation cleared up the mystery in my mind. Thank you again. Time to warm up the phone.
How do I know who to call or do I just go down the list and call everyone?
Start with the first committee, calling all members. Going by what happened in the Transportation & Modals Subcommittee, it has a decent chance of making it eventually to the Infrastructure Strategies Committee, too, but you could wait until it makes it through the Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee before going onto the second group listed above.
Call Everyone!!! Every Call and Letter Counts!
I don’t think I can take living in Florida anymore, politicians here don’t care – it’s all public fear tactics to get re-elected and nothing is based on the factual data. Just pile on more and more and more until we’re all in prison for some dumb FTR violation. Additional laws that nobody else has to follow even though we’re done with our sentences. Are there any states actually getting better? Any already better with promising outlooks for continuing to get better?
ill make the calls but i don’t know what its going to do because i made the calls last time and we got voted against 16-2
fighting it legally before it comes into law is the only way i see us getting anything done.
cant we use the Louisiana supreme court decision as a precedent?
Louisiana Supreme Court case is not legal precedent— they were not litigating the issue of font color, and it’s out of our circuit.
That’s not to say we can’t eventually bring some sort of challenge, but if we make these calls now, they at least can’t later claim that there was no popular opposition.
Our legal committee has said that in the case of a lawsuit, it is always good to show that there was opposition — lots of opposition.
FAC, the Alabama case SUPPORTED Florida’s driver license scheme. Why would we be foolish enough to lean on it?
Since we’re not in the business of posting links, you can google Florida Action Committee Alabama and click through the links to get to the opinion. Then scroll to Page 21. You’ll probably find that you don’t agree with it after all. Now imagine trying to argue before a court like that, that font color makes it protected speech.
For the Louisiana court, similarly, font color was NOT the issue.
We may be right that a red font makes it compelled speech. Or that what FL already has is compelled speech. I feel it is. But the courts have not yet said that.
I think the reason is that, as you said, the Alabama case does support the current scheme in Florida, but would not allow (at least for sexual offenders versus sexual predators) markings that would be less “discrete” (to use the Alamaba Federal District Court judge’s words) or that would alert the public instead of just the police. Our goal in opposing this bill is to preserve the status quo in Florida, not to roll back the current markings. That might be a fight for another day, but it’s not our fight of the moment.
The calls do matter. I know it may seem daunting, but please call. 2 people were against. In the past there probably would not have even been 2. We must keep at it.
I have called during the day and I still mostly get an answering machine. I note my name and phone number and that I am a resident of Florida and that I oppose HB1085.Often on a machine, I repeat the NO to the bill. If you do nothing else just do that. If you wish to expand, great. Even if it is just a few short words. But call!
I just called everyone on the infrastructure strategies committee. I wasn’t able to reach anyone, properly too late at night but I left my name, number, the court cases Louisiana Alabama and a piece of my mind. Anybody else?