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I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.








Thursday, April 23, 2015

HB 549 and SB 1114: Bills that Facilitate Freedom of Choice in Advocacy

           


Today is a huge day in the legislature for a bill that will solve many problems for elected constitutional officers, school board members, who want more accountability from their advocacy associations;  more importantly,  school board members that want and deserve more choice in advocacy, particularly when taxpayer subsidized advocacy groups sue the Governor and Legislature in court, will now have this--if some dominoes fall the right way today.

              HB 549 is on the agenda for consideration today in the House, and an amendment will be added from the  floor that reads:

(4)  Membership association dues paid with public funds, as defined in s. 215.85(3), shall be assessed for each elected or appointed public officer. However, if a public officer elects not to join the membership association, the dues assessed for that public officer shall not be paid to the membership association.


HB 549 has a similar, companion bill  (SB 1114)  in the Senate that did not make the special order calendar for this week.  

Because of this, many of us from around the state will be putting on a "full court press" urging


 the senate to adopt the language from HB 549 into SB 1114--after HB 549 is passed in the House today.

Hopefully--- the senate will accept the House's language, and hopefully the Governor will sign this very important bill into law immediately.  

If the Senate passes this bill with the House's language, and if Governor Scott signs it, other school board members from around the state that do not support FSBA's positions and lawsuit will be able to hold back their individual portions of the taxpayer funded dues.  This is a no brainer, and allows everyone the option to either join, or not join, FSBA.


No more "all or nothing" no winners (except FSBA) votes like that which occurred last week in Volusia County.  Every constitutional officer deserves individual choice in advocacy when tax dollars are funding such groups.  Hopefully this becomes a reality starting with today's votes.

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