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Florida's 2012 Legislative Session: Texting Ban, Abortion Bill, School Prayer, Foreign Law, And Pitbull Ban

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Get ready to see Geico ads on your nature hikes through state parks and to be able to dye your poodle pink: The Florida Legislature wrapped up its 2012 session on Friday amongst much criticism that the state was forcing American politics back to the Culture Wars of the 1990s.

Despite widespread economic woes, many of the bills that passed through the House and Senate danced with moral issues like women's reproductive rights, Islamic law, and school prayer.

In the end, Florida politicians, when they weren't busy debating Jay-Z lyrics, made progressive strides in regards to women's reproductive rights, poor seniors, the families of fallen soldiers, and foreign law.

But they also passed or failed some bills that will continue to make our state a punch line on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and SNL's Weekend Update.

An ethics bill prohibiting senators from participating in legislation that could result in their own personal gain was rejected while a bill giving universities more freedom to increase tuition was approved.

A texting-while-driving ban was axed despite the known dangers and "inspirational messages" were approved in public school despite the constitutional disputes regarding church and state.

Here are the highs and lows (mostly lows) from the 2012 Florida Legislative session. Any bills passed must still be approved by Governor Rick Scott.

The Good:

Foreign Law Ban (Failed): Would have prohibited foreign law in domestic courtrooms, considered to be driven by a fear of Muslims and Sharia law.

Healthy Pregnancies for Incarcerated Women (Passed): Bans the shackling of pregnant prisoners during labor and after delivery.

Gaming (Failed): Would have allowed up to three mega-resort casinos in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area.

Wage Protection for Employees (Failed): Would have placed the responsibility of wage theft investigations on understaffed state and prohibited cities and counties, specifically Miami-Dade, from passing laws to combat wage theft.

Anti-Abortion Measures (Failed): Would have required a 24-hour waiting period for abortions, that doctors attend yearly ethics course and describe fetal pain to mothers, and banned some second trimester abortions.

Additional Homestead Tax Exemption for Seniors (Passed): Allows counties and cities to reduce property taxes for poor seniors.

Homestead Tax Exemption for Fallen Heroes (Passed): Permits homestead property tax relief to the surviving spouse of a military vet who died from service-connected causes while on active duty or a surviving spouse of a first responder who died in the line of duty.

The Bad

Inspirational Messages In Schools (Passed): Allows students to recite "inspirational messages" at mandatory school events as long as faculty is not involved.

Texting While Driving Ban (Failed): Would have made texting while driving a secondary offense. According to Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9, 71 percent of Floridians support such a ban.

Private Ads on State Trails (Passed): Private advertisements will be allowed on certain state greenway and trail facilities or property.

Ethics (Failed): Would have prohibited state politicians from participating in any legislation that could result in personal gain or loss of the member or his or her relative.

Random Drug Testing (Passed): Permits state agencies to randomly drug test employees every 3 months.

HPV Prevention (Failed): Would have required 6th grade students to receive information about human papillomavirus, as well as information about a vaccine that can prevent infection. CDC reports that HPV is so common that at least 50% of sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives.

Tuition Increase (Passed): Allows Florida's universities to increase tuition.

Pitbull Ban Reversal (Failed): Would have removed the provision banning dangerous dogs specific to breed.

Food Stamps (Failed): Would have prohibited people from using food stamps at strip clubs or casinos or to buy junk food.

Stadiums as Homeless Shelters (Failed): Would have required stadium owners to return tax money if they do not use stadiums as homeless shelters.

Animal Dye Ban Reversal (Passed): An amendment on an agricultural bill reverses the ban on dyeing animals artificial colors.

Around the Web

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