2018 Legislative Update: Week 1

2018 Legislative Update: Week 1


Welcome back heroes to your weekly
Florida AFL-CIO legislative update. The 2018 legislative
session is upon us and a dastardly group of supervillains hidden in plain sight,
peppered throughout the ranks of the Florida Legislature are doing their
worst to carry out the evil plans of their corporate overlords. “Here we go
again!” Fortunately our brave band of heroes the
men and women of the Working Families Lobby Corps are fighting back against
their foul plans for total domination. The session began as it always does with
a theatrical display by supervillain and chief Florida’s Governor Rick Scott. This
year’s State of the State address proved to be a giant campaign ad attempting to
fool the good people of Florida. Completely ignoring recent reports
showing that 36 counties in Florida have lost jobs and that nearly half of
Florida’s families are considered working poor, Governor Scott did what he does best regurgitated the same glittering
generalities over and over again to make us think they are true. Fortunately a
group of freedom fighters were there to squash the illusion, speak truth to power,
and awake the state to his true evil intentions by highlighting bills working
families are facing this legislative session. Regardless of what the governor
said in his state of the state address for his last thank goodness last legislative session, actions speak louder than words.
This governor and legislature have slashed the public education budget
every year. We must engage the public not to be fooled by politicians rhetoric. We
must await the state and vote for people in 2018 that care about the most
precious and valuable resource of this state our next generation, our students.
This is the year where people have to wake up where we awake the state and the
workers of this state take their homes back from the wealthy special interests
that have dominated for so long and say enough is enough, thank you very much. One of the vilest pieces of the supervillains plot is a tricky
constitutional amendment that would make it impossible for future legislatures to
raise revenue, close corporate tax loopholes, or get rid of unfair tax
giveaways. “You’ll all fly together up the river you birds of a filthy feather” HB 7001
would lock Florida’s essential public services near the bottom for
generations. Making it impossible to ever improve education, health care, or our
infrastructure just so the rich and big corporations can keep from paying their
fair share in taxes. “Contrary to what everybody in this building says and of
course that change is based on the issue Florida is not doing well right now. If
you were to look at our revenue on a trendline and see how it how it works
per capita we are at the bottom, and you’re choosing this time to say we’re
gonna make it almost impossible to close exemptions and loopholes and raise taxes. Every one of you are here in these seats based on a majority vote. Public policy
should also be decided the same way your representation was decided a majority
vote. The bill passed the House Appropriations Committee, it’s only assigned committee stop on a near party line vote, with only a single Democrat
voting in favor of this terrible idea. It now heads to the House floor. Another
part of the overall plan for corporate domination is a constant stream of laws
where the legislature seizes power from our local governments
on issues that make life better for working families. But this year our
valiant heroes have pledged to fight back for all of us. “When they make those
decisions at these local levels with that process that allows them to have
complete buy-in now the legislature is saying we don’t want you to do that
anymore. Now why is that happening? Because the Florida Legislature has
become a one-stop shop for corporate special interests. Why would they mess
with the rabble of 67 different counties when they can come here and have
decisions made that cover the entire state and does their bidding not the
bidding of the people of Florida. Not only is this an affront to democracy as
we know it this is an affront to every single citizen who gets out every
election cycle voting for their school board member their a city council member
their mayor asking them to go and do their bidding and so we’re calling on
all voices all organizations all individuals especially those at the
local level to stand up, to reach out to their members of the legislature and to
say that local still matters and our local voices have to still matter in
this process.” The bill that will turn all of our public servants into de-facto
immigration agents mandating the enforcement of unconstitutional
immigration detainer orders, is back this year and the Florida House is moving to
approve it at a breakneck speed, before the good people of Florida know what’s
happening. The Lobby Corps joined activists from all over Florida to push
back. “With so much going on in our state it’s a shame that this has become a
priority this bill puts all of us at risk and puts us in positions to enforce
unconstitutional laws that legalize racial profiling, criminalize our
communities, target the most vulnerable folks in our community and completely
erode trust between our communities and law enforcement. We are all here as a
united front against HB 9. We are fighting for our communities and the
people we love and we’re not going anywhere because we are Florida. Thank
you for being here.” “Florida’s unions and our unionized
workers stand with all of you on this important issue because at the end of
the day what this is it is crap bumper sticker politics that is victimizing
families for the political benefit of a select few and it’s disgusting and it
needs to be thrown out of the Florida House.” In an unprecedented move for the
first week of session, showing that the forces of evil know that we are on to
them, the Florida House went into full session to past some of the most
complicated, controversial, and damaging proposals this year.
First up the anti-immigration anti-law enforcement HB 9. “Welcome to Florida
Trump’s police state this is the Sunshine State where we don’t care to
actually address the income inequality and economic anxieties of our residents,
we’d rather scapegoat those anxieties on immigrants. How can we say that this bill
is adhering to the rule of law when the courts have said it violates the First
Amendment the Fourth Amendment the Fourteenth Amendment. How can those
things exist at the same time let alone in the same sentence.” “Can you claim to
respect the rule of law while violating two different constitutions in over a
half dozen ways. Of course you can’t, but you can serve up pounds of red meat for
an increasingly contentious primary season.” This reprehensible bill passed
the Florida House and the fight now moves to the Senate. Last year’s failed
legislation that would allow injured workers and their families to continue
to be victimized by unscrupulous insurance companies is back again. This
bill denies injured workers the ability to choose their own doctor, provides
paltry benefits for debilitating injuries, and takes away an injured
workers access to the courts when insurance companies unlawfully deny them
benefits. “I simply can’t support quote “meaningful” workers compensation reform
unquote that does not include a restoration of benefits to the injured
worker, when we’ve had significant rate reductions over the years. It’s just
simply not fair, it’s not balanced, and it’s not quite frankly what I was sent
up to the Florida House to do so on behalf of my constituents I’m gonna vote
no on this bill and I urge you to do the same. The bill passed with 74 yeas and 30
nays but has yet to pass in the Senate. In the whirlwind that was the first week of
session union heroes from across the state took action all week advocating on
the issues that directly affect Florida’s working families. “Legislation
that is currently being introduced behind us is going to impact somebody’s
life in some way. Maybe not today for you but tomorrow for you. You need to come
and participate in the Working Family Lobby Corps. Why? Because legislators need
to know that we’re here watching them holding them accountable.” “The voice that
you can bring to Tallahassee from whatever’s happening in your local
community where your local workers, our teachers, whomever this is one of the
best ways to get that voice heard.” “From what I’ve seen so far the most important
reason to be up here is because in the legislative offices the only thing more
powerful than special interest groups and big corporations are constituents,
and when constituents come up here and speak their mind the legislators
actually listen.” “I think it’s important that everyone should come up here at
least once just to see how this works.” “I’m just glad to come see the whole
process and be here with fellow activists and the Union.” “Please come have
your voice heard and be one of the ones that will make a difference here in
Tallahassee and in the state of Florida.” That’s your update for week 1, but we’re
just starting to spin into action here at the Capitol. Be sure to visit us on
our website (flaflcio.org) to sign up for important legislative alerts and learn about the ways
that you can take action on these important bills, right from your own home.
Till next week, solidarity.

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