TALLAHASSEE (FBW)—Ramping up for the 60-day 2014 legislative session that begins March 4, the Florida Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has announced they are days away from the launch of a new website www.FERLC.com and have activated a Twitter site @FloridaERLC and a Facebook page “Florida ERLC.”
Bill Bunkley, FERLC’s president, told Florida Baptist Witness the soft launch of the organization’s website is currently operational and will collect email addresses and notify subscribers when the informative website becomes fully functional.
“Those interested in receiving updates and supporting the work of the commission can sign up now at our website as well as connect with us on Twitter or Facebook,” Bunkley said.
The new social media approach is set to offer daily updates on breaking news stories featuring Florida and national issues related to the Christian worldview, Bunkley said.
And with the expanded exposure, there will be an increase in opportunities to support the effort of the non-profit ministry that has already been hard at work to review and flag every single proposed piece of legislation for the 2014 session.
“As ministry is expanding in Tallahassee and around the state it is essential that we also broaden our base of support,” Bunkley said.
He is asking Florida Baptist churches and other evangelical and like-minded businesses and individuals to consider generously supporting the organization’s “Watchman on the Wall” ministry with either an annual contribution or monthly support. He also asked for prayer support.
Some bills and issues FERLC is monitoring are:
►Sanctity of Life several bills have already been filed. Senator Stargel has SB 162 along with Representative Ahearn’s companion bill HB 59 that deals with “Offenses Against Unborn Children.” Representative Van Zant has filed HB 545 the “Florida For Life Act” which, among many provisions, would close down abortion provider facilities, prohibit most abortions and block any Affordable Care Act funds to be used for abortions. Van Zant has also filed HB 551creating the “Victim Viability Act” containing many of the provisions also provided for in his HB 545.
►Family issues Domestic Partnership legislation, SB 578 & HB 439, have been filed again and we anticipate it will again get a hearing in the Florida Senate. We also expect those with other than biblical convictions to the definition of marriage to challenge the Florida Marriage Act in our state constitution if not this year, in the years to come.
►Gambling will be a top issue for the legislature as well as the FERLC this session. After a controversial study sanctioned by the legislature that assess current gambling and future gambling options by a pro industry firm, The FERLC will be watching two differing approaches coming forth from Florida Senate and Florida House leadership. Look for a possible move to create a State Gaming Commission to oversee all gambling in the state that will be met by us with great skepticism.
►Granting in-state university tuition for undocumented students may get some traction this year as some positive comments by House Speaker Weatherford is getting attention. In that area we’ll be monitoring SB 300 & HB 275.
►Education as always will be a central focus of this session. Controversy over the national Common Core standardized curriculum and how Florida will proceed in this area will be a much debated topic. Only one bill, HB 25, has been officially filed opposing the standards. As both House and Senate education committees meet extensively on this issue we expect to see an attempt at some consensus legislation coming forth.
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