Tracking the Progress of Ending Florida's Free Kill Law
A four year history of Florida’s Free Kill law.
In brief summary, Florida’s Free Kill law has gained traction year over year. While we did not win again this year, we did gain a lot more traction and awareness, which is a win in itself. I have no doubt that we will progress to a full win of repealing this archaic draconian law.
Below is a recap of the past four years. Progress is clearly evident.
Rep Amy Mercado filed the first amendment ever, to repeal 768.21(8)
Rep John Cortez filed a bill to revise Florida’s Free Kill law as it pertains to disabled adult children.
Both bills die in the Civil Justice Subcommittee
Rep Emily Slosberg filed HB 6051 for a full repeal of Florida’s Free Kill. It goes unheard and dies in the Civil Justice Subcommittee.
Rep Spencer Roach filed HB 651 to repeal a portion of Florida’s Free Kill law, pertaining to the loss of Adult Children. The Florida House passes the bill
Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez files the first Senate Bill, as a companion to 651 that would repeal the law as it pertains to the loss of adult children. It goes unheard in the Senate.
Spencer Roach filed HB 6011 to repeal Florida Free Kill pertaining to the loss of adult children. Again, it passes in the Florida House.
Rep Yvonne Hinson files HB 6039 to repeal Florida’s Free Kill law as it pertains to the loss of a parent. Her bill goes unheard, but not unnoticed
Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez, files two Senate Bills, a companion to each House Bill in 262 and 560. Again, the Senate refuses to hear the bills.
More detail and a year over year summary:
In the Florida House 2019 Legislative Session, House Rep Amy Mercado filed an amendment on the tort reform bill that would repeal Florida’s Free Kill law. The amendment died in Civil Justice Subcommittee, squashed by House Representative Bob Rommel, who stated that this would never pass as long as he is in office. FMRA’s Board Chair appealed to the Civil Justice Subcommittee. Video here.
In 2020, we got one step closer to seeing an end to Florida’s Free Kill law when House Rep Emily Slosberg filed House Bill 6051 for a full repeal of Florida’s Free Kill law. The bill gained a lot of support and was co-sponsored by 8 additional House Representatives. It failed, however because as promised, Rep Rommel did not allow it to be heard in his committee. Read more here. Another bill was filed by House Rep Cortez, that would repeal the free kill law on behalf of adult children who were disabled.
In 2021, House Rep Spencer Roach took on the challenge of Florida’s Free Kill law. Rep Slosberg and 10 others joined him in co-sponsoring a bill for a partial repeal of the free kill law. If enacted 651 would allow parents of adult children to hold medical practitioners responsible for negligent death. The Civil Justice Subcommittee had enough support to not only hear the bill, but pass it. House Bill 651 went on to pass the full Florida House of Representatives. It was then sent in messages to the Florida Senate. The Florida Senate did not acknowledge the bill at all. Bluntly stated, they did not respond to the voice of the people at all. Read more about the 2021 session and bill here. Senator AnaMaria Rodriguez filed a companion bill to 651, that was never heard in the Senate.
In 2022 we saw a repeat of 2021. House Representative Spencer Roach filed House Bill 6011, to repeal free-kill on behalf of a parent who has lost an adult child. House Rep Yvonne Hinson stepped forward and filed 6039, to repeal free-kill on behalf of adult children who have lost a parent. The Florida House heard HB 6011 in spite of House Rep Wyman Duggan initially blocking the bill from the Civil Justice Subcommittee. It simply had too much support to not be heard. Again, the bill passed the full House of Representatives.
This time the FMRA community descended upon the Florida Senate building, determined to raise awareness among Senate members in an attempt to ensure that the bill would be heard. Senator AnaMaria Rodriguez filed two companion bills (Senate Bill 262 and 560), together they would fully repeal Florida’s Free Kill Law. Senator Rodriguez is the first Senator to file bills supporting a change in this law, ever. Unfortunately, the bills went unheard. Ultimately, the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Danny Burgess did not add the bill to the agenda, in spite of the people’s many pleas, in person meetings and hundreds of phone calls to his office.
Every year we get one step closer to advocacy efforts creating change. Do not give up hope. It is important that all of our advocates are ready to begin advocating for change again. Awareness is key. The more voices we have, spreading the truth of this ugly statute, the better our chances of winning will be.