Florida House House Bill 1143 — which contains a provision that would require ultrasound tests for pregnant women seeking abortions in the first trimester — still has not yet made it to Gov. Charlie Crist’s office.
Women would be required to pay for the ultrasound and to look at the ultrasound image or listen to a description of it, and if a woman’s insurance company accepts government money, her insurance won’t cover the procedure.
When asked about the delay, Stephanie Kunkel, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates (FAPPA) tells The Florida Independent, “This is rather unusual in that in previous years House and Senate offices would work with the governor’s office on a timeline to present bills for his review, signature or veto. As to why this bill is being held now, after all, other bills that passed the legislature have been presented to the governor nearly three weeks ago, is anyone’s guess.”
FAPPA opposes bill 1143.
“The bills go on as the Speaker is ready to send them,” says Jill Chamberlain, communications director for Rep. Larry Cretul, the Speaker of the House. “It will be sent between now and July 1, and there is no special or specific reason for the delay,” she adds.
Lucila Gongora, from the governor’s press office, tells TFI, “Only Press Secretary Sterling Ivey can speak about the delay on 1143. He is currently with the governor in Louisiana.”
TFI contacted 1143 sponsor Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, and House Majority Leader Rep. Adam Hasner R-Delray Beach, to ask about the delay. They did not return calls or respond to emails.
Mark Hollis, communications director for the Florida House Democratic Caucus calls 1143 “a pretty significant public policy bill. It is not uncommon for legislators to work with the governor’s office to manage the flow of bills, but now that’s not the case. [Republicans] pummeled the governor’s office with a substantial number of bills, but kept out 1143.”
He surmises, “They are trying to build pressure on the governor, or make a national political issue of this bill.”
Update: House Bill 1143 was presented to Gov. Crist at 2:15 this afternoon.
[Pic via flickr.com/photos/redjar]